Eggcellent, put an egg on top of it

Is there a dish in which a fried or poached egg on top would not be totally awesome (outside of dessert and some raw seafood applications)?

I have a thing for eggs. Not because I also wish to be the Cadbury Bunny but when properly cooked, fried and poached eggs add uncompromisable luscious and velvety rich textures to any dish.

egg yoke pouring onto asparagus for a royal breakfast from su-lin’s flickr stream

Fried and poached eggs in dishes are excellent

 
When touched or poked, the soft and molten yoke inside the fried/poached egg slowly oozes onto the plate. Like still art in slow motion, the yoke seeps into the crevices and orifices of the dish in beautiful, random streams. These flowing tributaries permeate and eventually settle into ponds on the plate, brightening it up with gorgeous yellow sunshine. The yokey puddles not only enhance flavors but help to further marry the ingredients on the plate together.

An additional layer of interactivity is incorporated to the dish as mopping up the silky yoke off the plate always makes for even more fun eating. To put it bluntly, runny eggs on food absolutely rocks my socks off.

Poached egg at Momofuku Ko with caviar and chips from nicknamemiket’s flickr stream

Yokey eggs is all about controlling temperature

 
Stay cool and patient. That’s a good philosophy for life but more importantly, for cooking eggs properly. Too often and frequently, people want to cook with speed and high heat. Those two elements are dangerous for the algorithm of preparing amazing and yokey eggs.

For a fried egg, it is all about controlling temperature. Blasting the stove on high fire is a bad first start. Eggs want to be cooked gently and delicately and not to be treated roughly and without due respect. I always cook my eggs on medium heat (even for scrambled eggs) and if I am cooking patches of fried eggs, I like to take the pan off the heat to give it some cooling time in between sessions. The same is true for poaching eggs. It is best to keep the liquid at a ginger simmer, not a roaring boil.

Italian meat pizza with egg from alexander mahmoud’s flickr stream

White Spot’s Gus Burger in Charlottesville, Virginia

 
Back at UVA, there is a restaurant on the Corner open late-night that was a staple to my regular eating diet (and many others) – the White Spot. This spot has been at UVA for ages and is well known for its burgers, fries, and the Grills (Krispy Kreme doughnuts thrown on the griddle and served with powdered sugar and ice cream … every girls’ dream). But its claims to fame, are Diemtri (the owner that runs the counter and is always there late night) and the Gus Burger (or more appropriately, the Double Gus Burger). The Gus Burger is not one mere, mortal burger. It is a delicious hamburger, served the old-fashioned way on a plain soft bun, lettuce and tomato, with all the works of mustard, ketchup, pickle, and a fried egg. Yes, a fried eggcellent egg. The fried egg, mixed together with the already delicious 2am burger, is euphoric to say the least. I’ll please have three of them, to go.

White Spot sign on the Corner from les_boulez’s flickr stream

Replicating the Gus Burger at home, with even yoker fried eggs, became a favorite of mine in school. I’ve always been a sausage patty and fried egg type of kid, but the epiphany of eating and preparing fried eggs in burgers made me start thinking more about and observing the uses of fried and poached eggs in other dishes.

Over the years, I’ve come to the realization that a yokey egg on everything is just about spectacular. Whether it is with pasta/noodles, perched with  anchovies or other salty fishes (fried, smoked, sauteed or grilled), in a Korean style stew, on top of grilled/sauteed hunks of meat, on a bed of rice, served with caviar/truffles, or slammed together in a sandwich – a fried or poached egg is a divine accent.

And remember, an egg can be poached in any liquid – water+vinegar to ragus to oxtail broths. Eggs in purgatory is one of my favorite poaching methods and there will be a post about it soon. Imagination is the only limitation when it comes to preparing and serving something as versatile and all-encompassing like an egg. Go let the inner child run free and play around in kitchen.

What are some of the best applications of a fried or poached egg you’ve had?

Fried egg in a bacon (or sausage) sandwich is still one of my favorites. This is from cliverster’s flickr stream

Many delicious components comprise and marry together to form Bibimbap. But without the red pepper paste and eggs, it would not be a favorite dish of mine. This is from Sifu Renka’s flickr stream

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