Sunday, April 8, 2012

I wish I'd passed this on to you earlier ...

When I was a child, Mom had a great way to deal with all the hard-boiled Easter eggs that had been colored, hidden and found:  Goldenrod Eggs for breakfast!

In concept, Goldenrod Eggs is fairly simple to make if you have a few basic skills.  The base is a simple bechamel or pan gravy; the latter is better for a more home-style flavor.  I can't give you a precise recipe, because (if you have little to no experience with gravy or sauces) everything is pretty much done by eye.

The first step is to shell and prepare the eggs — figure about 2½-3 eggs a person.  Separate the  yolks from the whites; using a food processor, chop up the yolks into a rough crumble.  Then chop the whites; you can either use a food processor or a chef's knife for bigger pieces.

After you've cooked your bacon, reserve about 1-2 oz. of the grease in the pan; add just enough flour to absorb the grease fully and make a roux.  (Bechamel, or white sauce, is prepared almost the same way as pan gravy, except that you use equal measures of butter and flour.)  Cook the roux about 5 minutes at about medium heat, enough to take the flour taste out without browning it too much.  

Then start adding milk, not more than half a cup at a time, stirring the milk to fully break up the roux and blend it in smoothly.  Whenever the milk in the pan starts to boil, add more, until you have at least enough gravy to hold all your egg white pieces (more is better).  Add your egg white pieces; reduce the heat and boil the gravy until it's at the desired thickness and the pieces are hot.  If the gravy gets too thick, add a little more milk. Serve over toast or English muffins, sprinkling the crumbled yolk over the egg white gravy.

You see what I mean about the gravy being done "by eye"?  You can cheat by using a store-bought gravy mix;  Pioneer Mills has excellent pepper gravy and country gravy mixes, either of which is great for your base.  But if you want to add to your cooking skills, learning to do a simple pan gravy is a must for fixing up comfort food.

While I was frying the bacon, I reflected on how long it took me to learn something every bachelor needs to know about cooking meat: low and slow!  Meat won't cook any faster just because you have the burner cranked to "High".  The best way to fry bacon is to preheat the pan on medium-high, then, once you've put the bacon in the pan, reduce the heat just so the grease bubbles but doesn't smoke (between "Medium" and "Low"); if you use an electric griddle, preheat at about 325°, then drop to about 250° once you've put the bacon on.  Frying it low and slow allows you to cook the bacon thoroughly and get it that great caramelized color without turning it into charcoal.

Some people like hash browns with their eggs.  I prefer potatoes O'Brien.   Of course, Ore-Ida has it pre-bagged (although it seems Wal-Mart only has it every other week), but you can also make it with either potatoes you've peeled and cubed yourself or with a bag of Southern-style hash browns.  Just chop some green pepper and onion into ¼"-½" pieces and sweat them in the oil (or some of your leftover bacon grease) for about 2-3 minutes before you add the potatoes.

Goldenrod eggs with bacon, potatoes O'Brien and mimosas ... the perfect breakfast to celebrate Our Lord's resurrection.