Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Eggs Dostoyevsky with Potato Rösti

Oh yes, oh yes! 

Breakfast for dinner is just so fun! I always feel slightly rebellious when I do it, like I am breaking the rules of meat and potatoes for supper and just going my own way, a la Stevie Nicks.

Today’s inspiration happened in an unlikely place, in an unlikely way. I was in Shoppers, checking my mail, when I decided I would just grab a frozen pizza or something for dinner tonight. I am so busy at work, I just could not be bothered to cook. Meanwhile, I’ve been going around in this amazingly dramatic poncho that my Auntie Jo bought me for Christmas last year. I feel like Joni Mitchell in it, and like it’s 1977, which delights me to no end, as my Instagram photos would clearly show.

See all that water? You don't want that in your pan. 
Anyway, I’m just minding my own business, walking by the Halloween display, when my poncho catches on the rack of fake eyelashes and nails, and the whole thing rips out of the wall and 87 pairs of glitter lashes and snake nails come tumbling down to the floor. It made this huge racket and of course I was hung up on the display. I had to just pull the poncho as hard as I could and turn on my heel and dash out of there, pretending like I didn’t do anything. This level of mortification, of course, meant no frozen pizza, so I had to legitimately go to the Loblaws. So annoying! (Meanwhile, I should be making ad revenue for Loblaws at this point, because I plug them every time I blog.)

In the end, this was fine because I was just hanging around in the root vegetables when I began thinking about the delicious potato pancakes my mum used to make. Kelly describes this dinner here, and I was thinking that maybe I would like to make that for my supper tonight. But then I had another thought, and that was to make a version of Eggs Benedict on one of those little pancakes.

It all came together then, in a moment of true vision, passion for cooking, and brilliance, if I do say so myself. Also, I was starving, so my creative juices were really flowing.

The start of the pancakes
I like Eggs Benedict, but I like Eggs Florentine better because I don’t like ham. I also really like smoked salmon on my eggs, so why not combine the two? Eggs Dostoyevsky or something, I think they are usually called.

This is a bit of a process, but definitely worth it. It’s great for dinner, but don’t underestimate the power of actually serving this for a weekend brunch too, maybe with a mimosa or two? Champagne at breakfast is always a delight.

Start with some serious prepping here, because I am going to teach you how to poach eggs without a poacher. This is a magical skill you won’t regret mastering, I can promise you that!

This is hard to see, but this shows the ideal boiling for poaching 

Start with the potato pancakes, they are easiest part. Kelly gave a nice step by step in Deli Supper, so there is no need for me to spell it out for you, I’ll just recap.

Grate your potatoes, add an egg and a little flour. You can add onions, but I won’t for this recipe because I don’t want to overpower the eggs and salmon. The one trick is to ensure you get all the moisture from the potatoes out. Being a root of the deadly nightshade family, they will be quite full of water. Try to get them as dry as possible before you add the egg to bind them.

Prepped for the eggs
Fry those up in a pan with some butter. Aim for thin and golden- just like a trip to Monaco. Salt them a little. Put those aside for now and get what you need for assembly, which is fresh spinach and smoked salmon. Two things need to happen now. One is making hollandaise sauce, and the other thing is poaching eggs. Start by filling up a very large pot of water and add a little white vinegar. This will be for your eggs. Turn the heat on it and leave it for now. You don’t want it to be a vigorous, rolling boil, just a gentle boil. So if it gets aggressive in the meantime, turn it down a little.

Now for the hollandaise sauce. Save yourself some trouble, and use a package. If this is a Sunday and you have all day to make hollandaise from scratch, go ahead. If aggravating yourself is not something you are keen on, McCormick and Knorr make two great options. Follow the instructions on the package. When it tells you to let simmer with occasional stirs, now would be the point that you’re going to think about the eggs.

This is what the pot looks like as you are poaching
Get out a slotted spoon and ensure your water is gently boiling. Crack an egg into a cup (this makes it easier for the egg to stay together) and then stir the boiling water until there is a mini-whirlpool in the centre of your pot. You don’t need this to be gale force or anything, just a nice little pocket to dump your egg into. The swirling water will also help to hold the egg together, as does the vinegar you added. Add two eggs, four if you’re a pro, at a time. If you are serving this for multiple people, they are served in stages. It’s just the way it is. Too many eggs cool the water too much and they won’t cook properly, plus it will be hard to do. When you spoon out your eggs, use a slotted spoon so you don’t add a bunch of egg water to your serving plate.
That is a perfectly poached egg!

The eggs will take about 2 ½ minutes to cook to a perfect, runny centre. Don’t touch them. Just let them cook. This is a good time to stir your hollandaise and prep the pancake.

On a plate, place two potato pancakes (I feel like the word “rösti” is coming to mind here) with spinach and salmon on top. When your eggs are cooked, spoon each on to its own pancake. Top with hollandaise, chives if you’re fancy (or if you take pictures of your food to put on a blog) and some pepper. Enjoy them over stories about that time you went to Monaco. 

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