Sunday, November 14, 2010

Aidan & The Egg

I spent six days in Paris and I can't stop thinking about the eggs. One egg in particular.
We Americans eat eggs at breakfast. Sometimes we eat them in quiche for lunch. But we don't ever eat them for dinner. And that's a shame. A real shame.

We were at one of three restaurants owned by the same person on the meme rue. He has a super fancy one, a medium-fancy one and a bistro. We ate at the bistro, Cafe Constant, and it was amazing. I can't begin to imagine how good the super fancy one would be.The cafe was small, cozy, chock full of Frenchies and completely no nonsense.
And this is where the egg happened.

I chose the 'oeuf mollet' from the specials board for my starter.
It translates simply as boiled egg--a soft-boiled egg and in the case of Cafe Constant it is a soft boiled egg breaded and served on a bed of creamy wild mushroom the goose's golden egg cradled on a soft pillow of  mushroom cream.The creamy sauce was silken and smooth with a whisper of earthy mushroom flavor. Magnificent.

Then the egg.
Stop and think for a moment about what a soft-boiled egg looks like. How hard it is to cook the perfect one, how treacherous it is to peel, how fragile and dainty its wobbly white layer. Now imagine rolling it in egg wash and breadcrumbs and cooking the outer layer to the perfect crispiness; rolling and cooking without breaking it or over cooking the yellow, molten center.
Just the sort of thing the French take seriously. An egg. The kernel of life deserves to be elevated from scrambled.

When I cut into the gilded crust, through neige white, the yellow gooey and perfect; it was beautiful. Flavor matching artistry; a masterpiece. The mushroom cream the perfect foil to the luscious egg. Perfection. And as I ate it, marvelling at its gloriousness, the French woman at a neighboring table asked the waiter what it was...what heavenly concoction had I ordered because she wanted it too. Now that's something.

I really cannot stop thinking about it. So much so that I found a recipe. Will I attempt it? I don't know. I don't like disappointment.

A post script: You should know that I looked for a photo of a breaded oeuf mollet so you could see how lovely and improbable it is. I couldn't find one. And this just shows you how rare it is....sure, there were loads of photos of gooey, runny soft-boiled eggs on toast with a variety of sauces, but none of them were breaded. Did I dream it?


  1. Lovely, lovely post, it makes me hungry!
    You have a gift for writing, I will be happy to follow you

  2. I just found your blog and love it. This post was very interesting and
    you write beautifully !

  3. I love eggs. It's true. I also love that you admitted that Americans eat eggs at breakfast because the French think I'm weird for doing that. Lastly, I love that you fell in love with an egg. I think you should try the recipe and then report on how it goes!

  4. Aracne, Thanks for the compliments. The egg really was that good. It inspired me!

    Olga, You're very nice. Thanks and I'm happy to have a new reader.

    Lauren, If you love eggs then you've got to try this. I do a baked egg dish that's super good for dinner if you'd like to try. Not as difficult as the breaded soft-boiled but good nonetheless. If I get the courage to make the mollet at home I'll post for sure!


  5. This just may be my favorite post of yours! It was perfectly written, your description of the breaded egg was scrumptious in it's detail!
    You MUST try to cook the egg and tell us all about it and with photos please xo

  6. Sara, Aw! I think I will try it. La Canadienne has found a recipe to go along with her photo. I think she's trying to tell me something. The recipe yielded 10 oeufs mollets en croute.

  7. I saw the photo, I watched the video (please take note that it was done in my home state...(who'd have thought?)...I've got to MAKE it. Let's do a challenge Aidan. We'll both try it...and compare notes. D'accord?

  8. Delana, I'm in. I just bought 34 gros eggs at the grocery store, a lot of room for error, but I've got the mollet part down. How exciting! We'll take photos along the way, no?


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