Houston's Perfect Eggs
Houston's most perfect eggs: New Menil cafe chef reveals his hard-won secrets
Ah, the egg: A perfect meatless protein found in almost every home and available to eat in a multitude of ways.
The American Egg Board claims that one large egg contains the equivalent of just 70 calories with six grams of protein, 12 percent of the Recommended Daily Value. Not bad, for an egg. And they are becoming more popular as ingredients in store bought food, as well.
“In addition, when consumers read product labels to look for the protein source, eggs are easily and readily recognizable,” says Elisa Maloberti, American Egg Board director of egg product marketing.
“The secret that Julia Child taught me is that you salt the eggs, soft scramble them and fold an amount of cold butter equal to 10 percent of the weight of the eggs."
Besides being a source for information regarding eggs, the American Egg Board website is also the place to go to purchase golf balls, T-shirts and shopping bags celebrating eggs. Just so you know.
Omelets and egg scrambles are probably the easiest dishes to make and basically you can throw whatever’s in the fridge in the mix and come up with an edible meal. Although the best omelet I ever had came from a Tulsa, Oklahoma restaurant. It was light and fluffy as a cloud and topped with sour cream and salmon roe, a wonderful flavor combination.
Scrambled eggs are probably my favorite style, particularly topped with some herbs and sour cream or piled into a breakfast taco with a little chili con queso and jalapeño peppers. But bad scrambled eggs are worse than no eggs at all. Dried up, bland, cardboard tasting eggs . . . yuck.
So what is the best way to cook scrambled eggs? Some people put in a tablespoon of water with the eggs and I’ve always heard milk makes them fluffier, but chef Greg Martin, former executive chef at Cafe Express who’s now preparing to open Bistro Menil at The Menil Collection, uses neither.
“The secret that Julia Child taught me is that you salt the eggs, soft scramble them and fold an amount of cold butter equal to 10 percent of the weight of the eggs,” Martin says. “That’s how much the eggs shrink during the cooking process. My other secret is to put mascarpone on my toast, it’s just so much better than butter on toast.”
I’m thinking the mascarpone would be good on the eggs as well.
Also incredibly good on eggs: dukka, an Egyptian concoction of crushed nuts, herbs and spices.
“It’s wonderful as a topping on deviled eggs,” Tom Williams says, “or we just boil eggs, shell them and roll them in it.”
You may remember Williams as the chef/owner of the Fox Diner on Taft Street. Back then he was more known for his down home Southern style of cooking then for Egyptian side dishes but he’s building an impressive repertory of Middle Eastern and exotic dishes.
Anyway the dukka was great and would be delicious in egg salad as well as on other types of food including crusty bread dipped in olive oil.
Here’s Williams’ recipe:
Toasted hazelnuts, toasted sunflower seeds, fennel seeds, cumin, green and Tellicherry peppercorns, coriander, sesame seeds, Nigella seeds, sweet paprika and kosher salt.
1 Cup toasted hazelnuts
4 Tablespoons sunflower seeds
2 Tablespoons cumin
2 Tablespoons mixed green and Tellicherry peppercorns
6 Tablespoons coriander seeds
3 Tablespoons sesame seeds
1 Teaspoons Nigella seeds
2 Teaspoons sweet paprika
1 Tablespoon kosher salt
After you toast the nuts, toss into a food processor until they are finely ground. Pour them into a bowl with the spice mix and salt and stir well. The process should take less than half and hour and you’ll have enough to last for a while.
You can also buy store bought jars at specialty stores, but where’s the fun in that? Egg-xactly.