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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Braised eggs with tomato shittake ragout

I've been trying to incorporate eggs into my cooking more lately, using them for things other than breakfast.

For example, last Saturday for lunch I toasted about a cup of orzo in my cast iron skillet then added enough water to steam it to almost al dente. Then I tossed in a handful of fresh peas and sauteed it all with some garlic, salt and pepper until the peas were hot and the orzo was done. I put that mixture in a shallow bowl and topped it all with two over easy eggs. It was great the way the egg yolk oozed down into the peas and pasta. Simple and delicious.

Today I had my bounty from the dollar aisle and decided to try braising eggs. I saw a recipe for braised eggs (not technically braised since there's no searing involved but it sounds better than steamed and it definitely isn't poaching) somewhere, I think in one of Michael Ruhlman's books, but couldn't find anything like it on the web so I just sort of went with what I remembered and worked it out as I went along.

First I sauteed half a diced onion, two cloves of chopped garlic and my can of 50¢ shittake mushrooms with a generous teaspoon of kosher salt and a few grinds of black pepper in my cast iron skillet over medium heat until lightly browned. I then turned up the heat and deglazed with a couple glugs out of a bottle of sau blanc I had open. I added about half my big can of tomatoes, drained and chopped, and my little jar of peeled grape tomatoes, also chopped, and cooked that mixture down for about 20 minutes.

I then turned down the heat to a couple clicks below medium and formed the ragout into a hill (more like a mesa actually) in the middle of the pan, making two indentations in the top into which I cracked two eggs.

I put the lid on the skillet and let the heat and steam coming up through the tomatoes do the work. I checked after about 5 minutes but the whites were still to runny so I let them go for another five. If you like your yolks runny I'd turn the heat off after about 7 or 8 minutes.

Two more pics: half of the dish served in a shallow bowl and a cross section so you can see how creamy and golden the yolk looks nestled in the ragout.

The Dollar Aisle

Today was the first time since being back in the old neighborhood that I've had a chance to really check out what's new at my old favorite grocery store, Russ's Market at 17th & Washington aka Ghetto Russ's. I've already become a big fan of the dollar shelves at the back of the store near the dairy section.

Here's what I picked up there today:

The sliced mushrooms, black beans and peeled grape tomatoes (glass jar on the left) were all 50¢ while the 28 oz. can of tomatoes and the tuna were a buck each. The dollar section at Russ's is way, way better than Sun Mart's. I'm going to experiment later this year and see how many tasty, good-looking meals I can put together just using stuff from dollar aisles.