Warm, golden yolk on top- love or hate?
My first yolk served as a ‘sauce’ rather than a breakfast dish unto itself was in a rustic Andalusian restaurant in the early 2000’s. It was a cold and rainy night, so I ordered warm lentils with crispy chorizo. The brown, steaming dish arrived crowned with a beautiful white sphere topped with bits of cracked black pepper. I sliced through the wobbly mass, brow admittedly furrowed. Now this was pre molten-chocolate cake trend – I didn’t know the culinary joy of a gentle knife puncture followed by lava flow. The yolk escaped and wove its way through the landscape, coating the savoury lentils and chorizo in a smooth golden sauce. I loved it.
After the egg/lentil epiphany I started paying closer attention to eggs as ‘garnish’. It was a little embarrassing – it’s been happening in cuisines all over the world, forever. Eggs add texture, flavour, colour and protein to dishes, from pizza to gyudon, grits or greens. But the tradition isn’t for everyone. A few weeks ago I had dinner with friends at Workshop in Palm Springs. The evening was a mix of incredible textures and flavours, all shared by happy, carefree, ecstatic women. We ordered many small plates, but one plate (details I admit a bit of a blur, perhaps warm, garlicky mustard greens with crunchy chilli breadcrumbs? ) was served topped with a perfectly soft poached quail egg. I immediately thought two things: 1. it’s so hard to perfectly poach a tiny quail egg, how gorgeous. 2. I can’t wait to eat that. They thought: ew.
Why is a runny yolk served juxtaposed on a dish gross to one yet velvety deliciousness to another?
That is the question.
Photo – coarse grits, pulled pork, poached egg, old cheddar and cholua – courtesy of ediblearia.com