Friday, February 19, 2010

Slow cooked ham & eggs

This simple and lovely supper was a delight. I wanted to steam whole eggs, not a custard, like the traditional en cocotte but not baked - obviously. And they had to be runny yolks if at all possible. I am gaining in confidence with the steam oven and fancied seeing if I could make this work.

Perused various bits of the web and discovered that egg yolks set at 65C and yolks at 63C and the alchemist chefs like Joel Rubuchon cook them at these kind of temperatures for 20-30 minutes, or more. I'm loving this idea - slow cooked egg. I'd been out and bought some parma ham at lunch time, thinking it would make a good lining for the ramekins. I had a little cream left from making the leek pudding and could see how that would be good. But it needed something to make it meld in my imagination. Checked the fridge and spied a block of Parmesan. The man cut me some curls using the vegetable peeler and I was good to go.

The Miele steam oven can be set at different temperatures, in increments of 5C. So I started with 65C - hoping it would err on the side of 63C - and set the clock for 15 minutes. The buzzer went and, oooh, not good. Warm but still an entirely liquid egg. Another 12 minutes, same temperature. The buzzer went and, oooh, still not good. Still warm but still liquid. So, with a decisive stroke, the temperature went up to 100C and the clock to a mere 2 minutes. Voila! Creamy whites, liquid gold yolks. Utterly perfect.

Slow cooked ham & eggs
4 slices parma ham
4 teaspoons thick cream
the leaves from a sprig of thyme
4 curls of Parmesan
4 fresh eggs
Black pepper

Set out 4 ramekins. Line each one with a thin slice parma ham, top it with a spoon of cream. sprinkle that with the thyme leaves, add a curl of Parmesan and a grind of pepper and then break an egg into each dish. Cover each ramekin with a sheet of clingfilm to stop the tops going rubbery.

Heat the steam oven to 65C, cook the ramekins for 25 minutes. Increase the heat to 100C and cook for 2 more minutes.

Eat with a teaspoon!

We had 2 each, with a simple fennel salad and crusty bread on the side and it was perfect. Would also make a great lunch for ladies!


Phyllis said...

The slow cooked eggs sound like quite a treat but I suspect the steam plays a big role. Most people don't have a steam oven I'll wager. How about setting a pan of steaming hot water on the bottom rack under the eggs?

Phyllis aka

bron said...

I think you're right Phyllis, the steam is important. You could try using a bamboo steamer and cook the ham/cream/cheese mix first then break in the eggs and steam for a couple more minutes till the whites are just set. You would probably get a fairly similar result.