Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Les Oefs - Eggs Elevated
On our trips there, we have been amazed at how many Americans expected the French to accomodate their typical dining habits, rather than simply complying with the French culture. Hands are always above the table not below. Coffee is not served with dessert, it's a post-dessert beverage and then only in thimble-sized bracing shots of thick espresso. (YUM!) You are not entitled to bread before dinner (nor a plate to go with it) in a restaurant. You simply don't turn up your nose at the sometimes overwhelming "aroma" of the liquidy cheeses oozing at the cheese shops, no matter how stinky they are. And you don't get eggs for breakfast!
Omelets, quiche, and other egg dishes are served on casual bistro menus as lunch or dinner. For us, they were the saving grace of traveling with a toddler in this marvelous country. Harry was perfectly happy tucking into his Gruyere-oozing omelet on our many lunches out while we tried the regional specialties whatever they may have been. Upon returning, we decided to adopt this at home as well.
Finally, being outed as a perfect protein and not the cholesterol increasing villain they once were, eggs are my friend with Cook What You've Got. When I've reached the end of my proteins in my fridge and freezer and shopping is not part of my day, eggs are always there. No matter what you have in your fridge, eggs will play nice. Vegetables, bits of meat, any number of cheeses.
But my favorite, and the simplest, way to make them is with brown butter and herbs. Simply beat 6-8 eggs. No milk, cream, seasonings. Nothing but eggs.
In a skillet, melt 2 tbsp butter in a tablespoon of olive oil - this increases the smoking point of the butter - and throw in hearty herbs like rosemary, sage and thyme. No need to remove the rosemary from the stem. It will get crispy so you can crumble it over the eggs. When the herbs are crispy and the butter is turning amber, remove the herbs to a paper towel. Let the butter brown a few more seconds, then add the eggs. Immediately start stirring to create medium sized "curds". When the eggs are barely cooked through, remove from heat to stop the cooking process but keep stirring. Before serving, crumble the herbs over the top, then sprinkle with salt and freshly cracked pepper. At this point in the year, tomatoes are great with this, though we had them, we also had lovely pannetone so we simply toasted it and enjoyed it alongside the eggs. A light, fruity red wine or buttery Chardonnay would complete your French bistro egg experience.
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