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Cooking Uncategorized

Pork Loin Roast





If nothing else, I can slay a pork loin roast! This has become our small family’s traditional Christmas dinner, being that we’ve made it two years in a row. My extended family does a beef rib roast, so this is just a step sideways. Last year, me and a couple of guys went in on a half a pig from Tails and Trotters. As part of the deal I walked away with two of these bad ass roasts. The thing about the pigs from T&T is that they have a ridiculous fat cap:







In this picture I had cut away half of the fatty layer, and it’s still thick as hell! A long time ago I did a fairly unsung post on cooking duck breasts, which have a comparatively thick fatty layer in reference to their general size. If you’ve ever had a really well cooked duck breast, then you know that there are few things better to eat than the crispy, rendered skin on a duck breast. It is simply amazing! Initially, when I saw the volume of fat on these roasts (and the pics in this post is a composite of 3 different roasts) I was pissed! Seriously angry, because I was just like ‘These are all fat! WTF!?’ But then I sat and thought on it, and hit upon the idea to cook them the same way I cook duck breasts, and I started to feel way better about the whole thing. The picture at the top is from the first one I made, with long parallel cuts through the fat. Honestly, they’re all parallel like that because I’d already tied up the roast with kitchen twine, and I didn’t want to do it again. I didn’t actually think to score the fat until after I had tied and brined it.







To render the fat, you have to cook it on the stove on medium to medium low heat. How much you render it depends on how much patience you possess. I’ll spend 45 minutes just on rendering the fat. The beauty of it, though, is that you don’t really need to pay that close attention to it so long as you don’t have the heat too high. Because of the large area, and curved nature of the roast, you have to render it in stages, and my experience is that it takes about 3 stages of rendering at 15 minutes per section, emptying the pan of the rendered fat occasionally. The last one I did took 2 sets of 20 minutes, since the butcher frenched the bones for me (sick bastard. . .)







Once you’ve sufficiently rendered it, the roast goes into a 350º oven until its internal temperature reaches 135ºF, basting every 15 minutes. With these roasts it takes about 1 hour. On my first attempt I added all the garlic to the pan as soon as it went into the oven, and 1 hour ended up being a touch too long, so now I add it after 15 minutes at the first baste, tossing it around in the fatty juices in the pan to coat them. The roasted garlic is so good. I recommend adding 2 or 3 bulbs worth of cloves to the pan, as in my experience there never seems to be enough to go around. We consistently fight about who will get the last few pieces!







After pulling the roast at 135º, it is essential to let it rest for a minimum of 15 minutes. The rest will redistribute the juices throughout the roast, and also bring the temperature up to approximately 145º, for medium to medium rare.







This is a wholly unforgivable plate shot of our roast from Christmas 2010, but I share it to illustrate a few things about the process. I did not render the fat long enough, and as you can see there is a great deal of actual fat left around the edge, which is fine, I guess, because there is still a whole lot of the deliciously crispy part. However, the proportions should be reversed––there should be way more crispy part! I tried to remedy this by scoring the fat in cuts closer together and on a diagonal on my next attempt. It proved to be a justified modification. However, on my third and most recent attempt, I scored it in a full-blown diamond cross-hatch, and this achieved the best results, while perhaps not being as pretty as the other variations. The fat rendered better, the crispy bits were thicker and some how more flavorfully power-packed. I recommend this approach most highly. Check the full roasting program below, and here’s to gluttony in the New Year!






Thomas Keller Pork Brine:

Combine the following in a large pot:

1/4 cup plus 2 TBLS honey
12 bay leaves
3 large rosemary sprigs
1/2 bunch thyme
1/2 cup of garlic cloves, crushed
2 TBLS black peppercorns
1 cup of kosher sale
1 gallon of cold water

Bring to boil, and let it boil for 1 minute, then allow it to cool. (This brine is also great for roast chicken, just add 2 halved lemons.) Once it’s cool, pour it over the roast in a large container and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Cooking the Roast

1 (4) rib Pork Loin Roast with substantial fat cap, ideally around 1/2″ thick
3 bulbs of garlic broken into cloves, skin left on, and lightly crushed
a few sprigs of thyme
fresh ground nutmeg
salt and pepper
1 large pat of butter

Pre-heat the oven to 375º

Remove the roast from the brine, rinse it, and pat it dry. place it in the freezer for about 30 minutes. This makes scoring the fat much easier. With a very sharp knife, score the fat in a cross-hatch pattern being careful not to cut into the flesh of the roast. Once this is done, grate a hearty amount of fresh nutmeg over the fat, and then rub it in with a tablespoon or so of thick grained salt. Next tie the roast off with butcher twine using one piece through each set of ribs. Heat a large heavy-bottomed pan on the stove over medium to medium low heat. If the heat is too high, the fat will not render, but rather it will sear it, encasing the fat within the fat! As seen in the photo above, it is necessary to use some sort of leverage to keep the roast tilted up to one side. I use a wooden spoon, but anything heat resistant will do. Once the roast is in the pan, and the fat begins to render, you will need to pour off the accumulation into a separate bowl. How you go about it is a matter of personal strength and preference. I tend to grab it through the twine with a pair of tongs and hold it over a plate, while pouring the fat into the bowl. This stage will take some time.

Once the fat is sufficiently rendered, and you find that you have a uniform, cripsy, golden crust, move the roast into the oven skin-side up, and lower the oven to 350º. After 15 minutes pull the roast and add the butter to the pan and baste it. Then, add the thyme sprigs and all of the garlic, and toss around to coat. Next, place as much of the garlic on top of the roast as space will allow, and move the roast back into the oven. Baste every 15 minutes, and check the internal temperature after 45 minutes. Allow the roast to continue cooking until it has reached an internal temperature of 135º, then pull the roast from the oven, and let it rest for at least 15 minutes. Finally, slice and serve as you see fit. I like it cut nice and thick, right through the ribs!

Categories
Bacon Cooking Uncategorized

Duck Breasteses & Brussel Sprout Hash





Someday soon I’m going to learn how to make duck breasts some other way, but this way is just so effortless, with perfect results, that a deviation from the norm just seems . . . inadvisable. I learned how to make them from the cookbook Bouchon, a book that I am an unrepentant disciple of, and highly recommend, even though I’m sure it doesn’t require any more endorsements. The duck breast technique actually requires a slight bit more prep and foresight than is displayed in this post, but it’s all really easy. Gabrielle just happened to demand meat for dinner, and so I hopped down to the butcher and picked these up on the fly. That’s why I didn’t get to finesse them like usual.







For a side, we made a brussel sprout hash with chantrelles, potatoes and bacon. This is a pretty standard, tried and true combination. And, you know how it is with brussels–you have to smother them in some kind of fat; it might as well be a combination of bacon and duck. We got loads of them in our CSA, and so we made a huge batch of this.



Below is the scene on the stovetop. This photo is from a little late in the game, but this is what it’s all about: the white bowl is to hold all the individual ingredients for the hash while the others cook—separately. You want to be able to fry, char, caramelize, and so on rapidly. Unless you want to do a bunch of separate pans, this is the way to go. To do this kind of cooking you need like killer high heat, and if you throw everything in at once, you’ll just end up with a big mushy mess. If you had a wok with one of those rapid fire furnace burners, this would all be superfluous, but whose got that at home? You need two frying pans for the duck breasts, or rather, one for each of them if you make more than two, and then a bowl between the pans for the duck fat run-off, which is actually the main reason we’re even messing around with this cut at all. Seriously, duck fat is immeasurably valuable! Something about it makes everything more amazing!







Brussel Sprout Hash:



• a gang of brussels, sliced in half
• a pile of chantrelles, roughly chopped
• a bevy of bacon; slab, cut into 1/4″ lardons and cooked off, fat reserved
• a few potatoes, 1/4″ dice
• 2 shallots, finely diced
• s&p, and maybe some cayenne and coriander if you’re so inclined.



Heat a large sauté pan up on high heat. Throw a tablespoon or so of the reserved bacon fat into the pan. Once it starts to smoke a little, throw in the shallot and potato together, season wit a little salt and pepper and other spices if you want, and let them brown up on the side they fall on before tossing them around in the pan for a minute or two, and then remove to the bowl set to the side. Repeat with the chantrelles, and then finally with the brussels. If your cooking the breasts at the same time, it’s always a good bet to throw in some duck fat instead of or in combination with the bacon fat. The brussels will take a bit longer than the other components, but once they’re browned nicely, add the other things back into the pan, stir it up, and let it ride on low until the duck is done.







Duck Breasts:



• duck breasts
• salt and pepper
• nutmeg
• thyme



Take each breast, and cut a cross hatch into the fat, being careful not to cut into flesh. This is easier when they are very cold, so try to do it as soon as you take them out of the fridge. Salt the fat side heavily with a kosher salt, or otherwise, and grate some fresh nutmeg over the top. Rub it into the grooves, flip the breast, and lightly salt, and pepper the flesh sides. Lay a whole sprig or two of thyme over the top, place on a plate and refrigerate for a couple of hours or overnight.

Take the breasts out of the fridge at least a half hour before you want to cook them. Preheat your frying pans to medium low, and your oven to 375º. Place the breasts in the pans skin side down, and cook for approximately 15 minutes, holding the breast in place and pouring off the rendered fat from time to time. The fat will crisp up and will become irresistible. At this point you can transfer them all to one pan if they’ll fit, and cook them flesh side down for a minute or two before transferring them to the oven for an additional 5 to 10 minutes. Duck can be cooked to the same degree as steak, and therefore rare is fine, but I’ve found medium to medium rare to be more appetizing. However, DO NOT OVERCOOK them. The same rules as steak do indeed apply in this regard. Represent what? My Duck:







Categories
Cooking Uncategorized

Quiche, God!





Truthfully, I never intended to do a quiche post. Based mainly on the outrageous boujieness inherent in a 2″ tall custard pie, I thought it might alienate some of my lower-brow readers, back when I might of had any. So, up until now, I’ve stuck to crass humor, and meat, mainly, but now I’m crossing over. I think I can faithfully say that there must be only like three of you out there, and I know that at least one of you is closet-boujie, so that is decent enough odds to slip in a post about a towering quiche before I trudge on and fight to regain any semblance of blog-fame that I may have had and lost. I’m still keeping it real, though! Behind the scenes. I made the shell in my draws on a Saturday, and assembled the custard and monitored the baking with a crushing hang-over on Sunday. I could prove it, but I won’t.



Admittedly, this quiche has been represented in blog-form before, but with an alarmingly low success rate. It is the quiche that you may have heard about: The Thomas Keller Quiche from his cookbook Bouchon, and the Food & Wine article Over-the-Top Mushroom Quiche. They are one in the same. The problem that it seems a good deal of other bloggers have had at successfully making this quiche stems, I believe, from the lack of concrete detailed instruction that you find in the cookbook, but is largely glossed over in the article. That is, most folks try and make it from the articles recipe. The thing that pains me most about this situation is that this quiche is The Greatest Quiche of All-Time. And I mean it. Anybody want a peanut?

The true catalyst for the presentation of this post, however, is due in large part to my having finally found a 9″ bottomless ring-mold. Whereas I used to suffer through the indignities of using a spring-form pan, indeed a lesser instrument in the quiche production process, the ring-mold freed me from those bonds, allowing for a far greater degree of dough management, technique, and over-all handling. It has proved truly essential, even after only one quiche. In the following I will discuss in detail how to make the dough and the custard, a sightly modified version from the one in Bouchon, and try to explain the mistakes I have made in the past with this quiche, and how they can be avoided. It is a lot more work than pouring a bit of whipped egg into a frozen pie-shell, but come on, name one occasion when that bit of slice has incited you to stop and recount the important things in life. Like boujie quiche.







Quiche is a staple of the “French Bistro” menu, and as such follows the axiom of creating something lush and decadent from simple, unassuming ingredients. The shell is made from butter, flour, salt, and water. These four cooking staples come together to form a secure vessel, a strong wall, containing an absurd amount of eggs and cream. Getting this part right is essential to the success of the quiche. If there is a hole or a crack anywhere, you can count on a disaster. So, this is the stage in which it is important to take your time, and to not rush through. It requires a Kitchen Aid stand-mixer or similar. The measurements are as follows:



• 2 cups flour, seperated
• 1 tsp. kosher salt
• 8 oz (2 sticks) cold butter, in 1/4″ pieces
• 1/4 cup of ice water



Begin by adding one cup of the flour, and the teaspoon of salt to the mixer bowl with the paddle attachment, and on low speed, add the butter a few pieces at a time, slowly. Once it is all in there, up the speed to medium, and mix until the butter is incorporated into the flour. Then, lower the speed, and add the remaining flour, mixing just until combined. Finally, add the water, and mix until the dough shows no sign of butter pieces, and comes around the paddle. The dough should me smooth to the touch; not sticky or otherwise unsightly.







The above photo shows the difference between dough that has been adequately mixed vs. dough that could use a few more turns in the mixer. (Click on the picture for a closer view.) The picture of the dough on the left has marbleized areas where the butter hasn’t been fully integrated into the flour. There absolutely must be a complete unadulterated marriage of the two! This, in my opinion, is one of the greatest causes of quiche failure. Whilst the shell is baking, these area’s create nearly undetectable chinks in the bulwark. Avoid these at all costs! A bit of over-mixing is far less hazardous than under-mixing.



Once you are positive that your dough is sufficiently mixed, the next step is to form it into a 7 or 8″ disc, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate it for at least an hour, but I recommend over night. Firstly, you want the dough to be as cold as possible (without being frozen) while working with it from here on out, and the dough must rest. I’m not a scientist, so I don’t know why it needs to on a molecular level, but the word is that resting it prevents the dough from shrinking when you bake it. Secondly, it’s just less stressful to stretch recipes like this one out over a couple of days. That way your not waiting around for an hour to pick it up again; you can just get on with your day. This stage should only take about 20 minutes.



Once the round of dough has been adequately refrigerated, it is time to roll it out and fit it in to the ring mold. As I mentioned above, I found a bottomless mold (which is actually 3″ deep as opposed to the recommended 2″), and I used that for the quiche in this post. But in the past I did rely on a 9″ spring-form pan. However, instead of using only the ring part, as the F&W article suggests, I would keep the whole unit intact. I made one quiche without the bottom, and it was a real pain in the butt, because of the way the spring-form slides back and forth. You know what I mean if you have one. So I would leave it together. The quiche is pretty solid once it is finished, and you can carefully lift it out if you take like a foot and a half of parchment paper, folded into a 2-3″ strip, and lay it into the pan beneath the dough. You can also do this with any other kind of cake pan, but spring-form’s tend to have the desired depth. That just makes it easier, you can still easily get it out without that addition. Also, in the unfortunate circumstance of a leak, having a closed bottom will actually save you from losing all of the custard, producing, at worst a section of over-cooked egg crust in the leaky area. One other item that makes this stage of the shell a bit more arduous is the call to rub the ring down with canola oil. Skip that. It serves virtually no purpose other than to make things more slippery, and thus more difficult. The dough is half butter. It’s not sticking to anything.







• Preheat the Oven to 375º, with the oven rack in the middle position



OK. With the dough round on a floured work surface, and with a floured rolling pin, begin rolling the dough out, turning it at a 90º angle after a every few passes with the pin. Continue rolling until you’ve reached a diameter of about 15″, keeping the dough as circular as possible. Once you’ve got it, take your rolling pin, and roll the dough onto it, like if you were rolling up a poster or something. Then, eyeball where you think the center of the dough will end up, and unroll it over the top of your ring-mold. If you have a bottomless one, the ring mold should be placed of a piece of parchment paper. Gently, but expediently work the dough into the mold, being careful not to tear it. Work it into all of the corners, and up the side walls. There will be some over-lapping with the dough, which is fine; just work till it is as uniform as possible. There should be a decent amount of dough hanging over the edges of your mold. If you do get a crack or a tear, break off a piece and work it into the crack trying your best to fully smooth it over and work it in. Remove any dough in excess of an inch that is hanging over the edge of the ring-mold, and reserve in the fridge in case of any holes forming as it bakes.







Once you are satisfied, return the shell to the refrigerator for 20 minutes in order to re-solidify the dough. Afterwards, take a sheet of parchment paper large enough to cover the entire surface of the inside of the shell, and form it to fit in over the dough. Fill the shell with beans. Any kind will do, even rice, but you want a lot of them. You want to fill the shell all the way to the brim with beans. This will greatly reduce the chance of the shell shrinking, as the beans serve to hold it securely in place during the baking process, so the more the merrier. I know have a 3lb jar of garbanzo beans set aside specifically for making quiche shells. Who doesn’t need that in their kitchen?



Once you’ve filled your shell with this massive amount of beans, into the oven it goes, for 35 to 45 minutes. Then the beans are removed, and it is baked for any addition 15-20 minutes in order to brown up the bottom a bit. After the removal of the beans and you send the shell back into the furnace, give a careful inspection to make sure that, heaven forbid, no holes have formed, and if so patch them with the reserved dough.







While the shell is baking is a good time to pull together all of the ingredients that you plane on including in your quiche. This go round, I chose Swiss Chard, Caramelized Onions and Emmentaler, a fancy cheese. No matter what vegetables you chose to use, they should be cooked until tender, and made to be as dry as possible, without, obviously, being dried out. For chard, or any other leafy green, chop it up and sauté with olive oil, diced shallot, and salt and pepper. Allow it to cool, then place into a kitchen towel, and twist the greens into a head, thereby extracting the liquid. Once this is down, chop it up a bit more. I used about a lb, and I could have easily used twice that, but it was all I had in my CSA box at the time, and I couldn’t be buggered to make a trip to the market for another bunch of chard.







Of the sheer versatility of the mighty onion, I must say that caramelization is the tops! So rich and delicious, caramelized onions work as an addition to almost anything. Slice an onion into medium thin half-moons. Heat a skillet on medium high heat, add a bit of canola, a dash of olive oil, and a pinch of sugar. Add then onion and toss it around for am minute to get it all heated up a bit, and to break up the slices. then turn the heat down to low, and just let the heat and the onion do its thang. Stir the onions up a every now and then.







For this stage you will need a blender. The ingredients you will need for the custard are as follows:



• 2 cups of milk
• 2 cups of heavy cream
• 8 eggs (my version differs from the Keller version, which calls for 6) at Room Temp.
• 1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt
• 1/4 ts fresh ground White pepper
• 6 gratings of fresh nutmeg



•reduce the oven temperature to 325º



Right, so I use 2 more eggs, and I have ever since my second attempt with this quiche, because my first attempt curdled a bit in places (which I now think was due to the mushrooms I made the first time being too oily, but. . .) and it was otherwise just a bit to precarious a texture for me. After I upped the egg level, everything that I would consider wrong with my first go round was eliminated, so I’ve never gone back, and I stand by this revision. Anyway, it’s up to you how you will proceed in regards to the egg count.







To begin the custard, combine the milk and heavy cream in a saucepan on medium heat, whisking the liquid a great deal as it heats up. (You do this in order to help the custard set as fast as possible once it goes into the oven; the same reason why we want the eggs at room temperature.) Meanwhile, separate the other ingredients into individual bowls: 4 eggs, 1 1/2 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp ground white pepper, and three gratings of nutmeg. Grate a cup of cheese, preferably through a microplane, you don’t want the shreds to thick otherwise they might not melt. Transfer tthe milk/cream mixture to a large pyrex measuring cup or similar. Finally, prep whatever else you want to go into the quiche, and have it ready to use. You want everything ready to go, so that you can go through the assembly process efficiently.

For assembly, begin by adding a layer of chard, onions and cheese (or whatever) to the bottom of the shell. Move to the blender, and add 1 bowl of the eggs/salt/pepper/nutmeg and begin to blend on low. Add two cups of the milk to blender, and then up the speed to it’s highest level, and allow it to blend for a minute or two, allowing it to really aerate. Then pour the mixture over the ingredients in the quiche shell. Prepare the other half of the custard ingredients in the same manner. Meanwhile, add the remainder of your filling to the quiche shell, while the custard blends. When you add the second stage of custard to the shell, it will come right up to the brim, so it is recommended to move the quiche to the oven rack before pouring it into the shell. It all should just fit into the shell. Once you’ve added it, gently slide the oven rack into the oven, and bake for 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours. Once it is finished, allow it to cool to room temperature, and then cut off the over-hanging crust from around the edges. Then refrigerate until it is thoroughly chilled. The book says a day, but I reckon a number of hours would do. If you use a bottomless ring you can simple lift it off after you have removed the extraneous crust. If you made it in the spring-form or a cake pan, I highly recommend waiting to remove it room the pan until after it has chilled as it will be much sturdier.







To serve: pre-heat your oven or toaster oven to 375º. Cut a slice off and heat for 15 minutes. Or, just eat it cold. I think quiche is great cold!

Thus ends a very long quiche post. If you’ve made it this far, I commend you, but I just had to get this off my chest. If you decide to give it a shot let me know! It will probably be easier to follow the cookbook or the Food & Wine version of the recipe, but hopefully, my descriptions and recommendations will be helpful. This is just such a fantastic food, and it gets easier, and easier each time you try it.



Quiche Redux for Anger Burger: Chanterelles and Farmhouse Cheddar, made with 6 eggs:







Spinach, Scallions, and Goat Cheese: 6 eggs







Categories
Uncategorized

Roast Chicken

ChickenSkin

    Pre-heat oven to 450.
    Rinse chicken, then dry it off, including the cavity.
    Heavily salt the cavity.
    Truss the Chicken!
    Hit it with some salt, pepper, and cayenne.
    Place the chicken on a rack in a roasting pan and insert into oven.
    Roast until the internal temperature of the thight reaches 155º, about an hour.
    Remove from oven.
    Take some chopped up thyme and throw it in the grease in the roasting pan.
    Baste.
    Allow to rest for at least 10 minutes.
    Carve that bird up and eat it!
Categories
Cooking My Favorite Sandwiches Photography Uncategorized

Croque Madame

croquemadame1



The Croque Madame is a decadent, luxurious sandwich which I learned about in Thomas Keller’s cookbook Bouchon. This is indeed the preparation from that book. This sandwich is a grilled ham and cheese, with a fried egg on top, and smothered in Mornay sauce. Mornay is a basic traditional white sauce from French cuisine called a Béchamel with shredded cheese added to it—-essentially it’s a boojey alfredo sauce. Croque Madames are an addiction for me, and every time the urge strikes me to make them I simply go into auto-pilot and let the madness take over. I was inspired to make them this time during the course of our first visit to the Portland Farmer’s Market, where I came across a vender selling farm fresh eggs with his son, promoted as being no more than 4 days old. Now, I’m no egg expert, but that’s a fresh egg! I have read that eggs in the supermarket can be up to a month old before they are even put on the shelf, and those are mainly the eggs I use, because, well, they’re cheap! So I know about supermarket eggs: pale yellow yolks, and watery whites. These eggs from the farmer’s market were a different story with vibrant, deep orange yolks, and wholesome, substantial whites. The difference was palpable in every way, and it has to do with many more factors than shelf-life, but this is meant to be a post about a sandwich, so moving on. . . .



The Mornay Sauce



miseenplace
click on picture for weights and measurements



To make the Mornay Sauce you will need the following ingrediants: milk, heavy cream, onion, flour, whole cloves, peppercorns, nutmeg, white pepper, a bayleaf, salt, and Comte cheese or a similar variety.



mornay1 To begin, melt the butter over medium heat in a large, heavy bottomed saucepan set on a diffuser. This is to prevent scorching. I don’t have a diffuser, so I set the saucepan over a second, larger pan.



Once the butter has melted, add the diced onion and cook until almost translucent, about 2 to 3 minutes, being careful not to fry them.



Next, slowly sprinkle in the flour, stirring continuously to avoid burning, cook for about 3 minutes longer on low heat. This is called a ‘Roux’.



Up the heat and slowly add the milk and heavy cream, whisking constantly, and bring to a simmer. Once the sauce begins to simmer lower the heat, throw in the bay leaf, peppercorns, and cloves and allow to cook for 30 to 40 minutes, or until it reduces to a rich, creamy consistency. Move the saucepan around on the diffuser occasionally to prevent any scorching. If it does begin to scorch, transfer the sauce to a different saucepan, and continue to simmer.



mornay2Once the sauce has reduced to the desired consistency, remove from the heat and add a few gratings of nutmeg, a pinch of white pepper, and salt to taste.



Stir it up, and then strain it into a separate container large enough to hold at least 4 cups.



Finally, throw the cheese in and stir it up again, really well this time, so the cheese melts and distributes evenly.



And there you have it: Mornay Sauce!!






Putting It All Together: The Grilled Ham and Cheese and the Fried Egg



eggs



The cookbook calls for Brioche bread, boiled ham, and swiss cheese to make the sandwich, but realistically you could use any combination of similar items, and it would still be good. I’m pretty sure most every one knows how to prepare a grilled cheese sandwich, and fry an egg, but I’m going to do the rundown on how they do it at Bouchon, because that’s how I do it every time at home.

Here goes: Preheat oven to 375º. Heat a large skillet and a small non-stick frying an on the stovetop. Butter 2 slices of Brioche, place butter side down in the skillet, and layer as much or as little ham on the slices as you desire, then top with cheese. Once the bread has evenly browned to a golden crisp, place the whole pan in the oven and bake until the ham is thoroughly warmed and the cheese is melted. Next butter the fry pan and crack the egg. Cook until the white has set, and the egg can slide around freely, then place the pan in the oven to finish cooking off the top of the white. The two should finish in the oven at about the same time. And that’s how they do it at Bouchon. I don’t know anyone else who’s doing it this way. I do it because they charge 17 dollars for this sandwich, and I want the full effect!



All that remains is assembly. Plate one half of the sandwich, and then flip the other half on top of that, top it with the fried egg, and cover it with the Mornay sauce, leaving the yolk exposed (obviously!) Finish it off with some fresh ground pepper and some parsley, and you’re good to go. I think Owen Lightly over at Butter on the Endive said it best when he called this a “fork and knife” sandwich. It is indeed. Dig in!!



brokemadame