Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Ridiculously Fresh Poached Eggs

I practically stole these eggs right out from under the mother hens. They were still warm. This was a week ago when I collected a dozen on Leigh Hauter's farm outside The Plains, Virginia. Note: They do need to be washed once you get them home.

The eggs cook fairly quickly in a simmering skillet of vinegar-scented water. No fancy equipment--just ease the eggs right from the shell into the water. When they've set, scoop them out with a slotted spoon. Fresh eggs hold together much better than older eggs. Save your old eggs for hard-boiling.

In my quest for protein, I've been cleaning out the freezer as well as dark corners of the fridge. The eggs are nesting on several slices of perfectly cured prosciutto from Benton's Smokey Mountain Country Ham, same place where we order our bacon. Up to now the prosciutto had escaped my attention, so this was my first taste of it and do you know what? Close your eyes and you would never know it came from Madinsonville, Tennessee. Tastes just like Parma, Italy (maybe a little earthier, saltier).

The prosciutto is my new favorite way of getting the runny yolks from plate to mouth.

13 comments:

Julia said...

Looks perfect! Nothing better than a super fresh egg simply prepared.

Joanna said...

I'm interested that you'd wash an egg: I seem to remember that there are studies which show that washing them is more likely to contaminate the egg because the shell is porous but keeps out the nasties until you wet it/them. But perhaps this is not the current advice

Whatever, they look great - what a treat

Joanna

Ed Bruske said...

Joanna, I wouldn't want to crack an egg that has chicken feces on it. Here's a link from an extension service in Vermont recommending that eggs be washed "as soon as they are collected."

http://www.ext.vt.edu/pubs/poultry/factsheets/9.html

Ed Bruske said...

Hey, Julia. I just ordered an egg cookbook. I figure if I'm going to be eating lots of eggs, I should know every possible way to cook them.

Erica said...

Mmmm, I love eggs haha :) Any way to make them, we love them in a frittata here.

About washing the eggs, I've heard different things from different sources. Some do always, some say only if they are dirty. I would certainly wash if there were poo on them, ewwww.

Otherwise, from what I've read, there is a protective coating (called a bloom I believe?) so leaving them unwashed is actually a good idea and can keep them fresher longer.

We get our farm fresh eggs, all ready washed. So I have no choice lol. When we get chickens and have our own eggs, we only plan on wiping off any poo with a sponge or washing right before cracking if they are truly dirty.

Sylvie, Rappahannock Cook & Kitchen Gardener said...

washing vs. not washing. It depends which country you hail from. In the US the authorities require that eggs for sale be washed. In France, they require the eggs don't be washed (except obvious contamination) for the reason that Erica is mentioning.

Ed Bruske said...

Sylvie, just shows I'm out of my depth when it comes to raising laying hens. All good to know.

Bronwyn said...

In New Zealand, commercial eggs are washed, but my egg lady won't wash hers because of the contamination thing. I don't wash them either. And I've been doing a bit of an experiment with longevity of eggs - I've kept them, at room temperature in summer, for at least 3 months, and never had one go "off". They definitely become hard boilers rather than poachers, but they taste and smell just fine.

Merry said...

Yummy. I would keep the toast on though, I cant imagine runny yokes without toast (or I can but it makes me sad)

Ed Bruske said...

Bronwyn, who knew I would touch off such a discussion about egg washing? I'd never given it a thought before, but it is so good to hear from all those chicken farmers out there. And yes, eggs will keep a long time. I know that long-distance sailors will coat them with petroleum jelly to help preserve them.

Merry, I have fond memories of toast with poached eggs. But I'm not eating carbs at the moment, especially from grains. I like the idea of poached eggs on braised greens instead.

Melissa said...

I have a friend with a small farm in Virginia (he lives like Kingsolver in Animal, Vegetable Miracle) and he says to wash the eggs and then brush it with oil to "seal" it and claims that the eggs can last for 6 months, though they never last that long because they are all eaten quickly.

I guess washing eggs are like growing tomatoes, everyone does something different!

Ferd's 3rd Mate said...

If there are feces on the eggs that means that the nest boxes are filthy in which case you need to find a new source for eggs. I have kept a laying flock most of my adult life and when the nests are kept clean the eggs are beautiful. If you wash the egg you remove the natural coating that keeps it "fresh" while the chicen would lay the rest of her clutch. This is how they should be preserved.
For cruising you can paint them with egg white like laquer and then let them dry on a blotting cloth. If you do rub them with petroleun jelly you would then need to put them in lime water to keep them for months.

PK a sailors wife

Ed Bruske said...

PK, great intel. Thank you