Thursday, October 21, 2010

My Perfect Breakfast

Until I met Hugh, breakfast was my favorite meal of the day. In college, my sorority served Hot Breakfast on Thursdays. The other days of the week we had cold cereal, yogurt, and fruit. But on Thursdays, glorious Thursdays, there was pancakes, scrambled eggs, biscuits, gravy, bacon - it was the happiest day of my week. My favorite friend, Sarah, can attest to the fact that this was the only day I would drag my ass out of bed and make it to my early class.

Then I met Hugh and I realized the beauty of dinners cooked together in our kitchen at the end of the day, or multiple-course lingering nights out at restaurants, or Saturday lunch dates when we had nowhere to go and nothing to do. And breakfast, well, it faded from its spot as the best of the day's meals.

Weekday breakfasts are a quick attempt at starting the day off on a healthful note - smoothies, cereal, maybe an English muffin. Weekend breakfasts are usually an afterthought, something to tide us over until we can go out for lunch - grits, cheese toast, a slice of cold pizza. Or, rarely, they are a brunch affair when we have company in town (or when I wake up feeling domestic) - waffles, french toast casserole, baked eggs, pancakes, or the perfect bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich (world's best hangover remedy, btw). Tasty and they get the job done, but breakfast is no lunch or dinner.

However, I do have a perfect breakfast. It's one that's easy enough to warrant making even if Hugh isn't in the mood to eat. It's substantial enough to sate me until lunch but light enough that I don't feel like the day has been blown before I even make it to noon.

It's a runny-yolked egg and a hunk of toasted sourdough bread. This is where I want to say something clever about the simplest things being the most perfect, but nothing is jumping to mind. Shoot.

Until recently, the egg has been soft-boiled. But for an easy breakfast, I find these to be kind of tedious with the peeling of the shell and all. So a few Saturdays ago I tried my hand at the poached egg, and now I'm kicking myself for waiting so long to drop a cracked egg in some simmering water. Perfection:

Perfectly Poached Egg Breakfast

Large egg(s) (the fresher it is, the prettier it will look)
2 tablespoons white vinegar (this keeps the yolks from spreading)
1 teaspoon salt

Fresh cracked black pepper

3" piece sourdough baguette, halved and toasted for 3 - 4 minutes in a 350° oven

Heat 2 1/2" water to a gentle simmer in a wide-bottom saucepan. Add vinegar and salt.

Crack egg(s) into individual ramekins or teacups. Gently pour egg(s) into simmering water with ramekin as close to the surface of the water as possible. The more gently you add the egg(s), the less the white will spread. Cook three minutes, or until the white is set and the yolk is still runny. Remove carefully with a slotted spoon. Drain briefly on a paper towel. Plate and top with black pepper to test.

Serve with sourdough toast for sopping.

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