Saturday, January 12, 2013

Poached Egg Over A Tangy Spinach and Buttermilk Sauce [Zack]

We went to a really inventive restaurant in Valencia named Joaquin Schmidt. The concept was really cool – the cook/owner/server answered the doorbell to let us into the restaurant. Everything was made to simulate a dinner party-type experience instead of a formal restaurant. The guy was a sport and played along with our miserable pigeon Spanish.

The meal was great – very inventive and intelligently done. We were not given a choice of what was being served, and we chose to have him fill us in on what we ate after we finished the plates. It was a total blast. To start, we had 3 different types of caviar with a bendy straw filled with jellied vermouth to cleanse the palate. The meal progressed with fun surprises until we had a dish that was really great. The presentation was all in white: all that was visible was a white sauce and a fluffy mound of pecorino cheese that was almost floating. Underneath the cheese was a perfectly poached egg and a tangy and savory buttermilk sauce. We all loved the simplicity and beauty of the dish.

I went home determined to re-create it. I think I got very close, but in a last-minute call, I wanted some more body in the sauce, so I added some frozen spinach. The result was a great brunch item, or good entree into a meal.


Here is a picture of everything you will need:

Get a large pot of water simmering.  It's important to use a big pot because you'll be swirling the water for your poached egg and the smaller pots lose momentum too easily.  Oh, and you swirl the water so your raw egg swirls around itself and stays consolidated in the water.

Put your frozen (or fresh) spinach into a sauce pan with a pad of butter.  Cook until the spinach has wilted down.

Next, add your chicken stock and buttermilk into the same sauce pan.  The proportions are up to you - if you want it more tangy, use more buttermilk.  If you want it deeper in flavor, use a bit more chicken stock.

If you want, you can use an immersion blender to put the sauce in a uniform texture.

Grate some pecorino cheese with a microplane and put it into the sauce to thicken it up.

Once your water is nicely simmering, turn down the heat to medium-low so you don't end up just boiling the egg.  Add a dash of vinegar (supposedly it helps keep the egg together, I haven't tested this, but I believe everything I read on the internet) and then crack one egg into a small bowl.  If you tried to crack the egg directly into the water, it would be much more difficult.

Swirl the water around in one direction.  Clockwise is definitely the best (good joke Zack).  Quickly and gently slide the egg in the center of the swirl and watch it curl around itself.

It's important to let the egg do its thing.  If you mess with it, it will get messy!

To distract yourself so you don't touch the egg, start plating your sauce and finish grating a good mound of pecorino.  Just cover the bottom of your plate with the sauce.

After about 4 minutes, gently take the egg out and place it in the sauce.

Hide the egg under a big mound of pecorino and serve with a piece of toasted bread.

Sauce (makes ~4 servings)
about 5T pecorino cheese, grated with a micro-plane
1/4 cup chicken or beef stock
2 blocks of frozen spinach (or 3 cups of fresh spinach)
1 cup buttermilk

4 eggs
2 T of grated pecorino to top the egg
toasted and buttered bread

Song:  Massive Attack - Paradise Circus
Paradise Circus by Massive Attack on Grooveshark

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