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 sauce...like 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?