14 June 2011

Good Egg Dishes

We were thrilled to hear that Angry Bird is coming out with own egg cookbook. As you know, egg cookbooks are a favorite here at Cookbook Of The Day. Until the Angry Bird hatches, you will have to settle for this gem, Good Egg Dishes by Ambrose Heath. Heath wrote and translated more than one hundred works on food, this being the fourth of his books we have reviewed.

Like many egg cookery books, this is not so much a "cookbook" as a list of how to treat the eggs after they have been cooked. It is more of an egg "decorating" book.

Eggs Sur Le Plat Clamart

The bottom of the dish is garnished with green peas
à la française, and the egg is broken on to these and baked.

How many peas? How high the oven? You are left to the imagination.

The most favorite thing about this book is the clever use of recipe titles. Heath wallows in his French providing the most decadent titles for the most simple of dishes. Think about it-- eggs cooked over peas -- I don't think so. But Eggs Sur Le Plat Clamart, I am so making this dish.

How about scrambled eggs? Heath makes a mere scrambled egg a vision of poetry.

Eggs Scrambled Chatillon

The scrambled eggs are served in a border
with minced fried mushrooms in the middle, surrounded by a heap
of fried parsley, and little fleurons of puff pastry round the outside.

Again, if you have to ask how to scramble and egg or make a puff pastry or fry mushrooms or parsley, this book is not for you.

Chatillon is a French town or family or battle, one would guess depending upon how you perceive your eggs.

A border is a small platter with slightly raised edges. Now days a square plate would work nicely.

Fleurons are literally florets. In typography they are those curly cues around type, the frilly bits, which accurately describe the exact way those little bits of puff pastry should adorn the boarder.

Here is his cooking instruction for Eggs Mollets.

"There is no English word to describe this kind of egg, which might perhaps be called a soft hard-boiled one, for it is cooked enough for the white to to be firm enough for the shell to be removed, while the yolk remains quite soft inside."

Let's go out a limb here and and say that in English we would call eggs mollets "soft-boiled" eggs. Again we must point out that a soft-boiled egg doesen't hold a verbal candle to eggs mollets. And, as a added bonus, Heath points out that for every recipe that calls for poached egg, eggs mollets can be substitute and there would, of course, be a name change:

"In any recipe for Poached Eggs that follow, an Egg Mollet can be substituted where convenient. The name would then run: Oeufs Mollets So-and-So."
Next time you are in restaurant and the waiter says, "How would you like your eggs?" You know what to say!

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