Hear that? It’s the collective sigh of food bloggers across the continent steeling themselves for the inevitable 4pm sunsets, hence no natural light in which to take decent pictures of their plates. Sorry these photos lack finesse- I promise to lug out ye old studio light kit asap.
How have I never done this before? I LOVE eggs. I LOVE butter. Why oh why did I not think to poach eggs in butter? Because I’m not a genius like Grant Achatz. Though I do have a few good years left in me to enjoy the wonder of egg yolks positively oozing with unctuous butter, so in that regard I’m fortunate to have discovered it now. It’s probably better- truth be told- that I didn’t cut my teeth on buttery yolk drops- my ass would be a doublewide by now if I had. I’m going to stop right now and tell you that if you value your girlish figure and you don’t run a gazillion miles a week or schlup up the stairmaster whilst watching dishy soaps, you might not want to keep reading this.
Alright, now that the crazies are gone, let’s get down to business. Let me just finish licking a stray yolk drop up off the floor. Yes, these little protuberant pearls of giddy gold fall into the rare category of floor-licking good. Have you ever done that before? C’mon, be honest, I really want to know how many of you have licked something up off the floor. I fully admit I have. Your turn. A few years ago we came up with this scale for wine:
- Wouldn’t even serve it to your senile Grandpa who lives by the crick and thinks Bud is beer
- Might pass it off at a giant party around 2am when no one can tell the difference anyway
- Would drink it from a flask at the rodeo, but never from stemware at home
- A passable daily drinker- potentially comes in a spacebag
- 12 person dinner party wine- can’t spend too much but clearly must be palatable
- Would be mildly upset if you spilled a glass of this one
- If it were corked, you might drink it anyway because the last bottle was so damn good
- You secretly horde this bottle in the back room during parties, and pour yourself pint-sized glasses when you sneakily refill
- Cry genuine tears if you accidentally somehow shatter this bottle
- Lick up off the floor any spilled drops, even if the floor is at a hoedown
The list works decently well for food too, though you have to change some of the analogies. These yolk drops are Bo Derek on the scale- a perfect 10- and I’m not the only one who thinks so. These babies pleased everyone from the toddler to the “selective” husband to the tile-lapping cat to the punch-drunk neighbor.
The method? Heat an inch of clarified butter in a small saucepan to 170°F. Drop whisked, uniform egg yolks into butter using a caviar pipette, syringe, or even a careful hand and a small spoon. Keep the drops separate from one another in the butter, and after ten seconds or so once they’ve sufficiently hardened on the exterior, jostle them around a bit to prevent them from sticking to the pan. Once they rise to the top, scoop them out with a straining spoon and let them drip off in a strainer until you’re ready to use them.
I served these exactly as Grant Achatz describes in the Alinea cookbook, with asparagus buds, asparagus bubbles (made from juiced asparagus foamed with lecithin), lemon puree, and lemon vinaigrette. Then I made them the next day and served them tossed in fresh pasta with a light lemon cream sauce. Then I made them the next day but they didn’t last until dinner because Bentley Danger and I greedily spooned them all out of the strainer and they were gone before I could drop them inside my baked fingerling potatoes. Today I’m going to try really hard to make them last until the potatoes pop out because I think it will be a perfect pairing. I guess what I’m saying is that they are sofa-king good you could eat them with anything. But really, you can’t go wrong with eggs and butter.