If I have to pick one breakfast that I can eat for rest of my life, it would be poached eggs. It is a complete turn around for me as until sometime ago undercooked eggs and runny yolks never appealed to me. I don’t know what changed, but I am glad it did. Now I consider poached eggs the best–simple yet sophisticated, and as versatile as a blank canvas.
My latest obsession is poached eggs with Sambal Olek. The combination is beyond anything I ever imagined it could be. When the spicy Sambal meets the warm egg yolk….its nothing but fireworks. I was so smitten by this combination that I made it two weekends in a row (I don’t eat a respectable breakfast on weekdays). I may never eat poached eggs without Sambal Olek. Too bad I will not be doing any justice to the hollandaise sauce I mastered (sort of), after much trial and much more error, for a long foreseeable time.
I am a novice in poaching eggs, but an excellent tutorial well equipped me with basic skills. Of all the techniques in poaching eggs, I find that vortex method is the best (ahem, from experience). Due to the swirling motion of the water, there is also very little chance of egg sticking to the bottom. The downside though, you can only poach once egg at a time. And after 2-3 eggs, you may have to change the water as it becomes too cloudy.
Sambal Olek got me thinking. What else can pair with poached eggs? Sundried tomatoes and basil pesto with a red pepper kick? Olive tapenade with anchovies, and cheese perhaps? In the interest of your culinary enthusiasm, I have humbly taken on the enormous responsibility to report back on what I find. Can you think of anything else to stack my assignment?
What you need (for 2):
2 tbsp vinegar
8 stalks of Asparagus, tough bottoms trimmed
2 tsp Sambal Olek (chilli paste, readily found in International section of most grocery stores)
1 pinch of salt
How to make them:
- Heat water in a wide pan. Add the salt and let it come to a good boil.
- Add the asparagus and blanch them for 1 minute. Take them out and plunge in ice cold water to stop cooking and retain their crunch. Then drain them on paper towels.
- Lower the heat to medium and in the same pan add the vinegar. You may notice that any greenishness in the water due to blanching of asparagus vanishes (did not quite figure out the chemistry behind it)
- Wait until the water is just hot enough to boil again. Crack the egg in a separate bowl.
- Swirl the water with a spoon and in the vortex, gently drop the egg.
- Let the water swirl as the whites start to set. With a spatula, you can guide any whites flying away towards the center. In case the bottom of the egg is touching the pan, gently coax it loose with a spatula.
- Once the top of the egg sets, remove it with a slotted spoon and drain on the paper towel for a minute and transfer it onto the plated asparagus. Top it with Sambal Olek and dig in.
I find it immensely gratifying to pierce the egg with the spear end of the asparagus and smudge the Sambal before biting into it!!