Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Eggs Sardou - Daring Cooks Challenge

About a month ago, I signed up to join a little group called The Daring Kitchen.  There are two groups, and I signed up for both of them.  Every month, we are given a challenge - one for the Daring Cooks and one for the Daring Bakers.  On the 14th we post our Daring Cooks challenge, and on the 1st we post the Daring Bakers challenge.

Obviously, this is not the first or the fourteenth.  I've been waiting to post these eggs sardou, the January Daring Cooks challenge, which I made on the 29th of December, but I didn't have the pictures as I'd taken them on my mom's camera while I was at home over Christmas break.  Well, we finally got things together, and so now I can post it!  Yay!  (And thanks, mom!)  Also, I know I have a LOT of things to catch up on, so I am going to try to post every day this week, possibly every day this month, and see how far that gets us!

So the challenge for January's Daring Cooks was pretty simple and had a lot of possible variations.  Basically, we just had to poach eggs and make some sort of Hollandaise sauce.  Since I was at home, with a large variety of exciting cookbooks, I decided to mix things up a bit.  This was a highly anticipated breakfast for the adults in the house, and it was exciting to put it all together.  I had chopping and assembly help from several willing hands.

Yummy...  I know that's the caption on, like, all of my pictures.  But it really was.

The recipe I finally decided to follow was eggs sardou, from Shirley Corriher's interesting and informative book Cookwise.  If you want to know some of the chemistry behind your cooking, and learn how to manipulate that to your advantage, I would look at this book.  I really enjoyed curling up on the couch and reading through it.

Moving on.  Eggs sardou is a recipe originally from New Orleans.  It features artichoke bottoms, spinach, and onion cooked together and then topped with a poached egg and hollandaise sauce.  As I love all weird vegetables, I was really excited to try this.  And it was awesome!  The acidic flavors of the artichoke, spinach, and lemon juice (in the hollandaise) contrasted amazingly with the creaminess of the poached egg and the sauce.  Serve it with fresh homemade toast, and you'll be in heaven.  Also, it has a ton of vegetables.  It's totally good for you.

Since the recipe does leave you with some extra egg whites, here's a tip: you can freeze egg whites!  I'm not sure whether they'll whip up into a nice meringue after thawing, but you can always save them for a healthy omelette or quiche later.

Here's the recipe!

Poached Eggs
My "recipe," compiled from several sources and several tries.

For the eggs sardou recipe below, you will need 8 eggs, as fresh as possible.  I used eggs that had been laid in the past three days by our chickens. 

Aren't they beautiful?  Ignore the egg carton - they were all fresh.  Yum.

Put a small pot with 2-3 inches of water on the stove over medium heat.  Add a pinch of salt and a bit of vinegar.  Prepare a bowl with ice water on the side.  Heat the water to boiling, and then turn the heat down to low.  You want it just below boiling, so it's not bubbling up and disrupting your cooking egg.  Get out a slotted spoon to use.

Break your egg into a small bowl.  When your water is the right temperature (a bit below boiling), slip the egg into the water.  Cook until the white is set, a little bit longer if you want your yolk to be cooked through.  This process can take about 1-3 minutes, depending on the temperature of your water and your desired doneness.  When it's ready, scoop the egg out using a slotted spoon and place it in your bowl of ice water.  If you're ready to use it right away, just dip it in the ice water and then pull it out; otherwise, leave it in the water until you're ready, and then place it back in the hot water for several seconds to warm it up.  This might take some practice - see the picture of my attempts below.

In order, clockwise from the top, eggs 1-8.  They got progressively better and less rubbery.

Eggs Sardou
From Cookwise

1 T butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 can arthichoke bottoms, drained, rinsed twice, halved, and each sliced 1/4" thick
1/8 to 1/4 t cayenne, fresh (red, not brown!)
1/8 t freshly ground white or black pepper
1/8 t freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 t salt
1 c heavy or whipping cream
2 pkg (10 oz each) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1/3 c freshly grated Parmesan
8 poached eggs
1-2 c Quick Blender Hollandaise

Heat the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat and saute the onion until soft.  Add the artichokes, cayenne, pepper, nutmet, and salt.  Stir well.  Add the cream and boil for 2-3 minutes to reduce slightly.  

Place the spinach in a clean dish towel and squeeze to removed moisture.  Stir the spinach in to the cream mixture.  Add the Parmesan.  Taste and add salt if needed.

Spoon a generous portion of spinach into 8 individual serving dishes (ramekins!) or spread all of it in the bottom of a large serving dish.  Place the hot egg or eggs on top.  Cover with hollandaise and serve immediately.

Ramekins with vegetables.  Lovely.

Quick Blender Hollandaise
Also from Cookwise

4 large egg yolks
3 1/2 T lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
1 T water
1/8 t salt
Pinch of cayenne
1/2 pound unsalted butter, melted but not extremely hot.

Place the egg yolks, lemon juise, and water in a small (7-9") heavy skillet.  Heat over very low heat, stirring constantly (You can use a flat wooden spatula to scrape the bottom or a fork and stir with the tines lying flat on the bottom of the pan) until the mixture just begins to thicken.  Continue stirring but immediately remove from the heat.  Continue stirring for 1 minute.  Scrape the mixture into a blender or a food processor with the steel knife and add salt and cayenne.  Blend for a few seconds, then let cool 1-2 minutes.  With the machine running, add the melted butter in a fine drizzle.  Sauce will thicken before all the butter has been added.  Blend in all the butter, taste for seasoning, and add more salt or cayenne as needed.  

Sadly, the hollandaise sauce didn't survive long.  I'm sorry to say it was a casualty.  (Actually, I'm not sorry at all.  It was delicious.)

Oh, I want one right now!  I need to figure out a way to make just one serving of this...

Update: A huge thanks to my darling mother who typed out the recipes from the cookbook to email to me.  Love you mom!!

Jenn and Jill have challenged The Daring Cooks to learn to perfect the technique of poaching an egg. They chose Eggs Benedict recipe from Alton Brown, Oeufs en Meurette from Cooking with Wine by Anne Willan, and Homemade Sundried Tomato & Pine Nut Seitan Sausages (poached) courtesy of Trudy of Veggie num num

1 comment:

  1. Ahem, no credits to Mom who typed out the recipe for you? I'm going to have to talk with my union rep. . .


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