Monday, March 18, 2013

Green Eggs and Ham

Green -- pea puree
Eggs -- cooked at 167F for a perfectly runny yolk and very tender white
and Ham -- crispy prosciutto

I took the liberty of adding a few buttery croutons. I am sure Dr. Seuss would approve of this poetic license.   Since we are on the topic of children's books, let me tell you about an egg story I grew up on.  It's a Russian folk tale about a chicken who laid a golden egg. My whole childhood, I couldn't understand what the fuss was about. I think glass eggs would be much more useful. This way you could see inside the eggs as they were cooking and catch the perfect moment when the white barely sets.  When I found these little glass cups at HomeGoods, my glass egg fantasy finally materialized.  They are a perfect size to hold an egg, and let you see what's happening as the egg cooks.

These little cups make a perfect appetizer for Easter or any brunch since most of the work can be done ahead.

Serves 8

For Pea Puree
1 medium leek, sliced crosswise (see how to wash a leek)
2 Tbsp butter
2 cups frozen peas
1 cup water
1 garlic clove, sliced
1/4 tsp sugar or to taste
Lemon juice to taste

For Prosciutto Crisps
8 prosciutto slices

For Croutons
2 slices white bread with crust removed, cut into cubes
1 Tbsp butter

For Final Assembly
Butter for greasing the cups
8 extra large eggs
chives for garnish
1/2 cup capacity cups or ramekins

Pea Puree Procedure
  1. Set a medium saucepan oven medium-low heat.  Add butter.  When melted, add leeks and cook slowly until tender and translucent stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. 
  2. Add peas and water and increase the heat to high. Season with salt and cook until peas are heated through, 3-5 minutes. 
  3. Take off heat.  Add garlic, sugar, and salt to taste. Puree until perfectly smooth.  If not using a high speed blender, you might want to pass through a fine mesh strainer.  Taste and adjust seasoning with lemon juice, salt, and sugar.
Prosciutto Crisps procedure
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. 
  2. Lay out prosciutto slices on a baking sheet and bake in the middle of the oven until almost crispy (they'll firm up as they cool), 10-15 minutes. Watch them carefully. They are thin and can burn easily.
Croutons Procedure
Melt butter over medium heat in a skillet that can hold the bread cubes in a single layer.  Add bread cubes and cook without disturbing until the first side browns.  Stir and cook until another side browns.  Repeat until they are crispy and golden brown to your liking.

Final Assembly and Cooking Procedure
  1. Set up a water bath for 167F using an immersion circulator. The water should come 2/3 inch from the top of the cups you plan to use. Or preheat the oven to 250F and have 8 cups of hot water ready. Before using, bring it to exactly 170F.
  2. Butter the cups half way up their sides.  Put 2 Tbsp pea puree into each cup. Crack eggs one at a time into a small bowl (I use 1/3 cup dry measuring cup) and carefully pour into the cups (1 egg per cup). If you broke a yolk, discard this egg and try again.  Cover cups with plastic wrap. They can be prepared up to this stage in advance and stored in the fridge. Set cups into the immersion circulator. If you are using the oven method, set the cups into a baking dish and pour in 170F water to come 2/3 inch from the top of the cups.  Place in the middle of the oven.
  3. Cook the eggs until the white becomes opaque when you look at it from the top and sides of the cups. This will take 15-23 minutes, depending on the shape and thickness of your cups. If you assembled ramekins in advance and kept in the fridge, you might need to cook a bit longer.  Check frequently after the first 15 minutes.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper, top with chives, prosciutto, croutons and serve immediately. 


Colette (Coco) said...

Put these on the brunch table
and your friends will buy you a Ferrari!

Carole said...

Helen, thanks for linking up with Food on Friday. I have signed up to follow you and hope you will follow me back. Happy Easter