Sunday, July 20, 2008

Eggs: Basted to Braised

Ever heard of a basted egg? I hadn't until yesterday. While I was waiting for some work to be done on my car, John, the girls and I had breakfast at a little restaurant called Deb's Grapevine Bistro. I've eaten there a few times and the food isn't too bad. Deb serves up some pretty good breakfast. Well, apparently they had redone their menu, and the waitress is fairly new.(Good service by the way) When I ordered the corned beef hash dish the waitress asked how I'd like my eggs. I gave her my normal response whenever anyone asks me this question.
"Sunny side up."
Next thing I know the owner/cook and the new waitress are in the kitchen arguing. We thought it was over our oldest daughter's order, since the owner seemed to take issue with the way she read it out to the waitress. I still can't figure out what that was about. Anyway, it turns out that the corned beef hash comes with basted eggs. You're not suppose to choose how you want your egg, it just comes basted, even if you don't know what the heck that is. So the waitress came out and explained to me that normally the cook would not fry my eggs sunny side up because the menu states specifically that the eggs are basted, but today she would fry my eggs sunny side up. I told the waitress that it didn't matter to me how she cooked the eggs. If she wanted to baste them then go for it.
When the waitress brought out my breakfast I asked her what exactly is a basted egg.
It turns out it just a fried egg with a little water put in the pan and it's either splashed on top of the egg by a spatula or a lid is put on the pan and it steams. This can also be done with butter or oil, which is how my mom always cooked fried eggs. Who knew! I grew up eating basted eggs and had no idea.

Well, this whole basted egg incident hit my funny bone and I started going on about all the other odd ways there must be to cook an egg. One of those turned out to be braising. Can you braise an egg? Well it turns out you can, and it's something the Chinese and some other Asian cultures do, usually with pork belly. John found a recipe calling for a pound of sliced pork, so I pulled a couple of pork chops out of our freezer thawed them and sliced them up. We have 5 laying hens, so we had plenty of eggs to boil up. It turns out you take 8 hard boiled eggs and braise them along with the pork for an hour in a delicious sauce. The sauce in the recipe John found was simple and simply delicious. It consisted of garlic, dried shitakes, spring onion, ginger, star anise, oyster sauce, soy sauce, mirin, sugar, oil and enough water to cover the pork. Our kitchen smelled amazing. I felt like I walked into a Chinese cooks kitchen. I've never made a Chinese dish that smelled this authentic.

Here it is starting out:

After a while the eggs start to turn brown. It doesn't look all that appetizing, but looks are deceiving.

The eggs remained moist and had soaked up the flavor of the sauce which was divine.
It's a simple dish to make, but plan ahead as it needs to cook for a bit. You can find the recipe at Group
So, next time a waitress presents an unfamiliar way to cook a familiar food, ask what it is, you may end up discovering some fantastic and delicious way to cook it up.
Bon Appetite!

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