30 December 2007

Eggs and Bubbly

A few weeks ago I saw a link to a video of Gordon Ramsey cooking eggs. It looked pretty good--sort of a modified English breakfast without the beans or sausage and somewhat more appetizing. That's not to deny the glory of the full English--when I've gone to Europe I would occasionally have the English breakfast when I wanted a break from coffee and a buttered roll. I'm also surprised that pork & beans has never really caught on in the South as a breakfast food.

I love that video, by the way. He doesn't measure anything, he burns the toast, and in a few short minutes he's got an awesome dish. When my craving couldn't hold back any longer, I decided to make this for dinner the weekend before New Year's. I substituted sour cream for the crème fraîche and though not pictured, I did have a slab of applewood smoked ham with the rest of it.

Frederic is celebrating "Twelve Days of Christmas with Champagne and Sparkling Wine". After reading a few posts I thought, damn, that Ramsey recipe would be great with a sparkling wine. So I when I made this I decided to pop open a bottle of the 25th Anniversary Roederer Estate Brut NV, an Anderson Valley, California sparkler made from 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir. It's got a slightly yeasty, toasty nose with tons of bubbles. In fact, the crackling of the bubbles is audible--I thought I had static in my speakers until I isolated the source. (Though it's a little late, I was listening to Vince Guaraldi's soundtrack for A Charlie Brown Christmas. Those brushes on the drums create a bit of a hiss anyway.) The wine has a crisp acidity, with hints of strawberries and lemon. The aftertaste is amazing, and it's always nice when you can lick your lips after a sip of wine and recapture the flavor.

Note that rather than expensive crystal, I've poured the wine into a $2.00 grocery store novelty flute with stars and "2008" stamped on it. The glass is also pretty thick, and it never hurts to have some sturdy Champagne glasses on hand.

Back to the food: I left my eggs a bit more runny than Gordon did--I prefer mine a little underdone. But Lord Almighty, this was delicious. It's the first time in recent memory that I've literally attacked a plate of food, and it's a good thing that I was dining alone. The eggs are a whole other texture and flavor experience than you're used to, and the roast tomatoes burst with flavor and juice that runs down your chin. Had one of my dogs nudged me during this feast I likely would have growled and snapped in his direction.

A tip: the chef pulls this off in what appears to be a stainless steel pot, and I used the same. It was a mess afterwards, and I think you could probably get a similar result with non-stick, which is normally what I use for eggs.

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