21 January 2009

The Perfect Egg and Other Secrets

Aldo Buzzi was a man of many talents. Professionally he was an architect, a publisher, and a very clever writer. The Perfect Egg: And Other Secrets was published in the late 1970 but didn’t see an English translation for over twenty years. For me, the egg is perfect and this is a perfect little volume.

Buzzi is an anecdotal writer, whose love of food oozes off the page like a warm mozzarella. His recipes are wrapped in a story where the food is a main character. You will find of crow meat is repulsive but makes a good soup, the best place to get good ham is Trieste, and as below, “a German” egg is less scrambled than one in Italy and therefore, “more Olympian, Goethe-esque.”

Scrambled Egg, Frankfurt-style: Ruhr-eier

This is a specialty of Frankfurt-on-Main, and is less scrambled than ours in Italy, more Olympian, Goethe-esque.
One egg per person plus one for the pan. Break the eggs into a bowl, add a spoonful of water per egg and a little salt. Wisk with a fork. Fry sufficient butter in the pan until it is well browned.
Turn the flame down to a minimum. Toss in the eggs and use a spatula to gently move the part that is setting while you make the still-liquid part run onto the hottest surface of the pan. The knack for the cook, is to get the eggs to set but only just. The surface should be frothy, like the inside of the omlette.
For an Italian variant you can blend into the egg some grated Parmesan or some tomato sauce, or both; or a light peperonata, made of well-cooked peppers and the odd tomato, in which case you’ll have a sort of Basque piperade.

The next time you are at the IHOP think of Aldo Buzzi. When the waitress asks, “How do you want your eggs?” Look her straight in the eye and politely say, “Goethe-esque.”

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