I am thrilled to introduce a guest blog by Incognito Dining. With Easter a few short weeks away (18 days, 8 hours, 40 minutes and 9 seconds to be exact), we have an egg-citing article… on eggs. It is a real celebratory piece with a lovely recipe to boot, championing the egg that is otherwise a humble ingredient. If you love Incognito Dining (why wouldn’t you? Their avant garde cooking is top drawer), check out their range of pop-ups. Their next one is tomorrow.
Kitchen Diaries: From the men behind the masks
“A box without hinges, key, or lid, yet golden treasure inside is hid.” It’s an egg silly.
Ok, so I knicked that from the Hobbit. Plagiarism isn’t a crime – I got 8 GCSEs copying and pasting from Wikipedia. Anyway, eggs are amazing. They are truly incredible things. We used them to trap air when we whisk it, which expands when heated to help a soufflé rise. We have witnessed real life magic, as its insulation properties help us put a ball of ice-cream in a hot oven and come out still cold in our Baked Alaska.
Eggs are such a cheap, every day ingredient, it is all too easy to overlook them. So, I figured we’d celebrate them. Don’t worry, I’m not about to go all Delia Smith on you and do an article on how to poach an egg – I figure if you can’t do that already, this is all probably wasted on you anyway.
For those who don’t know, lob it in some hot water, removing the shell first. Maybe it’s not so simple after all. It is also a great personal challenge to write an entire article with out making any eggscruciatingly cringeworthy puns…
So, eggs. Crammed full of protein, they contain 19 vitamins and minerals, which means they’re pretty healthy. The Egg Nutrition Centre rates them second only to human breast milk for human nutrition. And we all remember the Rocky movie. Interestingly, the human body digests more protein after cooking than when eaten raw – Rocky may as well have just poached them. Gutted.
Eggs are also the ultimate fast food. It takes under five minutes to make an omelette, or egg and soldiers in less than 10 minutes. The ultimate breakfast dish also features eggs as the star ingredient – Eggs Benedict, so what’s not to love?
Farmed for centuries, we get through an estimated 12.6 billion eggs per year. 85% of these eggs are in fact produced in this country by roughly 36 million hens. Several types of eggs are to be found on supermarket shelves, from vitamin or omega-3 enriched eggs, to organic and free-range.
In terms of egg varieties, the most common are quails eggs (tiny little things, a nightmare to peel), hens eggs (no description necessary I hope) and ducks eggs (larger, richer – very very tasty).
Pheasant eggs although not readily available, do have a following. These eggs are slightly larger than quails eggs and gulls eggs, and are quite the gastronomic treat. This is in part due to their rarity, as there are only a small number of people with licenses to forage them in the UK. This, coupled with the brevity of the 3-4 week window when in season (best time to get these is at the start of spring) makes pheasants eggs a rare treat.
And which came first. The chicken or the egg? Not the foggiest. Sorry. I just cook the things.
Recipe serves 4. Here we are using just the yolk. We’re pairing this with smoked hollandaise (more egg yolks) and some chicken. Because it just makes sense. Broccoli would make a brilliant substitute.
- 4 chicken wings
- Spoonful duck fat
- Few sprigs lemon thyme
- Zest of 1 lemon
Place the wings in a pan and simmer on low heat till the bones pull out easily. Remove bones and chill in fridge. Pan-fry to crisp skin to serve.
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 125g smoked butter
Place egg yolks in blender. Boil the butter and add in slow trickle, blending continuously till it thickens. Season with lemon juice and salt.
- 8 asparagus spears
Blanch in salted water.
- 10 asparagus spears
- 25g cream
- 30g beurre noisette
- 5 g spinach
- 5g truffle/truffle oil
Blanch asparagus spears until soft. Blitz, add cream and beurre noisette. Pass through a sieve and season.
Poached egg yolk
- 4 hens egg yolks
Boil eggs for 5 ½ minutes. Chuck a couple extra in if it is your first time, as it can be a bit fiddly. Peel, and gently remove egg white. Place yolk on plate with a sprinkle of Maldon salt.
A white Rioja is an excellent wine match to go with this dish. Rioja is a region in Spain, normally more associated with rich red wines. Unbeknownst to many, that region also has a good selection of rather tasty white wines.
This one in particular is called Bodegas Remelluri RiojaBlanco. It is made from a blend of Voignier, Chardonnay, Roussanne, Marsanne, Sauvignon Blanc, Garnacha Blanca, and Moscatel del Pais (quite the mouthful – they basically lobbed the entire cupboard and half the kitchen sink at it, but thankfully they did, because it tastes pretty good). This fresh, crisp wine cuts through the richness of the asparagus and chicken beautifully.
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