The Food and Wine Hedonist

leave your inhibitions at the door

The Besh Fried Eggs

Age and location have caught up to me.

In November I recently turned forty-cough-cough-cough and it also marked the 10-year anniversary of us moving to the flaming liberal, pinko, hippie college town of Ann Arbor, Michigan.   That combination has resulted in me doing something I always vowed I wouldn’t do.

I listen to NPR.

We’re talking full-on, memorized schedule, two radio presets, NPR listener.   But – and may Ira Glass strike me down if I’m lying – I still haven’t gotten so bad as to listen to “A Prairie Home Companion.”

 

"Dude, when I want to bench press 350, I bust out the Garrison Keillor and crank it up." - Said no one. Ever. (orlandosentinel.com)

from orlandosentinel.com

 

Sorry, Garrison.   Maybe in about 40 more years I’ll come to appreciate your brand of “entertainment.” Maybe.

Not too long ago, I tuned in to hear an interview with the great chef John Besh.    For those of you unfamiliar with him, he’s a former Marine who owns several top restaurants in New Orleans and other parts of Louisiana.   Probably more remarkable is the charitable work he’s done to help the city, area farmers, and aspiring chefs.

Even better? Check out the glorious hair…

 

johnbesh wbrzcom

wbrz.com

ANYWAY….

He was talking about his method of making fried eggs.   Simple enough, but the way he was talking about using good quality eggs and making them in the purest form possible to highlight the flavors and textures made me pull the car over and start gnawing on the steering wheel.

I had to try it.

I usually make fried eggs the same way that 99.99% of the cooking population not named “John Besh” does – heat up a pan, throw in some butter or oil, crack the egg.    Sometimes I add a little water and cover the pan so the steam cooks the tops.    Mostly, with a flick of the wrist I flip them for over-easy.     Whichever way you do it is fine and is convenient as all heck.   But you gotta try his method.

 

About the eggs…

Before we get into the cooking technique, a word about the eggs. In the interview, Besh was raving about eggs that were from a local farm.   He knew the breeds of chickens used and the resulting flavor profiles of the eggs.   I usually try to get mine from the Amish dudes at the Farmers Market and those guys creep me out too much for me to ask about the breeds.   I do know that their eggs are super fresh, have a lot of flavor, and have robust yolks.

Even better than those are the ones our hippie cleaning lady gives us. She has a bunch of chickens and the eggs just came out of said chickens earlier that morning.   Now THAT’S fresh.   She doesn’t wash the eggs and says they can be stored at room temperature for weeks.   Once they’re washed, however, they need to go in the fridge. I really don’t understand the logic behind it, because those shells are covered with all kinds of nasty fluids and dirt and can’t imagine how they keep the egg fresh.

besh raw eggs

 

See what I mean? I’m also unsure about her claim that they can sit at room temperature for weeks. I shudder at the thought of those caked-up shells on my counter for that long.   Of course, it probably doest matter as  eggs don’t go uneaten around here for more than a day or two.

Chances are you don’t have a hippie or Amish dude to hook you up with fresh eggs. No worries, I’ve tried his method with regular eggs and it still works.

 

On to the technique…

Contrary to what you hear about using a warmed pan and melted butter, it’s important that the pan should NOT be preheated.  He starts with a cool non-stick pan (I use my trusty cast iron skillets) and spreads some cold butter on it. Then add the egg and season with a pinch of sea salt.

besh eggs 1

 

Start off by turning on the heat to medium-low.

From there the goal is to cook the egg as gently and slowly as possible to prevent caramelizing the egg.   He said that the browning that results from regular frying distracts from the pure flavor of the egg.  OK, Besh, I’m all in.

 

As the pan heats up, the whites start to turn opaque and the yolk may get a little bubble or two inside of it.

This is after 2-3 minutes

This is after 2-3 minutes

 

Once it starts to set, turn the heat all the way down to the lowest setting and continue to cook until the yolk is warmed through.

He wasn’t really clear on how you can tell when the egg is done – he just said the yolk would be warmer to the touch.   I suppose this could be problematic as every restaurant menu I’ve seen has a warning about undercooked eggs.     I’m sure the government has our best interests in mind, but undercooked eggs personally do not bother me.  After decades of shady burrito abuse, my stomach can take handle anything.

Let’s just say “whenever you think the egg is done,” slide it on to a plate and enjoy.

besh eggs cooked

 

While I actually like the caramelized parts of normal fried eggs, I can really appreciate the creaminess of the egg whites here.   But it’s the yolks that really benefit from this method – so velvety and rich.   They were otherworldly.

This has become my go-to method when I have the time for it.   The whole process can take close to ten minutes, so patience is the word of the day.

So worth it.

 

How do you like your eggs?

 

 

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About thefoodandwinehedonist

I don't know everything about the world of food and wine, but I'm not going to let a small detail like that stop me from blogging about it.

12 comments on “The Besh Fried Eggs

  1. smilecirculation
    January 13, 2016

    Reblogged this on Smile Circulation and commented:
    What looks simple isn’t always easy

  2. Fiona
    January 13, 2016

    The Husband was a poultry farmer in a past life. Reared millions point-of-lay pullets and produced millions of free range eggs. Eggs are porous so when they are washed you mess with the natural film on the outside. The principle is the same with potatoes – unwashed potatoes last much longer than washed ones. I know, I’ve tried it. Fresh eggs are also lovely poached and if you like a creamy yolk, give that a bash – instructions somewhere on my blog. Oh, and The Husband fries the eggs on a Sunday, usually perfectly and would completely eschew that approach. Glad it works for you, though! Each to his/her own!!

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      January 13, 2016

      Thanks for explanation! very interesting… and yes, I love poached eggs. I don’t make them enough but I think this weekend for sure

  3. a2sicilian
    January 13, 2016

    I have a fried egg almost every morning (my latest go-to has been on a piece of toast from the smallest, hippiest loaf of sprouted wheat bread I can find at Whole Foods, spread with mashed avocado, salt, and pepper). I tried Besh’s way…didn’t work for me. Took forever. Some of the yolk cooked, which I didn’t like, while top was still very liquid, but some of the white was still very clear & snotty and rest was rubbery. Hmmm…went went wrong.

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      January 13, 2016

      Maybe too high and not long enough? The whites can get rubbery but I don’t mind the snottiness

  4. anotherfoodieblogger
    January 13, 2016

    I will certainly try this some day! The egg yolk DOES look velvety rich. I had me an egg nestled (poached?) in a bed of spicy carne guisada yesterday for lunch as a last minute idea for using up some leftovers. However, to answer your question, I like to “froach” my eggs, which you touched upon. I fry them first until whites are set, then add in a tablespoon of water and cover to steam the tops. Hubby HATES any white snot on his eggs. 🙂

  5. elizabeth
    January 13, 2016

    I’m going to have to try this one weekend! When we were in New Orleans we saw John Besh and Michael ended up holding the door for him (he was walking through our hotel with a tray of iced coffees) and he’s just as handsome in real life as you would expect, and we simply gave him big smiles and went on our way.

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      January 13, 2016

      Have heard mixed results so far on people trying the Besh eggs, so lmi know how it goes if you do!

  6. ksbeth
    January 13, 2016

    like you, i now live in ann arbor and buy my eggs from the amish at the farmer’s market whenever possible. i’ve heard that american eggs need to be refrigerated, but not ones from other countries, for some reason? perhaps the ones we buy in the store have their protective films washed off of them, as you described? anyway, i’m not a huge egg fan, but do enjoy a well-cooked egg every now and then. and when i bought my subaru, the saleswoman said, ‘you are the perfect buyer.90% of my customers ask me to program npr in when showing them how to set up the radio. not a ‘praise home companion’ listener either )

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      January 13, 2016

      Haha, you totally are Ann Arbor with the Subaru!! How old are your Birkenstocks? I heard something since writing the post about how American chickens aren’t vaccinated for something or another. Which means they need to be refrigerated. Not sure what that means. My head hurts.

      • ksbeth
        January 14, 2016

        oh, perfect! ) ah, the american chicken egg explanation! who knows, i just tend to refrigerate them all –

  7. thewineraconteur
    January 14, 2016

    John, I am a major fan of poached eggs. The finest examples that I have had were when I had Breakfast at Brennan’s in New Orleans, the poached eggs with corned beef hash at the Fountainbleau in Miami, and closer to home to the poached eggs at the Beverly Hills Grill.

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