GOOD EGGS

There’s more than one way to crack an egg, writes Matt Pre­ston as he looks be­yond the tried-and-true break­fast favourites.

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - On Sunday - See Matt’s homage recipe to the egg muf­fin, the egg Mc­mat­tin, on­line at de­li­cious.com.au.

@mattscra­vat TURNOVER EGGS EGGS IN BEDGOWNS EGGS IN CRUSTS @Mattscra­vat

IF THE week­end is owned by any one in­gre­di­ent it has to be the egg, whether it’s a restora­tive ba­con and fried egg roll loaded with your favourite sauce, poached goo­gies with Hol­landaise for Sun­day brunch, or ever-so-slowly cooked scram­bled eggs served all creamy with folds of blush­ing smoked salmon for a ro­man­tic break­fast.

Eggs, how­ever, can be so much more so I turned to my li­brary of dusty cook­books dat­ing back two cen­turies to see what tricks we might be miss­ing.

This is a bril­liant Vic­to­rian trick that en­sures no sneeze of al­bu­men is left on top of your fried egg and makes it far neater for a fried egg sand­wich if you’re us­ing a round-top loaf. Crack your egg into a hot pan and when the white is just set, lift the widest part and fold it over the yolk to cover as much as you can. Cook for a cou­ple of min­utes, then flip it fin­ish. Voila – a fried egg as neat as the best poachie. Tip: rub­ber-tipped tongs and a blunt-edged knife are ideal when lift­ing and flip­ping the white.

Take the tops off six small po­ta­toes baked in their jack­ets and hol­low them out, then add an egg (or two), salt and nut­meg to each and bake them again un­til the eggs are set to your lik­ing. Fancy things up with herbs, diced fried ba­con, crum­bled sausage meat such as chorizo or even smoked fresh­wa­ter eel (be­cause you know that we love this ‘ba­con of the pond’, if we can find it). Tip: re­serve the hot potato flesh to mix with a lit­tle flour to make gnoc­chi. Spread it out to steam off be­fore us­ing – this will make the flesh drier and there­fore re­quire less flour for lighter gnoc­chi.

Also known as the bulls­eye, this is a slightly naff but charm­ing break­fast or light sup­per. Cut a ring out of the cen­tre of two slices of bread us­ing an egg ring, or sharp-rimmed glass. Fry the slices in foam­ing but­ter un­til golden on one side, then flip them and crack an egg into each hole. Cook un­til set and flip to seal. Serve bullseyes slathered with sour cream and loads of herbs, or pile on loads of vinai­grette-dressed frisée let­tuce and ba­con lar­dons for a take on the salade Ly­on­naise, which makes the bulls­eye seem a lot posher, sort of like a large fancy croû­ton. Tip: Toast the cutout bread rings to have af­ter loaded with but­ter and mar­malade with a cup of tea and a nice read of the pa­per.

HEARTY OMELETTES

You’ve prob­a­bly made a thou­sand frit­tatas over the years but how’s about a thick Span­ish-ish omelette in­stead? My favourite is to fry a chunky dice of red cap­sicum with a finely diced onion and some crushed gar­lic in a large oven-safe fry­ing pan, then set the mix­ture aside. Place olive oil and lay­ers of slices of left­over roast potato in the pan, toss­ing some of the onion and cap­sicum over each layer. Beat enough eggs to cover the potato with a lit­tle wa­ter, salt and smoked pa­prika. Pour the eggs into the pan and cook slowly over a low heat un­til the base is set, then fin­ish it un­der the oven grill. When cooked through flip it out onto a flat plate and serve it in wedges with your favourite chilli sauce, or a smooth spicy tomato sauce.

TOPSY-TURVY EGGS

This is a 125-year-old egg idea but made so much eas­ier if you have sil­i­con muf­fin pans. Oil or but­ter the pans, then dust each cup with bread­crumbs or sesame seeds. Crack an egg into each and bake un­til set. Serve with sour cream or Kew­pie may­on­naise, mashed avo­cado, lime juice, sliced spring onion and a lit­tle soy sauce. This is the least im­pres­sive of these ‘new’ ideas.

EGGSLUT

This Cal­i­for­nia café (with var­i­ous out­lets) spe­cialises in eggs in brioche buns, but their most in­ter­est­ing dish, the Slut, is an egg cooked and served with a creamy mash that re­minds me of some­thing that Mi­lan chef Carlo Cracco once made me. Fill clean and ster­ilised small Ma­son jars, Kil­ner jars or old jam jars to half­way with but­tery potato purée (like a mash only with even more but­ter). Crack in an egg and seal. Place in a bain-marie, then in a hot oven with the very hot wa­ter com­ing up over the level of the eggs (or in a large pan filled with hot wa­ter on the stove) and cook un­til the egg whites set. Eat topped with snipped chives and salt flakes.

BAKED ‘BOILED’ EGGS

This is a great hack from Al­ton Brown’s TV show Cut­throat Kitchen. Spread a very damp tea towel on an oven rack and nes­tle un­cooked eggs in it (spaced out so they don’t touch) and bake them in at 160°C for 30 min­utes. Plunge them in an ice bath and peel them.

POACHED EGG HACK

Fill a mug with half a cup of wa­ter. Crack in an egg. Place in the mi­crowave cov­ered and cook for one minute. Drain and serve.

EGG MUFFINS

Cre­ated by San Fran café Crafts­man and Wolves, this de­li­cious muf­fin, called The Rebel Within, con­tains the ul­ti­mate break­fast sur­prise – a goo­ey­cen­tred egg.

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