I am smitten. With David Chang and his recipes, from pig to pork to bacon and dashi; ramen, crack pie, miso butter and pork fat.The chef famous for all things porcine (pig) tells his story in the fantastic book Momofuku (meaning ‘lucky peach’), which I received as a gift from my friend, M in October, when I was in London. And then a month ago, I picked it up, stuck it in my handbag and read it on the bus to and from work – engrossed for an entire week reading the evolution of his restaurants, his personal growth, challenges and approach. Page after page, recipe by recipe, I bookmarked a few to begin with, paused to cry on the numerous occasions I saw myself in him, to reflect, to think and to laugh a lot… for in this book, the honourable David Chang shares glimpses of his life alongside stunning recipes which are remarkable for both the technique and the flavor combination. One of those? Slow-poached eggs with pan-fried asparagus and miso butter.
Steph of Momofukufor2 says ‘The first time I cracked open Momofuku, I couldn’t put it down. I felt drawn to Chang’s story. I could see similarities between us: a love of noodles, a useless liberal arts degrees and a general lack of decisive direction in life. That’s where ours similarities ended. Chang took his love of noodles, ran with it, and now has a restaurant group, a best-selling cook book, millions of dollars and the respect of his peers.’
Kenji of Serious Eats says ‘This is one of the easiest and most impressive applications of a low-temperature water oven like the Sous-Vide Supreme. The idea is that the texture of a cooked egg is determined solely by its temperature. That means when cooked to 142°F, egg whites will be barely set but still hold their shape, no matter how long you hold the there (provided you give them enough time to heat through, that is). Similarly, at that temperature, egg yolks will be hot, but completely liquid.When finished, the egg shell can be carefully peeled away and the egg poured out. It will retain its shape until you pierce it with a fork, whereupon it will release an ooze of golden liquid yolk’.his ramen, and ending with some deep-fried apple pie (remember the world famous McDonald fried apple pie?) and miso butterscotch. But there are people who are far ahead of me in this game, who have cooked and eaten every recipe in the cookbook, so please be content with the occasional dc offering I am sure to present!Ingredients, serves 44 raw, whole eggs125g (1⁄2 cup) shiro (white) miso120g (8 tablespoons/1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more if needed225g (1⁄2 pound) thin to medium asparagusKosher salt2 teaspoons sherry vinegarFreshly (coarse) ground black pepperHow toSlow poach eggs: Fit a large pot with a rack and fill with water. Place over lowest possible heat – I used my large Ikea pot, which is about 20cm deep with a 30cm diameter at the top. I placed my Ikea collapsible veggie steamer into it and filled it with about 6.5 litres of water. If you don’t have a rack, you could make a bed of squeezed foil paper to sit the eggs upon – what you want is to keep the eggs off the bottom where the heat is the highest.Heat water to between 60 – 63 degrees c(140 and 145 degrees F) and gently add eggs to pot. I noticed when the water had reached 60 degrees C that tiny bubbles began to form, a bit like water does when it has been in a glass for a while. Once the poaching began, the eggs themselves became coated with tiny water bubbles, and on occasion you’d see a bubble rise up and break through the surface.Cook eggs 40 to 45 minutes, checking temperature regularly.There are two ways to regulate the temperature:1. Control the temperature of the water: by adding ice cubes or swapping out some of the hot water for cold if there are no ice cubes handy. I did the later – I scooped out some of the water and topped up with the same amount of ice-cold, a few times and then just to make sure, I poached the eggs for an extra 5 minutes.2. Control the heat source: Kottke says ‘I found that turning the heat on for 30-45 seconds every 10 minutes or so was enough to keep the temperature in the proper range’.Drain and use eggs immediately or transfer to an ice-water bath to chill and then refrigerate for up to 24 hours.To warm eggs up, place under piping hot tap water for 1 minute before using. To serve eggs, crack them, one at a time, into small individual saucers. The thin white should not be firm or solid. Carefully pour off loosest part of white before serving.
Make the miso butter: Combine the miso with75g ( 5 tablespoons) of the butter in a small bowl and beat with a wooden spoon until well mixed; the butter should be one color, not a streaky mess. Reserve until needed; you can refrigerate it, well wrapped (I formed mine into a log, guided by some clingfilm), for up to a few weeks.But before I test the rice recipe, here’s my quick lunch of left over pasta, bacon bits with grated pecorino cheese and coarsely crushed black pepper, with a warm poached egg.
‘Plus it’s really impressive when you crack open a seemingly uncooked egg and a poached one slides out’, says Momofukufor2.