Monday, May 12, 2008

Eggs One Block West

Yesterday was Mother's Day and each year, I make breakfast for my wife, usually with the help of my daughters; however, they were nowhere to be found this year. This year, I had no time to plan, so I brought home a couple of things from the restaurant to make Eggs One Block West.

Eggs OBW, in the fuzzy picture to the right (sorry, my Nikon battery died, so photo courtesy of my daughter and her little point-and-shoot), is my version of Eggs Benedict (which I don't really like at all). I used to run this as an elegant tapa or appetizer, but now I mainly do it for demonstrations. If we did brunch here, which we will never do, this dish would feature prominently.

Eggs OBW comprises a round of corn pancake flavored with finely minced Surry sausage, a crab cake, a round of prosciutto, a 3-minute poached egg, and pimentón sauce.

There's not too much I can give you in the way of recipes here because this is really a wing-it kind of dish, but I can give you some pointers.

For the pancake, mix 3/4 cup corn meal and 3/4 cup flour with a half teaspoon of salt, a teaspoon of baking powder, an egg, a minced Surry sausage, and enough milk to make a smooth batter. Tips for cooking pancakes: a batter that is a little more fluid will spread better in the pan; use moderate heat and give the pancakes enough time to cook in the center before flipping: you'll see the bubbles forming in the batter as it cooks.

Everyone has a crab cake recipe. Mine are a mix of lump and jumbo lump because without any other filler, I depend on the lump to take on the role of filler. Crab cakes made only of jumbo lump don't hold together well. I add celery, parsley, salt, white pepper, and eggs. I bind my crab cakes with mayonnaise* and the tiniest bit of panko (bread crumbs).
*I have tried many kinds of binder including egg whites, béchamel, sour cream, fish mousse, scallop mousse, crab mousse, etc. and I have yet to find a better binder than mayonnaise.

Sometimes I place the rounds of prosciutto between two sheets of parchment paper between two sheet pans and bake them in the oven to crisp them, but I am actually happier using raw prosciutto in Eggs OBW.

I poach eggs in gently shimmering water acidulated with a splash of vinegar (and a dash of salt for flavor). To my taste, three minutes is just the right cook time.

Finally, my pimentón sauce is a traditional mayonnaise flavored with bittersweet pimentón.

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