Not long ago, I was Netflixing my way through my latest preoccupation, The Mind of a Chef. One of the episodes that day profiled the cuisine of San Sebastian, Spain. Of the places I’ve travelled, San Sebastian rests in my memory as my favorite food experience. Here, the wine is cheaper than water and the regional past time goes something like: stroll, sip, snack – – – stroll, sip, snack – – – stroll, sip, snack. And we’re talking world-class snacking. San Sebastian holds the second highest number of Michelin stars in the world yet it’s not at all pretentious about it. In fact, quite the opposite.
Chef Juan Mari Arzak is a pioneer of modern Basque cuisine in San Sebastian and one of the most beautifully simple things he’s become known for is the Arzak egg. At the end of the day, it’s a poached egg but this clever and sensible method results in an irresistible little parcel of perfection.
Arzak’s eggs are sophisticated, made with duck fat and truffle oil but me, I’m going purist for the time being. That said, this version is so simple that a second-grader could and would probably love to do it.
Here’s what you need:
– An egg
– Plastic wrap
– Kitchen twine
– A bit of olive oil or non-stick cooking spray
Line a bowl with plastic wrap, allowing for a bit of slack to create a depressed or sunken surface to hold the egg. Spray the plastic wrap with non-stick cooking spray or coat with a bit of oil. Note: this step is pretty important. Without the oil the egg will stick to the plastic and you’ll split the egg open when trying to unwrap it.
Crack the egg into the center of the plastic and add salt. Gather the edges to create a small sack for the egg and secure with the kitchen twine, leaving a long enough piece of string to hold while the egg cooks.
Fill a saucepan with water and bring to a low simmer. Know that you will be submerging the eggs into the water but you don’t want them to touch the bottom. That said, you’ll need enough water in the pan for the eggs to be completely submerged but float.
Once the water is simmering, lower the egg into the water and let cook for 5-7 minutes. One of the benefits of cooking eggs in this way is that you can feel the egg to determine how well it’s cooked. I usually cook mine for 6 minutes, at which point the white is firm to the touch but gives slightly (I like a soft, just barely runny, yolk).
Once the egg has finished cooking, remove from the water and cut the plastic wrap just below the twine to release the egg.
After admiring your handiwork, enjoy these eggs in whatever way you’d like. I love them on top of an english muffin with basil, mashed avocado, tomato and a drizzle of olive oil.