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How to Cook Eggs #1 Slow Cooked Poached Egg

I now have four, fully fledged, egg laying chooks, that give me four eggs a day, all but four days a month they each have one day off a month). That’s a lot of eggs to deal with; despite giving some away to friends. So for 2012 I will be doing a series of posts focused on how to cook eggs, not in the Delia Smith “how to boil an egg” way, but hopefully in a more inspiring way.  I also hoped they would be everyday cooking recipes, but I just couldn’t resist starting with this one.  The recipes will get simpler, I promise.

I’ve had the Bentley cook book for a while now, but it’s not the easiest book in my collection to cook from. It is more of an experimental coffee table book. As I was browsing the pages recently, I noticed a recipe for a slow cooked egg. I was seduced by the glossy picture, with a yolk that looked like it would glug out on first cut, and with so many eggs to spare, it didn’t really matter if it didn’t quite work out.

So this recipe is not technically difficult, but it involves a bit of time and love.  As it turns out the yolk doesn’t glug with the first cut, but it is an amazing texture half way between hard boiled and soft boiled that I don’t think could be achieved in any other way.  So before you dismiss me as crazy, grab a thermometer and some fresh eggs and give it a go.

I have followed the cooking technique from the Bentley cook book, but have my friend at degustation voyage to thank for the accompaniment. I suggested the very obvious asparagus and truffle oil, but he suggested corn, bacon and Asian crispy anchovies. I have to confess I doubted the combination on the inside but I respected him enough to go with it, and I’m big enough to say it worked and I loved it. So thanks Keen, your recipe idea was awesome and I will be cooking it time and time again.

Not only was I lucky enough to cook with Keen, he also took me shopping and de-mystified some of the goods on the shelves of the Asian supermarket.  I now know where to go to buy some of the more unusual herbs and spices, such as cassia bark and some more exotic ingredients that I had never seen before such as dried squid and the dried anchovies that we used for this dish.

Here you have it, a recipe for slow cooked egg, inspired by Brent Savage at Bentley and a salad inspired by Keen at degustation voyage.  I have called the egg a poached egg because I don’t really have another name for it, but it’s not really poached, I’ve never experienced anything like it. You cook the egg in its shell like a boiled egg, but you cook it at a low temperature like sous vide cooking but without the bag.  The temperature is critical as 63C is apparently the temperature that cooks the white and yolk at the same time/rate without over cooking.

Slow Cooked Poached Egg with Corn Salad serves 4

4 fresh, free range eggs
1/4 red onion, finely diced
50g bacon lardons
1 large corn cob, kernels removed
1tsp capers
olive oil for frying
salt and pepper to taste
small handful of Asian dried anchovies, crushed in a mortar and pestle

Heat a pan of water to 63 degrees Celsius and maintain, measuring the temperature with a thermometer. Once the water has been heated to the correct temperature I can usually maintain it by turning the cook top down to the lowest setting. This would be more difficult if I had gas. I then increase heat gradually as it cools and add more cold water to the pan if it gets too hot.  So sadly you can’t really walk away from this but you don’t have to watch every second of the cooking time. Carefully place the eggs in the heated water and monitor for an hour and a half.

Meanwhile, make the salad.  Gently fry the diced onion and bacon, until the onion is translucent and the bacon is cooked through, then add the corn and continue to fry for a few minutes. Add the capers then season to taste.

To serve, divide the sweetcorn salad between four plates then carefully peel the eggs. The easiest way I found to peel the eggs was to gently crack the fatter end open, peel that half of the shelf off then gently tip the egg out onto the salad. The white should be set, but moist enough to slide out of the shell. Sprinkle with the crushed anchovies.



Comment from Lizzy (Good Things)
Time January 14, 2012 at 4:04 pm


Comment from nic
Time January 14, 2012 at 4:36 pm

Thanks! Lucky I found this comment, WordPress has suddenly decided you’re spam :(

Comment from Keen@degustationvoyage
Time January 14, 2012 at 5:46 pm

Mmmm yum, that dish looks awfully familiar :) The ideas were experimental and I wasn’t so sure either but fortune favours the braves!

Comment from Colin
Time January 15, 2012 at 12:47 am

I tried poaching my eggs today,the Heston way.He gets his water up to 80c,then puts a plate on the bottom of the (large) pan.He then breaks the fresh egg into a slotted spoon to allow the ‘watery’part of the egg white to run away,placing the yolk and whats left of the white into the water,pops a lid on,and times it at 4mins,exactly.His,of course was perfect,mine was’nt.I lost nearly all of my white,and ended up with just a yolk,perfectly cooked I have to say,but looking a bit sad on its own,on the toast.It went better the other day,when I cooked my eggs via sous vide,in their shells,but that took 16mins,plus juggling the temperature up to55c.I bought an Australian gizmo,called ‘Sous Vide at Home’,coupled with a £9 Asda slow cooker.It was ok,but again,the yolk was just a bit too done for my taste,I do like a runny yolk.

Comment from Miss Piggy
Time January 15, 2012 at 6:50 am

If that’s how you have poached eggs at your house I’m inviting myself over for brunch.

Comment from nic
Time January 15, 2012 at 6:53 am

Miss piggy, I just need 1 1/2 hours warning!

Comment from Jennifer (Delicieux)
Time January 16, 2012 at 8:36 am

Mmmm I love poached eggs, and while I know it’s not a poached egg it looks amazing. I’m not sure I’d be patient enough to wait an hour and a half for an egg though.

Comment from Gaby
Time January 16, 2012 at 8:41 am

Love the photos! I’d love to have freshly laid eggs available but I have to live with grocery store bought ones… do you think this technique would still work well?

Comment from nic
Time January 16, 2012 at 10:28 am

Thanks for dropping by Jennifer, if you like poached eggs I think you’d like these too, but yes, time wise, it’s one to save for a special occasion, not one for a quick Saturday lunch!

Hi Gaby, yes I think you could do it with store bought eggs as long as you buy the best quality ones.

Comment from Kyrstie @ A Fresh Legacy
Time January 16, 2012 at 10:46 am

Hi Nic, I can’t wait for my new chickens to start laying. Your eggs look so delicious. I love the corn salad idea. I will return for some inspiration when my girls get their act together!

Comment from nic
Time January 16, 2012 at 10:49 am

Hi Kyrstie, I feel your pain. Mine took ages to start laying, thankfully I enjoyed having them as pets so resisted the temptation of putting them in the pot! I know I’m bias, but they really do lay good eggs :) I hope your girls start laying soon!

Comment from Julie
Time January 16, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Nic I will look forward to your egg posts. This method of cooking eggs is similar to David Chang’s method as well. I also tested trying to slow cook an egg in a thermo (a large one) and i failed! i’m not sure what went through my mind when i did that experiment 😛

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