I Don’t Get It

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Continuing my Momofuku at home, I finally decided to try the Bath-Cooked Eggs, a recipe that I had cut out of the Times two years ago.  From what I remembered, it is the Bath-Cooked Eggs which top the supremely good Chicken and Egg at Momofuku.  More voluptuous and viscuous than a normally poached egg it is the sauce and the binder to a mix of rice, scallions, and smoked chicken.  I would try it home with a bibim bap.

The recipe is quite simple, it’s a matter of keeping the lowest heat on the stove for a long time.  The sniggly details – placing a rack in the pot so the eggs don’t touch bottom, keeping a temperature to 140 to 145 degrees, testing the eggs after 40 minutes, and then every 5 minutes for doneness – add to the challenge and mystique of Momofuku.  When I first tried this, I used my biggest pot to dissipate the heat, and a strainer to hold the eggs in the water.  It was hard to believe that it would warm up to the required temperature on the lowest setting on the stove.  I admit, I let it go for 50 minutes enrapt in the crossword puzzle, resulting in a hard boiled egg.  Trying again, I kept a careful eye on the time, but at 40 minutes, the egg was still hard boiled.  I give up.

In an internet search, I found a few recipes on ABCNews.com.  The Bath-Cooked Eggs were verbatim with the Times article.  There was a recipe for Chicken and Egg, which details the eggs as being poached, not bath-cooked as I would have thought.  Rounding out the piece was a recipe for the Pork Belly Buns, a much too complicated and time-consuming recipe than I could muster.  A 12 hour brine for the pork, interwoven with a multiple rise bun making process, a walk through Chinatown is so much faster.

Which makes me think – do these recipes need to be this byzantine?  The near hour long coddle for a poached egg?  I love an artful process, but I’m disappointed to have failed at this relatively simple task.  Maybe I should try again in the toaster oven.  And get a thermometer.

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