Thursday, January 22, 2009

The power of suggestion.

This January's Bon Appetit magazine featured "Trends of the Year" and noted "anything with an egg on top" as the dish of the year, saying "Fried or poached, the incredible, affordable egg is topping all kinds of dishes, from fettuccine carbonara to pizza to frisée salad with hollandaise." In my house it's no different. I love a good something with an egg on top. I have been known to eat them on asparagus, on my burgers, and on their own. A a young woman with borderline high cholesterol, I should probably cut back on this indulgence, but they are just so good. And every time I see a recipe with a fried egg I can hardly resist. That is what brings you the photo above and the recipe below.

Eggs, well they are wonderful. I knew that already. So when I saw a recipe online a few months ago featuring a fried egg on top, I was intrigued. But the recipe also called for kale. Unlike eggs, kale is brand new to me. However after trying it, I am pleased to say that just like eggs, kale is wonderful. And it seems to be popular too. Either I am becoming more aware of the green, or it is receiving more attention lately. I first became aware of it thanks to the recipe feature in the photo above. This photo features boiled kale with a fried egg, a recipe that seemed to spread through the internet like wildfire when one outstanding food blogger, Orangette, posted a recipe, which was then referenced and expanded on by New York Times food blogger Bitten. Bon Appetit featured kale as a prime ingredient this February, and its uses and recipes continue to pop up on line here, here, and here (yes, the blog is indeed named after kale). I am especially pleased by this article on kale describing how to make it one of your refrigerator staples.

It took a lot of convincing to open Sam up to the idea of boiled kale and egg on toast, but my insistence finally won and we made the dish this Monday to much satisfaction. Kale is quickly becoming a new favorite in our lives, and as our winter CSA subscription starts this month I hope kale will be abundant in the bundle.

I'm not sure it is appropriate for me to offer the boiled kale with fried egg recipe here, as it was most decidedly NOT my own volition and creativity that inspired its manifestation in my kitchen (however I do encourage you to follow some links and find the recipe for yourself). So instead, I will offer you a recently enjoyed fried egg recipe and encourage you to pursue the boiled kale through its deserving proponents, both Orangette and Bitten of the New York Times.

Fettuccine Carbonara with Fried Eggs
By Jill Silverman Hough in Bon Appetit, January 2009
4 servings

As the recipe author notes "The fried eggs add extra unctuousness to a clever carbonara." If you, like me, are unsure of what "unctuousness" means, let me share. Unctuousness means, literally, "of the nature of or characteristic of an unguent or salve; oily; greasy." Alternatively, unctuousness can mean "excessively smooth, suave, or smug." I am not sure I agree with either definition in regard to this egg, as I found the egg to be rich, creamy, and very comforting. I rarely like to imagine my food as a salve. However, I can buy into the suave descriptor, as the egg was indeed "smoothly agreeable and polite." It played well with the other elements of the dish. The moral of this story, the carbonara is amazing, the lofty adjective's a professional writer used to describe it are not. Make the dish and forget the word unctuousness.

8 large eggs
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 oz thinly sliced pancetta (Italian bacon), finely chopped
12 oz egg fettuccine
1 medium bunch broccoli rabe (rapini), cut into 1/2-inch pieces

Whisk 4 eggs, both cheeses, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in medium bowl; set aside. Cook pancetta in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 7 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer to small bowl. Reserve skillet with drippings.

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until almost tender (about 3 minutes less than package directions); add broccoli rabe. Cook just until broccoli rabe is crisp-tender and pasta is tender, about 3 minutes longer. Drain pasta-broccoli rabe mixture, reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid. Return hot pasta-broccoli rabe mixture to pot (off heat). Immediately add egg-cheese mixture, pancetta, and 1/4 cup hot cooking liquid; toss to combine, adding more cooking liquid by tablespoonfuls to moisten as needed. Season to taste with salt and more pepper, if desired. Cover to keep warm.

Heat skillet with drippings over medium heat. Crack remaining 4 eggs into skillet; sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook until whites are opaque, about 2 minutes. Carefully turn eggs over; cook just until whites are set but yolks are still soft, about 1 minute longer. Remove from heat.

Top pasta with eggs and serve.


Jen said...

Just for honesty's sake, I can tell you that New Mexico-style stacked enchiladas with a fried egg on top are the bomb. Just sayin'....

I really did have to smile at this post, as it brought back memories of being at my very southern grandmother's house, where she would serve me white rice with butter and salt with a fried egg on top of it. The yolk would break down into the rice, and the rice would absorb it nicely.

What a comforting dish to a college student suffering from an abundance of stress!

Anonymous said...

Hi Kate - Although I have been known to use the word "unctuous" to describe a dish, this instance wasn't one of them - the editors added it! Glad you liked the recipe, and that you're having fun with kale. - Jill Silverman Hough

Miss Amelina said...

And this will be my dinner tomorrow.....after I get home from picking out the blouse fabric. :) You are a stud!