Saturday, August 20, 2011

A River Runs Through It










I have finally discovered the poached egg.  Don't ask me how I'd gone 35 years without eating one - I can barely fathom it myself, but up until recently nothing was more disgusting (and terrifying) than eating runny yolk.  Eggs were to be scrambled (dry), deviled (my now second favorite way to eat them), made into an omelet (the more cheese the better) or as an addition to a recipe but never ever ever were they to be wet and runny.  The mere thought gave me chills.

But, how can one profess to be a foodie (foodista?) and food blogger whilst being scared of a little egg? Preposterous! I admit, over the past year or so, I've been tempted.  I mean, the Crab Cake Eggs Benedict my girlfriend ordered for brunch in DC last summer almost swayed me and if we hadn't drank so much fun the night before, I may have caved. It was coming, it was...inevitable; and my world was changed forever on Sunday July 10, 2011 at roughly 11am at Shea's Cafe in Absecon, NJ.  Their Eggs Benedict shamelessly took my poached egg virginity with reckless abandon (or maybe that was just the way I devoured my brunch) and left me wanting more! Since then, I can't get enough of that drippy, velvety, buttery yolk. I want everything I eat to be slathered in nature's gravy. Poached eggs on buttered toast has become my new weekend go-to breakfast - and for those of you who've never poached an egg before; don't believe the hype it is NOT difficult! I've been poaching eggs like a fiend over the past month and putting them on everything from toast to salads to creamed spinach; which has to be, hands down, the most comforting dish there is! Maybe it's because it's so new to me but this dish is more comforting than mashed potatoes, more comforting than macaroni and cheese, more comforting than dessert - ok maybe not, I've got to draw the line somewhere! But you get my point - this is divine!



Creamed spinach is historically, although tasty, not the healthiest thing out there and at the rate I've been eating it these days I'm starting to hear my arteries scream for help. So, I decided to lighten it up without sacrificing flavor or that creamy delicious texture.  My version has 139 calories and 8 grams of fat per 1/2 cup serving (including the poached egg) and you really can't taste the difference!  Add some whole wheat toast and you've got the makings of a sublimely comforting meal.

If you want to make it truly decadent (and calories aren't a concern that night), try your hand at deep frying the poached egg (keep scrolling for the recipe and pics).  I know it may sound kind of odd and altogether difficult but so long as you handle with care, the end result is well worth the effort (and calories)!

Creamed Spinach
Cal: 69  Fat: 3g  Carb: 7g  Protein: 3g  Fiber: 1g
With Poached Egg
Cal: 139  Fat: 8g  Carb: 7g  Protein: 9g  Fiber: 1g

Creamed Spinach with Poached Eggs


2 10 oz bags of baby spinach
1 tbsp butter
1 small shallot (finely chopped)
1 tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 cup fat free half and half
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste


Lightly spray a large saucepan with nonstick cooking spray. Add one bag of baby spinach.
Cook spinach over medium heat until it begins to wilt enough to add the second bag of spinach.  Add the second bag and continue to cook until all spinach is wilted.  
Remove from heat, drain in a strainer and then transfer cooked spinach to a clean kitchen towel.  Squeeze as much water as possible from the spinach.  Place squeezed spinach on a cutting board and coarsely chop.


Meanwhile, heat a small saute pan over medium heat.  Add butter and allow to melt.  Once melted, add the shallot and saute until tender (3-4 min).
Then stir in flour to form a roux.
Cook the roux for a minute or two, then add fat free half and half.  Continue cooking over medium heat until the mixture thickens.  Remove from the heat, stir in nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste.
Add chopped spinach to cream sauce and stir until well coated.

Now for the poached eggs:

Half fill a saucepan with water and add a splash of white vinegar.  Place over medium heat and allow to come almost to a simmer - you don't want the water actually simmering but to the point just before.  While the water is heating, crack an egg into a small bowl or ramekin.  Once the water is ready, using a large spoon, stir the water until you've got a nice whirlpool going.  Carefully slide the egg from the bowl into the center of the whirlpool. Don't worry if it looks like the white is separating from the yolk, it'll all come together.
Allow the egg to poach for 3-3 1/2 minutes then remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to paper towel to dry.
Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and serve over creamed spinach (or anything your heart desires!).


Now, for those of you who are feeling a touch ambitious (and not calorie conscious) read on for how to deep fry your poached egg.  You'll need the frying holy trinity: flour, egg wash, breadcrumbs (I use panko - nothing beats the crunch!).

Heat a small saucepan with a couple inches of oil (when frying, you want to use an oil with a high smoke point - peanut, sunflower, grapeseed and safflower are all good options).  Bring the oil to about 350 degrees.

Gingerly coat the egg in the flour then transfer to the egg wash.

Turn once or twice in the egg wash and transfer to the panko.
Carefully turn in the panko until the egg is well coated.
Once your oil has come to temperature, lower the breaded egg into the oil and fry for approximately 30 seconds or until it is a light golden brown.  Remove from the oil and place on paper towel.  Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and enjoy.
My favorite way to eat a fried poached egg is on creamed spinach or over a salad but I'm always looking for new ways to enjoy this treat!

Bon Appetit! 

18 comments:

  1. I love a poached or sunny-side up egg over vegetable hash...hands down my favorite breakfast. Just chop and heat whatever leftover veg you have on hand and slide on an egg. Instant love. Here is my favorite hash combination:
    http://web.me.com/decanio/Real_Food_for_Real_Life/Main_Menu/Entries/2010/1/22_Oven_BBQ_Chicken_with_a_Veggie_Hash.html

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  2. Hi Jessica - that sounds fantastic! I will definitely give it a try soon and report back! :)

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