Crumb-Covered Poached Eggs

Crumb-Covered Poached Eggs

When you cut into these eggs, the crunchy crust gives way to the tender egg inside, and the crumbs mingle and soak up the velvety yolk. Both rustic and sophisticated, it’s a great guest dish. Everything is done ahead, then the eggs get their final finish in the oven just before serving.

Makes 8

For the seasoned crumbs:
8 strips bacon, chopped
3 Tbsp. butter
1 1/2 cups panko
2 good pinches of cayenne
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the eggs:
1 Tbsp. salt
8 eggs for poaching
1/2 cup Wondra flour, or all-purpose flour
3 eggs, for coating the poached eggs
Step 1
For the seasoned crumbs, put the bacon in a medium skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until browned and crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer the bacon with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Melt the butter in the skillet with the bacon fat over medium heat, then add the panko. Toast, stirring constantly, until golden brown, about 5 minutes.

Step 2
Transfer the crumbs to a medium bowl. Chop the cooked bacon very finely. Add it to the crumbs and toss well. Season with cayenne, salt, and pepper. There should be about 1 3/4 cups. Set aside.

Step 3
For the eggs, bring water in a medium saucepan to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Add the salt. Fill a medium bowl with ice water and set aside.

Step 4
Poach 4 eggs at a time. Crack 1 egg into a small cup or saucer. Hold the cup in the simmering water and slip the egg in. Repeat with 3 more eggs. Slip a spatula under the eggs, giving them a gentle nudge, to keep them from resting on the bottom of the pan. Poach the eggs until the whites turn opaque but the yolks remain soft, 2–3 minutes. Lift the eggs from the pan with a slotted spoon or spatula into the bowl of ice water to quickly stop the cooking. Meanwhile, poach the remaining 4 eggs.

Step 5
When the eggs are cold, set them on paper towels to drain. Trim off any ragged egg whites to tidy up the egg into a neat shape. Gently pat the 8 eggs all over with paper towels so they are dry for coating.

Step 6
Put the flour in a medium bowl. Beat the remaining 3 eggs with 1 Tbsp. water in another medium bowl. Arrange 3 bowls as follows: flour–eggs–crumbs. Working with 1 poached egg at a time, gently dredge in flour; next gently roll in beaten eggs, covering it completely; then dredge in the crumbs. Set the crumb-coated egg on a parchment paper–lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining 7 eggs, spacing the eggs evenly in one layer. The eggs can stay like this, at room temperature, for up to 2 hours.

Step 7
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake the prepared eggs until they are deep golden brown and warmed through, 10–15 minutes.

Step 8
Pancetta and Parmigiano crumbs:
Follow the directions for seasoned crumbs, omitting the bacon. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add 1/2 cup finely diced pancetta and cook until lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Continue with the recipe, adding 1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Step 9
Tarragon and parsley crumbs:
Follow the directions for seasoned crumbs, omitting the bacon. Melt 8 Tbsp. butter in a medium skillet over medium heat, and continue with the recipe, adding 1 Tbsp. minced fresh tarragon leaves and 3 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley leaves with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

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