Experiments in cooking: Sunday Brunch Part 1

Disclaimer: I am in no way a professional and can’t promise I won’t make a few blunders in my kitchen experiments, but that’s how we learn, right?

What I can promise is that I won’t try to pass something terrible off as tasty, if it sucks I’ll probably attempt to make it better in which case I will document that process too. I can also promise that if something REALLY stumps me, I have a few professionals on retainer that I will consult…. I’m sure they’re thrilled. I already enlisted one to help me with homemade paté!

Without further ado, the fried green tomato benedict. 

As you may have gathered, I frequent the farmers markets. On Saturday (this was last week.. I know, a little shabby on updating!) I was thrilled to find green tomatoes at one of the stands.

I had recently heard about The Bleeding Heart Bakery’s take on eggs benedict, which involved fried green tomatoes and had to try my own version.

Before I get to the full recipe I want to take a second to dispel any and all rumors that poaching an egg has to be difficult! I am convinced that the skills required to poach an egg are somehow ingrained in your DNA. You either have it or you don’t. My dad can poach eggs like a master while my mother can’t poach an egg to save her life. My mom is the better cook, but for whatever reason that doesn’t mean jack when the task is to poach an egg. I, unfortunately, inherited my mother’s egg poaching skills. I’ve tried all your tricks. You can go ahead and give me tips, but 50% of the time the eggs just don’t actualize.

So I give a fool proof way to poach an egg perfectly EVERY TIME.

Step 1: Crack egg into a microwave safe cup (I used a tea cup).

The smaller the vessel the better. I’m convinced that the egg whites stay closer to the yolk when they are in a smaller space, but that could just be in my head! 

Step 2: Cover the eggs with water

What I mean by that seems logical to me, but just in case: pour enough water into the cups with the raw eggs that it covers them completely. 

Step 3: Place a saucer or small plate on top of the cup and microwave on high for around 1 minute. The hitch here is that it really works best when you do one egg at a time. I didn’t have enough time or eggs to experiment with the amount of time it would take to poach two eggs at a time, but I’m sure there’s some scientific formula one could use to figure out how much longer it takes to poach two eggs at a time than it would take to poach one.

The exact time is important. For my microwave and for the size of my eggs (they were fresh from the farmers’ market and therefore on the small side) it took exactly 1 minute and 10 seconds for them to come out. You may have to sacrifice a few eggs in the name of science, but once you get the time, you will thank me. 

I just had to prove that the yolk was perfect. I’m done gloating.

Fried Green Tomato Benedict:

I made this dish for two people. I used four small-ish green tomatoes cut relatively thinly and two eggs per person. Instead of a hollandaise sauce I made a remoulade (which turned out awesome) and used warmed and thinly sliced ham for my meat which I thought would make a good substitute for a thicker cut like Canadian bacon since the fried green tomatoes are already pretty firm.


The Fried Green Tomatoes:

I once took a cajun cooking class at the chopping block and basically replicated their batter, but upon consumption of the result I would say I would have preferred a thicker and more fluffy (less gritty) batter. So I suggest trying Corn flour… the stuff they use to make arepas and tortillas. I cut my cornmeal with quite a bit of flour, but it was still too gritty for my taste.

1. Salt and pepper your tomato slices then dredge them in the flour then the egg mixture (I might suggest also adding some buttermilk to that… something I thought of too late) and then again in the corn flour. You can do this while the vegetable oil heats up. You want it very hot but not smoking.

2. Fry the battered tomatoes. It only takes a minute or two on each side, but if you’re worried about overcooking them, just use a spatula to lift one out of the oil and check for it to be golden brown. 

Place the fried green tomatoes on a cooling rack (or a plate lined with a paper towel) and to keep warm you can put them in an oven set to the lowest temperature. I put my slices of ham in there towards the end to warm ’em up too.

Remoulade: 

I combined about 1/2 cup of mayonnaise, 2 teaspoons of coarse-grained mustard, a couple pinches of finely diced scallions and bell pepper (I used orange because I’m not the biggest fan of raw red pepper) and about 1/2 tsp of lemon juice, cayenne pepper and paprika respectively. Done and done.

Then all that’s left is to poach the eggs (see above), and while you’re doing that:

Using the fried green tomatoes as your base, plop some remoulade onto the tomatoes then put down a few layers of warmed ham and then the poached egg. I put a dash of paprika (more for looks than anything) on top of the poached egg.

Final notes: Besides the changes I’d make to the batter, I would have used bigger green tomatoes had they been available. I won’t even show you the final plating of this dish because it looked a little silly since it was more of a cluster of fried green tomatoes (see above) with two eggs and some ham while I would have LIKED it to be two neat stacks of fried tomato, ham and egg…..like traditional eggs benedict but the english muffin has been replaced by a nice slice of fried green tomato!

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