Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Garlic Broth with Poached Eggs

Day 23: Asceticism is for Ascetics

I thought that the Potato Soup was simple, but this recipe has set a new bar for simplicity for the month. Jay wanted to try a soup that involved poached eggs and I found a tempting recipe on Epicurious for eggs poached in a garlic broth. The thing is, poaching eggs is harder than it sounds. All conditions have to be ideal and the slightest variation in the freshness of eggs, temperature of the water, or the temperature of the eggs can mess the whole process up and the recipe I found had this elaborate precess for poaching the eggs in the broth in a small 6 inch circle created by a round of bread. This sounded unnecessarily complicated to me. Jay practiced all weekend to be able to achieve the perfect poached egg and introducing new obstacles seemed like a bad idea. In addition the recipe sounded a little on the plain side. So I adjusted technique and recipe slightly to achieve something with a little more "interest". Despite these adjustments Jay still felt like it was a soup for ascetics, granted a tasty soup for ascetics. I recommend you serve it as a first course or along side a substantial side unless you want a very light meal. Strain the leftover broth and use for your next soup!

Garlic Broth with Poached Eggs

3 tbsp olive oil
3 heads garlic, cloves separated and peeled
8 cups water
2 tsp + red pepper flakes
1 cup kale or other green, sliced thin
8 slices of a baguette, stale is fine
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 fresh eggs
2 tsp white vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

In a large soup pot heat 1 tbsp olive oil over low heat. Cook garlic cloves slowly until the garlic is lightly browned and softened. Add water and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer 40 minutes until the garlic is very soft. Remove cooked garlic with a slotted spoon. With a fork mash garlic into a paste. Add 1 tsp of red pepper flakes, salt to taste, and set aside. Season broth with remaining red pepper flakes and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil again and add kale. Cook for 2 minutes until kale is just soft. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Keep broth warm but not boiling.
Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Brush both sides of bread with olive oil and place in the pan. Cook each side until just toasted. Remove from pan and spread one side with a bit of garlic mash. Place on an ungreased baking sheet and sprinkle with cheese. Cook under a broiler until the cheese is melted and bubbling. Remove and set aside.
Crack eggs into separate small glasses and bring to room temperature. In a deep skillet heat 3-4 inches of water to a boil. Add vinegar. Lower to a slight simmer. Dip cup into the water allowing the water into the cup but not allowing the egg out. Slowly drop egg into the water and draw errant edges together. Cook for 3 minutes and remove with a slotted spoon. Place in the warm broth while you prepare the rest of the eggs. It is difficult to cook more than two eggs at the same time as the water cools with each addition. It is easiest to cook 2 at a time and reheat water in between.
To serve, split the kale between two bowls. Add two eggs each on top of kale. Pour broth over to fully cover and top with two pieces of bread.

Jay's review:

3.5 yums (out of 5)!. I'm hungry already!