OEUF À LA COQUE
M.F.K. Fisher’s book HOW TO COOK A WOLF pays homage to the philosophy of taking simple ingredients and transforming them into culinary splendor. There is nothing simpler, and nothing more delicate and delicious than a perfectly cooked soft-boiled egg, accompanied by mouillettes, slender slivers of toasted, buttered bread.
First you must buy the your eggs. In Paris when you shop for eggs they ask, “what are you using them for ? “. ” If you’re baking these eggs, a couple of days old would be perfect. Soft boiled eggs? Then only these will do, barely a day old. Tres Bien.”
We are so fortunate living in the country. Our eggs come from Home Farm down the road. On delivery day we always have soft-boiled eggs. Eggs that are literally hours old are exquisite. The flavour is just a whisper of egg and the whites are tender beyond belief. Simple pleasures indeed.
Gently put your very fresh eggs into a saucepan and cover with cold water. Use just enough water to cover your eggs. Add a pinch of salt and a drop or two of vinegar to the water. Bring the eggs to a boil, uncovered. Remove the saucepan from the heat, cover, and time for three minutes. Four minutes if you want your eggs to be a less runny. Drain off the hot water and run cold water over the eggs for a few minutes. This stops the cooking. If you follow these instructions to the letter you will ALWAYS have perfect soft-boiled eggs.
Remove the egg from the water and place it in an egg cup. Put the wider part of the egg facing up because there is a little pocket of air at that end which makes it easier to cut into.
To prepare the mouilettes, toast slabs of country bread, or heat a baguette. When toasted, cut into spears about 4 to 6 inches long. Butter the mouilettes. Use salted butter.
Using a spoon, tap around a small circle on top of the egg to break the shell. Lift off the cap to reveal the delicate golden yolk. Using mouilettes, dip into the egg yolk and enjoy! Finish off remainder of egg with a spoon if necessary.