Monday, March 9, 2009

The Beauty of Fried Egg Soup

David Tanis’s new cookbook, A Platter of Figs, has been called “a gem”, “inspired” and “one of best cookbooks of the year”. I agree, and although I have only cooked a couple dishes from it, I’ve been swayed by the beautiful matte photography of its simple ingredients and the inventiveness of the carefully planned meals. In fact, I have often curled up with the book, fantasizing about all of the amazing meals I will prepare over the year.

The recipe I have enjoyed the most so far is for a soup. I have a particular weakness for the velvety soups that taste like the elixir of the gods—like those ingeniously made at Gramercy Tavern in NYC and 10 01 in Portland. Sadly at home, no matter how much cream I seem to add, or how crazy I get with my emulsion blender, I just can’t seem to recreate that velvety, creamy goodness. Therefore, my house winds up quite….soupless.

But recently, when flipping through the spring section of Platter of Figs, I became enchanted with the idea of doing the “Salmon on my Mind” meal with fried egg soup, roasted salmon with Vietnamese cucumbers, and rose scented strawberries. I was particularly curious about the “fried egg soup.” Generally, anything with ginger and garlic catches my attention, and I am very fond of cooking eggs in sauces and broths. This soup could not be simpler. You fry the eggs ahead of time, so it is a great dish for company, and you can also have the broth simmering and ready to go. If you are really inspired and make a great broth from scratch, the soup will be even better. I am one of those cooks who has never really kept homemade stock in the freezer, but even if you use prepared stock (I used Pacifica chicken broth), it will still be great.

This is also the perfect meal for one if you happen to be having dinner on your own. I think it going to be ideal for variations—as soon as the summer basil crop comes in, I am going to take out the ginger and bok choy, and add some pesto and zucchini instead. I will be soupless no more!

Fried Egg Soup

- serves 4 -

Adapted from A Platter of Figs by David Tanis.


4 eggs
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
6 cups chicken stock
2 bunches green garlic shoots or 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 half-inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced bok choy or baby spinach
4 scallions, slivered

1. Bring the stock to a simmer in a soup pot, then add the garlic and ginger. Simmer for about five minutes, then check for seasoning. Salt and pepper as needed.

2. In the meantime, heat the olive oil in a skillet and fry the eggs gently until the white is set but the yolk is still a bit runny. Season generously with salt and pepper. The eggs can be fried ahead of serving.

3. Add the spinach or bok choy to the broth and simmer for an additional minute. Ladle into shallow bowls, and top each with a fried egg.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Pomegranate-Glazed Roast Pork

I know that January is a time for resolutions, most of them generally involving promises of living healthier and indulging less in meat, alcohol and the like, but I have been wanting to blog about this recipe for some time. This recipe for one of the most delicious roasts I have ever eaten would have been perfect for December, but for most of the month, I was deep in a snow and ice driven funk after our romantic, white Christmas in Portland weather went on for two weeks and hindered my travel plans.

I have a predilection for anything tart and this recipe is no different. It is slathered in a simple mixture of pomegranate molasses, dry mustard, and maple syrup, which results in the most amazing balance of the savory with the sweet. I notice that I use that expression quite a bit, and I must say that this combination is the driving force behind most of the foods that I love. Over time, I have even noticed (get ready for it) a waning love for anything overly sweet, which includes most of my former favorite desserts (from cookies and cakes to my nightly ice cream). Now, don’t get me wrong, I still have a fondness for those desserts, but now often when eating something sweet I am searching for balance. You may not have pomegranate molasses in your pantry, but after trying this you will probably want to add it to everything from fish and chicken to vegetables and dips—it is beautifully tart and acidic, and again, not too sweet. I was able to find my bottle at my local Whole Foods, but they should also have it at Middle Eastern markets.

I first made this roast for my father’s surprise birthday party last year. My mom, the genius that she is, surprised him with a trip to Savannah, Georgia, where his entire family was waiting for him in the most beautiful gothic townhouse. Deciding to go with a new recipe was a risk but it certainly paid off. It was perfect with a creamy potato gratin, and if you do decide to serve it with the gratin, be sure to dip the potatoes in the pomegranate pork jus. The roast could not be simpler and once you try it, I predict you will want to make it for someone special. It might even inspire you to throw a surprise party of your own.

Pomegranate-Glazed Roast Pork

Adapted from Food and Wine
1/2 cup pomegranate molasses
1 1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon dry mustard
2 teaspoons chopped rosemary
One 5 1/2-pound pork rib roast, at room temperature
2 tablespoons canola oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1. Mix the molasses, maple syrup, garlic, dry mustard and rosemary to make a glaze. Rub the pork with the oil, season with salt and pepper, and roast in a 500° oven for 25 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375° and roast for 20 minutes. Brush the roast with the glaze and cook for 25 minutes or until the center reaches 155°; brush with glaze again 10 minutes before it's done. Let the roast stand for 15 minutes, then carve and serve with the pan juices mixed with the remaining glaze.