Sunday, March 11, 2012

Vegetarian "Chicken" + Waffles

This idea was born out of the Truffled Scotch Egg Chef Andrew Adams and I concocted and served at the Farmer Mixer. He, in all of his culinary awesomeness and food magic,  showed the wife and I how to deep-fry an egg without overcooking the center. His method is incredible and yielded a perfect egg: crispy on the outside with a slightly set yolk. It was the hit of the evening.

I wanted to figure to how to get the same result at home, but I don't have an immersion circulator or an industrial fryer (or an incredible kitchen staff full of talented chefs, for that matter). I tried soft boiling the egg and then tossing it in the flour mixture, but I kept breaking the yolk. It was a mess; we ate it anyway.

Then I figured out how to poach the egg with the flour mixture already in place. That's the ticket. It works every time. Plus, it's super easy.

The crispy egg spiked with the kinds of seasoning you'd normally find in fried chicken plus a little truffle salt makes a really special version of this soul food classic. 

Vegetarian "Chicken" + Waffles

1/4 teaspoon black truffle salt
1/2 teaspoon dried sage

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs

4 12 x 12 inch squares microwave-safe plastic wrap
4 large eggs 
4 four-inch pieces of kitchen twine
canola oil for frying
4 Belgian waffles (freshly made -- or frozen like Van's)
1/2 cup warm maple syrup
1/8 cup parsley for garnish
Maldon sea salt and cracked black pepper (to taste)

In a saucepan over medium heat, bring a pot of water at least three-and-a-half inches deep to a simmer. In a small bowl, mix together the truffle salt, sage, thyme, garlic powder, pepper, flour, and panko breadcrumbs. 

Now lay the four sheets of plastic wrap flat on your work surface. Scatter 2 tablespoons of the spiced flour in a single layer over the center five inches of each plastic wrap sheet. Crack one egg on the center of each. Gather the corners of the plastic wrap. Place the corners into one hand. With the other hand, grab the egg bundle and twist while being sure to push out any air. Tie the twisted portion with the string. Repeat for each. It looks like this:

Prepare an ice bath in a medium bowl. Place egg bundles into the simmering water for five to seven minutes. At five minutes, the white will be set, but the yolk will still by very runny. (If you leave it in for seven minutes, the yolk will be more set if that's how you generally like your eggs.) At the end of five to seven minutes, remove egg bundles and place them in an ice bath while they're still wrapped in the plastic.

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring canola oil up to 350 degrees. The oil should be at least two-and-a-half inches deep in the pan. Using your kitchen shears, snip the plastic just below where it was tied. Carefully unwrap the egg. Using a slotted spoon, lower the egg into the oil for a total of one minute or until it's golden brown.

To serve, place one egg atop a warm waffle. Garnish with parsley, salt, and pepper, plus a drizzle of maple syrup. 

If you're serving this to friends or at a dinner party, you can do all the steps up to the frying beforehand. Then when your guests are hungry, dinner can come together really quickly.


tender b. said...

I've never seen anything like that egg. I'm amazed.

Sara said...

That's super genius!

Jennifer said...

Delurking to say this looks amazing!

Joseph said...

Not only does it look amazing but this worked beautifully. Mine look very much like the one in the picture. I have to work on my wrapping technique but I was blown away. Thank you!

Geoffrey Ehrlich said...

What kind of plastic wrap do you use or suggest?

The Chubby Vegetarian said...

We use 365 brand, no PVC or BPA, from Whole Foods!