Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Recipe: Poached Eggs over Spinach and Prosciutto

Fact #1:  I love poached eggs. The delicate and barely-set whites, the runny yolk - it all works so well when you can manage to get that perfect spherical shape by dropping an egg into simmering water. 

Fact #2:  I am woefully unable to poach eggs.  I've tried every which way: gently dropping an egg into the center of a pan while swirling the water, adding vinegar, constant stirring, experimenting with water temperatures and pan sizes - you name it, I've tried it.  Inevitably, half the white flakes off into the water and I end up with a nice runny yolk which is surrounded by a scant millimeter of egg white.  After several years of struggling, I've finally accepted that I may never be able to poach an egg - at least, not well enough to measure up to my own standards. After all, I am no chef.

And that's why I don't mind cheating a little bit.  This past weekend, I was at Kitchen Collage when I suddenly spotted a gadget I didn't even know I'd been missing all my life: poaching pods.  Shaped like little conical baskets, these pods are made of flexible silicone and are designed to float in simmering water, thus protecting your cooked egg whites from flaking away.  While you do lose some of the wonderful shirred texture that I love in a properly executed poached egg, just managing to get an entire poached egg onto a plate at all is an accomplishment for me regardless of texture. 

Naturally, I bought two. 

Though I love poached eggs on toast, this past Sunday I found myself with two new poaching pods burning a hole in my kitchen drawer and no bread to be found.  Not to be deterred from the prospect of finally preparing a suitable poached egg, I decided spinach and prosciutto would be a reasonable accompaniment.

If you are poaching-challenged like me and decide to give the pods a whirl, feel free to follow this recipe.

Poached Eggs over Spinach and Prosciutto
2 large farm-fresh eggs
1 clove garlic, minced
Large handful spinach, washed and roughly chopped
3-5 slices prosciutto, torn into bite-sized pieces

Bring 2 inches of water to a boil in a saucepan, then reduce to a simmer.  Coat the inside of two poaching pods with nonstick spray or butter, then crack an egg into each.  Float pods in simmering water.  Cover and cook, undisturbed, until whites are just set - about 4-6 minutes.

In a large skillet, saute prosciutto over medium heat until crispy, about 5 minutes.  Drain on paper towels. 

Heat 1 tsp butter over medium heat and saute garlic for a couple of minutes until it starts to soften.  Add spinach and saute for another few minutes, until just wilted. Season with salt and pepper, then remove from heat.

Arrange spinach and prosciutto on plates for serving.

Carefully remove pods from the simmering water with a slotted spoon (silicone will be hot). 

Gently loosen egg whites from the edges of pods using a spoon, then invert onto paper towels to drain any excess water from the eggs.  

Arrange eggs over spinach and prosciutto. Season with salt and pepper before serving.

Serves 2.

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