Eggs are and have always been my go to since I can remember. They are inexpensive, easy to make, and are incredibly versatile. Hard boiled, poached, fried, omelet, fritatta, sunny side up, over easy, deviled eggs, egg salad, egg in a hole (my kids favorite-I use challah YUM, recipe to follow), on a burger, on top of a salad, the ways of preparing and utilizing an egg are endless. Which leads me to this next story, since I thought I had seen it all when it came to affairs of the egg.
Recently I had the great pleasure of spending my birthday weekend in January in Napa Valley. Oh how I love Napa. No words can describe how perfect this very special place is. On second thought I have plenty to say about Napa but will leave that for a another time, perhaps on Sunday, after the kids are down and I am typing away while sipping a great glass of wine.
My friends and I had a number of delicious meals over the course of that weekend, but one stands out the most. My official "birthday dinner" of the weekend was at Michael Chiarello's Botegga restaurant in Yountville http://www.botegganapavalley.com/. Here at Botegga, is where my love afair with the egg reached new heights!
This was such a special evening. The obvious was celebrating my birthday in Napa, surrounded by people I love, eating amazing food, and drinking incredible wines. Then something happened...the Antipasti course was served and thank you the the generosity of my friend Ely who happened to order the Pork Belly "Confit", I had my first encounter with the Crispy Soft-Boiled Egg.
WOW. I don't know how when reading the menu I did not notice this particular item, in hindsight I blame it on the vodka-soda I had earlier as my friends toasted my birthday. Thankfully Ely noticed the item, ordered it and shared! Thank you Ely and Michael Chiarello for this experience as I have never before eaten an egg prepared so perfectly. Thank you Botegga for choosing to top the pork belly with the creation. I guess it is true what they say about fried foods. There is no way fried is not tasty, but this was so much more then tasty.
When I bit in to the perfectly crisp golden crust on the outside and the soft, warm, slightly gooey yolk on the inside, I just about fainted. The first though that ran through my mind after I bit into this perfect creation was "Is this real?". I Could not believe that someone managed to deep fry an egg (Genius) yet keep it so moist and not overcooked on the inside.
All I could think was I wanted more! I wanted to recreate the first bite. I wanted it then an there! For a brief moment I lost focus and forgot that I was surrounded by heaping plates of delicious food, and people whom in lieu of my birthday were eagerly willing to share and let me taste all this incredible food. So after a brief state of egg euphoria, I thanked Ely, told the waiter to thank the genius behind this creation and sat back to devour a very memorable birthday meal. Some may find it strange to have and egg makes such an impression on someone, I however will forever associate this memorable birthday getaway with an Egg. A crispy, perfect, deep fried egg.
My Egg-in a Hole
This is a favorite at our house every Saturday morning. The kids help me make the hole in the bread and crack the eggs into a ramekin and then pour it slowly into the hole.
You will need:
A couple of 1-2 inch thick slices of challah bread. Make a hole in the center of each slice w a shot glass. Seems to work perfectly.
Eggs of course
Salt and Pepper
Preheat the skillet, add a table spoon of butter. When butter has melted, put the challah slices into the pan. Immediately crack the eggs into the bread, aiming for the yolk to land inside the circle. Continue to cook for about 3-4 minutes. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, then flip the bread carefully with a spatula, making sure yolk stays inside the hole. The side should be nice and golden.
Continue to cook another 3-4 minutes, longer if you like your yolk more cooked. In the Hendelman household we love it runny :) If you'd like serve with a touch of sour cream on top, my husband and daughter Lia love it this way, whereas my son Ben and I enjoy it as is.