02 August 2009

120 Ways of Cooking Eggs

Marcel Boulestin was a noted French restaurateur and cookbook writer. A. H. Adair was more of a “drink” man. They came upon a book about eggs at a time when the papers were full of the passing of Madame Poulard, a cook famous for her omelettes. Everyone who had eaten them had some magical story of how she came to cook such memorable and fanciful eggs.

Boulestin dismisses the hyperbole about Madame Poulard. She was for him, simply an excellent cook who knew how to make eggs. The secret was cooking eggs. Enough said. I dare say if people were talking about Boulestin's fabulous omelettes, he would probably allowed for the hyperbole, though he would respond that he was simply a fabulous cook. He was also the very first television chef appearing on an experimental BBC program in 1937.

Boulestin and Adiar concede that listing every dish with eggs would be exhaustive. 120 Ways of Cooking Eggs is filled with recipes that feature eggs as the primary component. 120 Ways of Cooking Eggs was one of the cookbooks often used by the Duchess of Windsor. Her copy was sold during the Sotheby's auction of Duke & Duchess' estate.

There is really no point in venturing past the first recipe to come up with a wonderful "eggy" treat. They begin with poached eggs. One must first, however, learn to poach the eggs.

Fill a saucepan with a quart of water, put in a coffeespoonful of salt and a tablespoonful of wine vinegar, bring to the boil. Break the eggs, one by one in a bowl and drop them carefully, also one by one, in the water at the place where it boils most. Move the saucepan a little aside and cook for three and a half minutes; by then the yolk will be enclosed by the white, set enough to keep its shape.

Boulestin recommends absolutely fresh eggs to insure that the whites retain their natural shape and coat the yolk.

Poached Eggs Argenteuil

Make a puree of asparagus, and spread over buttered toast; put on each piece one poached egg, a few asparagus tips (previously cooked) neatly arranges and pour a little hot cream over the egg. Should be well seasoned.

Think about it, a lovely moonlit night, a glass of fruity wine and Poached Eggs Argenteuil – you too will be a legend.

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