While I was visiting Orangette's site looking for her Chewy Cocoa cookie recipe, I found her post on the power of a poached egg, one of the most perfect foods. It reminded me of the time I went to a quasi-Jewish deli here in Brookline. Zaftigs is the name and if you know any Yiddish you will know this is the word for "Ruben-esque" or "pleasingly plump." A great name for a deli, no?
Here's your freebie Yiddish word of the day: Fresser.
It's the opposite of Nosher. A nosh is a snack. A fresser ends up zaftig. Okay, lesson over.
Now, back to our beautiful eggs.
I was in Zaftigs with some friends and noticing on the menu that they had a salad that was almost the classic French salad with frisee and lardons. Curly endive has a nice bitter little bite and the lardons are chunky bacon-ish bites. Almost, because it was missing a particular ingredient, the egg. Traditionally this salad is served with a poached egg on top. The yolk runs and essentially emulsifies the dressing much in the way it would if you prepared the salad dressing in the bowl with a yolk. Rich creamy dressing, salty bacony bits, bitter greens. It's a wonderful meal.
The untraveled shiksa server was, at first, horrified at my request. She calmed herself by determining that she must have misunderstood my request. "Oh! You want your salad first, then you want poached eggs?"
"No, I'd like this frisee salad, with a single poached egg, on top."
"On a Salad!? We can't do that."
"But you serve breakfast all day. You have eggs, yes?"
"So if I ordered a poached egg, and let's just pretend I didn't order a salad, you could bring me an egg, right?"
"Yes, but you want to put....."
"And, you serve salads with hard boiled eggs, right?"
"So, here's what you do. Order the frisee salad for me. Pretend the poached egg is for someone else or pretend I didn't order a salad and bring me the poached egg on the side. I'll save you the trouble of sliding it off the saucer onto the top of my salad." [does this remind you of that Jack Nicholson scene with the chicken sandwich?]
She was horrified and very upset I refused to relent. I attempted to calm her by telling her millions of people eat this salad all the time and that people who make salad dressing from scratch as I do, will often begin with an egg yolk as an emulsifier.
The girl had clearly never enjoyed salad dressing that didn't come from a bottle.
So what happened? You might have guessed. I got my salad. Later, I received a slightly cold, too-hard egg on the side. Oy vey, mon cherie. Oy vey.
And now, about those cookies:
I saw Orangette's beautiful chocolate cookie recipe somewhere and decided I had to make it. Of course, in homage to her and to my ever-curious taste buds, I had to add some orange flower water. In place of the yogurt, crème fraîche.
This might be my new favorite cookie recipe. Vosges Chocolate makes "drinkable chocolates" including the Aztec flavor that are perfect in these cookies, too. Check out this recipe on Spongefish that I posted tonight. I particularly like that the recipe makes a fairly small batch. Perfect to zip up in a nice cello bag for your next hostess gift or open house. If they make it that long. Ours did not.