The 62 Degree Egg

That’s Celsius, not Fahrenheit. Popping up everywhere in chic restaurants. What is the fuss all about? Armed with my Sansaire and a dozen farm fresh eggs, I decided to find out for myself.

Sometimes called a sous vide egg, the real correlation is the immersion cooking. Eggs cooked with an immersion circulator don’t need to be vacuum sealed as in a sous vide preparation (sous vide translates loosely to vacuum sealed). Eggs are already sealed perfectly in their own shell. This is a method for cooking eggs at a consistently precise temperature.

I decided to start experimenting with my eggs and varying water temperatures. Does cooking time matter? Yes, it factors in with eggs and immersion cooking. You cannot leave the eggs in the water for hours without changes in the consistency. Conversely, you can cook them to the temperature you desire and refrigerate them for a day or two until you are ready to serve. For this round of testing, I let my eggs cook in their hot bath for one hour.

Experiment #1 – 62 deg. Celsius: Poached Eggs over Garlic Ciabatta

There is nothing better than a smooth, silky egg yolk opened over practically any food. Tonight it is garlic ciabatta toast – I cheated and used the New York kind I had in my freezer.

2 farm fresh eggs, room temperature
Garlic ciabatta toast, or any toast you prefer
Freshly ground salt and pepper

Set your Sansaire (or other immersion circulator) to 63 deg. Celsius, 143.6 deg. Fahrenheit; and take the eggs out to reach room temperature. It will take a bit to reach this water temperature depending on how much water you are using. At temp, slowly lower the eggs into the water using a ladle. Remember, they are fragile hitting water of this temperature. Set a timer for one hour on the eggs.

With about 10 minutes left on the timer, prep the toast. Keep it warm in the oven until ready to plate.

After an hour, remove the eggs from their hot bath. Crack the largest end of the egg on the counter, and start to gently peel it. Once you have the large end peeled, let your egg slowly slide out onto a large spoon or ladle. You will notice that the runny part of the white is not completely set; this can be discarded. The thicker part of the white will be just set.

These little guys are surprisingly resilient; but do be careful with them. The first one I peeled rolled right off the piece of toast and I was afraid it was going to break the yolk. I chased it around the bowl with my ladle and got it back onto the toast, unbroken. Sprinkle with freshly ground salt and pepper to taste; I used Savory Spices’ Cantanzaro Herbs Seasoning Salt.

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The consistency of the egg yolk? Creamy, dreamy, and utterly delicious. The bright orange, silky yolk was the perfect complement to the toast. Distinctly different than a standard poached egg; this method is definitely now my preferred method for poaching. Enjoy!

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Shakshuka and My First Experience with Cast Iron

I recently picked up a couple of pieces of cast iron cookware to try. I’ve been reading a lot about it, particularly in the Cast Iron Cookbook group on Facebook. I am a cast iron newbie, and have been reluctant to try it because I was under the impression that it couldn’t be used on glasstops. Wrong! It is in fact safe to use on glasstops; just no sliding across the top, and take care when you put it down on the top. The pans I picked up were pre-seasoned Lodge cast iron. Some people recommended seasoning them, some said it was okay to just wash with hot water and use them. With my first piece, I just washed the pan and got going.

My good friend posted a picture of Shakshuka that he had made for dinner and I got inspired. Shakshuka is a lovely dish of Tunisian origin, eggs cooked softly in a spicy tomato sauce. First introduced and popular in Israel, is a staple of Middle Eastern cuisines, and is traditionally served in a cast iron pan or tajine with bread to mop up the sauce. There are many different variations on Shakshuka, below is my version of this delicious dish (adapted from Tori Avey’s page). Next I believe I will tackle Yotam Ottolenghi’s and Sami Tamimi’s version in the stunning Jerusalem cookbook.

I use harissa-infused olive oil in this recipe, but plain olive oil works just as well. I also used fresh tomato sauce that my mom canned in the summer. Luckily I was the beneficiary of a good supply of pints of this summer deliciousness.

Oh, and as for the cast iron….I’m in LOVE!!! 🙂

Shakshuka

2 tbsp harissa-infused olive oil
1/2 medium brown or white onion, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1 14 oz. can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 14 oz. can tomato sauce
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp medium chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp hot Spanish paprika
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
5-6 eggs
1/2 tbsp fresh chopped cilantro (optional)

Heat a deep, large skillet or sauté pan on medium. Slowly warm the olive oil in the pan. Add chopped onion and sauté for a few minutes until the onion begins to soften. Add the garlic and continue to sauté till mixture is fragrant.

Add the bell pepper, sauté for 5-7 minutes over medium until softened.

Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste to the pan, stir till blended. Add the spices, stir well, and allow mixture to simmer over medium heat for 5-7 minutes till it starts to reduce. Taste the mixture and spice it according to your preferences. Add salt and pepper to taste, a bit of sugar if you like a sweeter sauce, or more cayenne pepper for a spicier Shakshuka (be careful with the cayenne… it is extremely spicy!).

Crack the eggs, one at a time, directly over the tomato mixture, making sure to space them evenly over the sauce. I usually place 4-5 eggs around the outer edge and 1 in the center. The eggs will cook “over easy” style on top of the tomato sauce.

Cover the pan. Allow mixture to simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the eggs are cooked and the sauce has slightly reduced. Keep an eye on the skillet to make sure that the sauce doesn’t reduce too much, which may lead to burning.

If you like your eggs runny with Shakshuka, let the sauce reduce for a few minutes before cracking the eggs on top. Then cover the pan and cook the eggs to taste.

Garnish with the chopped cilantro, if desired; and serve with a warm, crusty bread to mop up the sauce. Enjoy! 🙂