deep-fried poached egg with creamed spinach
I’m rather fond of putting eggs on top of things. For a long time I merely slid them onto tried-and-true platforms like toast or hash browns, but these days I also like to scramble them into fried rice, crack them onto pizza dough, or fry them up with strips of stale tortillas and toss the whole mess with salsa and sliced avocado. I’m not alone in this enthusiasm; Bon Appétit recently predicted that anything with an egg on top would be 2009’s dish of the year.
Having spent the better part of my morning carefully poaching, breading, and then deep-frying an egg, I’d like to nominate this particular preparation for 2009’s egg of the year. Or something like that. Because a deep-fried poached egg rocks. I mean, you probably don’t want to have one every morning unless you’re on some sort of Homer Simpsonesque weight-gain regimen, but the combination of crispy crust, tender white and soft, runny yolk is fan-freakin’-tastic.
In this case, the yolk ran out onto a bed of deliciously nutmegy creamed spinach, mixing and mingling its richness with the sweet earthiness of the spinach. The spinach itself was excellent, and not just because I’m nearly ecstatic about the reappearance of local greens. The combination of the two was perfect for a cold, dreary, not-quite-spring morning but a fried poached egg would also be amazing atop a crisp green salad later in the season.
And don’t let anyone tell you that poaching an egg is tricky. It’s not; it’s simply a matter of lowering the egg into very hot water and not freaking out when bits of it wisp away. I did it fairly successfully on my very first try with the help of this handy dandy tutorial. As for the breading and frying, fear not; once the egg is poached it’s pretty easy to handle as long as you’re careful, and you only have to drop it in a few inches of hot oil for about 15 seconds. It takes very little time and it barely even makes a mess. Plus it is really really yummy.
Deep-Fried Poached Egg with Creamed Spinach
adapted (as in I left out the ham) from Gourmet
for the spinach
¼ c. heavy cream
½ t. flour
1½ t. finely chopped shallot
1 t. unsalted butter
3 oz. fresh spinach, washed, drained, and chopped
¼ t. salt
1/8 t. pepper
for the egg
water for poaching
1-2 t. vinegar
¼ c. bread crumbs
flour for dusting
salt and pepper
4 c. peanut oil
1) Whisk together cream and flour in a small bowl until just combined. Set aside.
2) Heat butter in a skillet over moderately low heat. Add shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, until shallot is softened, about 3 minutes. Add spinach, nutmeg, salt and pepper and cook, stirring constantly, until spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes. Stir cream mixture, then add to spinach and cook, stirring occasionally, until cream is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
3) To poach the eggs, fill a wide, shallow skillet with about an inch or two of water and a splash of vinegar. Heat over medium high heat to almost a simmer. Meanwhile, crack one egg into a small bowl and refrigerate until water is heated. Stir water to create a small whirlpool, then gently lower the egg into the center of the whirlpool. Don’t freak out if some of the egg white wisps away. Continue poaching for 3-4 minutes, keeping water just below a simmer. Once egg is set, gently lift it out with a slotted spoon onto paper towels to dry. Season with salt and pepper.
4) Heat oil in saucepan to 375°F. Crack the remaining egg into a bowl large enough to hold the poached egg. Beat raw egg lightly. Place bread crumbs into another bowl and season with salt and pepper.
5) Dust poached egg with flour, transfer it carefully to the egg wash bowl and turn to coat with egg, then repeat for bread crumbs. Lower breaded poached egg into the hot oil and fry for 15-20 seconds or until golden brown. Remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
6) Reheat spinach over low heat, stirring constantly and adding more cream or water to loosen mixture if necessary, about 1 minute. Dollop creamed spinach onto a plate, then top with poached eggs. (I also served mine with a piece of toast, which was entirely unnecessary as the egg is already, duh, breaded.)