“My Saturday morning trip to the Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market is one of my most beloved rituals–I stop by Boulettes to get my English muffins and eggs for breakfast…,” Alice Waters from Chez Panisse said about the Bay area cafe and larder where we had our own egg experience, recently. We were only in San Francisco for two days with thousands of the finest restaurants imaginable and we ate both mornings at Boulettes Larder. After our first engagement with her eggs, we felt we couldn’t improve on our breakfast anywhere else, so we returned.
At Crunch Time, we’re not saying we’ll go to the lengths Amaryll Schwertner from Boulettesgoes to dress her delectable scrambled and poached eggs, but it’s a lesson in seasoning and finesse that can inspire our own cooking. Chef Schwertner writes a chapter in Waters’ most recent book In the Green Kitchen about seasoning, which leads off with an emphasis on salt and salt varieties.
Her egg preparation is perfection. Chef Schwertner prepares the eggs herself while us eat-in kitchen diners try to get a glimpse of her technique. She glanced my a way for a moment and with no restraint I mouthed “I love your eggs” to which she might have turned up a smile or was that a grimace and then looked away; maybe she thought I said “I love your ass.” I shamelessly tried to track down her secrets but didn’t get a reply likely because they, at Boulette’s Larder are too busy with creating food while I’m too busy creating posts about their food. So, in the words of Jefferson Airplane,goask Alice, I’ll think she’ll know.
In my favorite Alice Waters book, The Art of Simple Food, she offers suggestions for poached and scrambled eggs. I believe that carving out just five minutes devoted to a well-prepared egg is very little to ask of our day.
Poached and Scrambled Eggs (Techniques from Alice Waters):
1. Filla heavy, shallow pan with water to 2-3 inches deep.
2. Add a large splash of vinegar (the trick most people agree to make a well shaped poached egg) and put the pan over medium fire. She advises 1T to every 4c of water and don’t add it if you’re poaching in broth or soup.
3. Crack egg without breaking the yolk into the cup and remove any shell pieces.
4. When the water is very hot, but not boiling, hold the cup at the water level and slide the egg in.
5. After a minute, you can gently stir the pan to prevent the egg from sticking to the bottom.
6. One egg from the refrigerator will take about 3 minutes for a soft yolk and a set white.
1. Crack 1-2 eggs per person into a bowl.
2. Heat a heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat for a few minutes. A 10-inch skillet is perfect size for a dozen eggs.
3. Lightly beat the eggs (do not over beat or they will be runny). Season generously with salt and also add pepper.
4. When the pan is hot, add a teaspoon of butter for every two eggs.
5. When the butter is almost finished foaming, pour in the eggs.
6. When the eggs start to set, push them around the pan.
7. Cook the scrambled eggs until they’re just a little looser than you like them – they will continue cooking when you take them off the heat.
8. Serve immediately.