I did it!!! I conquered a Top Chef challenge!!!!!! The second time around!!! hahahaha I was literally in my kitchen, jumping up and down with joy and screaming “Yes! Yes! I did it! Yes!” (ok, who does that?! hahaha) I seriously think I am in the wrong profession, since no day at my job gives me this much pleasure. The pride and joy at the accomplishments from my two hands that have made something are priceless. I mean, I should be proud and find joy in the other work I do, but maybe this is how artists feel when they finish their work… (I’m not thinking that highly of myself, don’t worry. It’s just that considering arts, and arts and crafts I am the least qualified and creative person out there. I can’t draw to save my life. So, when I manage to do something creative and successful like this in the kitchen, I cannot contain and not scream hahah)
Remember from a few weeks back when I said I had a kitchen disaster and all it came out of was the salad dressing? Well that is what I had to redo. That challenge. And it only took two messed up eggs!
What we’re talking about here is a boiled egg, breaded and then fried. But the trick: it needs to stay runny inside! A ha!
I “copied” down the recipe as the poor souls on the Top Chef were struggling with timing, shaky hands and utmost pressure to pass the eliminating challenge. The judges demonstrate it for television very quickly, so watching, listening, and writing down were done pretty fast. Also, I didn’t trust my hearing in my third foreign language when I heard “5 minutes” I thought, but that would cook the entire egg.
To the kitchen I went. I tried once. I plunged it for 50 seconds. hahaha Try peeling, liquid all throughout. But again, 5 minutes is too long! Let’s try again. One minute and a half with another egg. Try peeling a bit. Still runny. Return to water, for I don’t know how many minutes, but less than 5. Why why did I not trust my ears?! Nope, nope and nope. Not turning out. That time I decided to call it quits on the disaster day and just have my all-together 3 eggs with the salad.
Next week. That egg just won’t get out of my head. This time, I was determined to try the 5 minutes and was convincing myself, those top chefs must have some things right, surely. As I started peeling it after the 5th minute, I could tell the inside was runny and quite soft in my fingers under that fragile egg white. I knew I was on to something. Until the end, when the knife went through the egg and I had the brightest, most perfect egg yolk running down my breaded fried egg…. The JOY!
I had this egg this time with a Nicoisse salad, but you can have it with my almost Salade Lyonnase from last time. Both would work. I wanted it with the Lyonnaise the last time, cause that one takes poached eggs, and this was in between and the Nicoisse a boiled egg. I don’t want the purists wraths to unleash on me for using canned tuna with my Nicoisse, but I love this salad so much that I whip it up every other day and I can’t afford tuna steaks every time. Besides, there are a million and one little variations out there, that I don’t even know what IS the actual true recipe.
I will tell you about the sauce I make for it, but you will have to forgive me that the ingredients’ quantities are all approximations because as I said, I make this so often that I never measure. I taste. And I would advise you to do so as well.
Oeuf mollet frit:
1 egg, beaten
2-3 tbsp breadcrumbs (or crumbled shredded wheat, I used wheat :))
butter for frying
mix of lettuce and arugula (or your favourite lettuce mix)
2 small tomatoes (or 1 large), sliced
1/2 can of tuna (I use water-packed, drained and crumbled)
1 small shallot, chopped in rings
Optional (recommended when you have it on hand):
olives and feta cheese
couple of tbsp olive oil
couple of tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
1-2 tsp Dijon mustard
sprinkling of freshly chopped parsley and basil (or dried herbs, both work fine)
1. Take out the eggs a bit before you start so they kind of come to room temperature.
2. Bring water in a saucepan to boil and keep it boiling.
3. Prepare an ice bath or just a bowl of very cold water.
4. Place your beaten egg in one bowl, your breadcrumbs in another bowl and have your butter ready in the frying pan. Don’t melt it yet.
5. When the water boils, a nice roiling boil, drop your whole egg slowly in the boiling water and let it cook for EXACTLY 5 minutes. Have your stopwatch at the ready 🙂
6. At 5 minutes, take it out and place it in the ice bath so that the cooking stops.
7. While still in the cold water, start peeling the egg very slowly. If the egg white hasn’t cooked enough, it will cling to the shell and tear and therefore expose the egg yolk (remember, kitchen disaster!). Be very gentle.
8. Once the egg is peeled, start warming the butter in the frying pan.
9. Roll the egg in the beaten egg and then in the breadcrumbs and fry it until the breadcrumbs are nice and browned on all sides. Remove to a plate.
10. To assemble the sauce for the salad: add the mustard to a bowl, add some salt and pepper, some oil and vinegar, mix and taste. See what you would like more of. When satisfied, mix in the herbs.
11. Assemble your salad.
Sit down, break a crusty baguette, to sop up the goodness and enjoy and marvel at what you can do :)))