In which the world of culinary hedonism is explored with a cup and a half of curiosity, a heaping tablespoon of passion and a dash of clumsiness.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Fifty-second Post ~ "Nest Egg" à la Accidental Chef

I got my Food Network magazine in the mail yesterday, and was thrilled to see that it features 50 recipes for eggs. Eggs are pretty much my mainstay for one of those middle-of-the-day "I need to wolf something down quickly before I leave" kinds of meals. So I was psyched.

On the cover is something called a "nest egg" and it looked yummy and easy enough to do - toast a piece of bread, cut out a hole, crack an egg into the hole, cover and cook - but I was wondering... where's the punched out hole? And couldn't we add SOMETHING else for a little flavor?

So I offer you the Nest Egg à la Accidental Chef - well, actually, two of them...

Here's what you'll need for this afternoon's pre-class snack.

~ One piece of bread
~ Butter
~ One egg
~ Fresh thyme (I imagine many other fresh herbs would be just as yummy, but thyme is my favorite for this kind of thing - fresh, lovely taste, no chopping...)
~ Coarse-ground salt
~ Persistence

After I made this the first time, I was surprised at how much resistance the spatula gave me as I tried to get it out of the pan. Then I finally succeeded in lifting it up, only to see that the underside was black. No scraping in the WORLD would have saved it. It was black half-way up the bread. I'm lucky I didn't burn down my kitchen.

Well, not really, but you can indulge me in my fears.

So I took another stab at it, and was successful, although the bread was still a bit crisp on the bottom. The method I thought of half-way through probably would have been best implemented earlier on...

Butter both sides of a piece of bread (potato bread for me, naturally). Get everything ready: prep the thyme (1-2 sprigs) and crack the egg into a prep bowl.

Start the bread grilling in a stick-free pan. Watch it like a hawk. Only grill it so that it is JUST starting to look golden. Take it off the pan and use a cookie cutter to cut a pretty hole out of the middle. I used a flower. It's actually the only cookie cutter I own, so that's the reason for that.

Set the flower aside and put the bread back into the pan. Carefully drop the egg right into the hole. Scatter the thyme over it and grind on some salt. Cover. Wait until the egg sets. And wait. And wait. And pray your bread doesn't burn.

:: PAUSE ::

When I was little, my mom had this neat technique for making bagels so that they were crispy yet not dry. She would slice and butter them, grill them on a griddle, then just as they were nearly done, she'd drop about a tablespoon or two of water into the griddle and slap on a lid. It would hiss like crazy, and it always intimidated me a little. But the steam would cook the bagels while the grilled side remained crispy and perfect. It was a neat little technique, and the hissing pan made me remember it. So I dropped in a little water and slapped the cover back on.


Eureka! The steam set the egg in seconds, and the toast remained unburnt. As I said, I'd go ahead and do that right off the bat before putting the lid on.

Third time's the charm, right?

I had this with my mandatory pre-class cup of coffee.

Here's to the love of good food and learning new (and recalling old!) techniques!

The blogger is not an experienced chef. She takes no responsibility for the quality of the meals prepared while following her advice. Use your own judgment regarding cooking times and proper food handling.