I was faced with having only 2 eggs, a small piece of bread, hazelnuts, a few sprigs of parsley, a little creme fraiche, some frozen capelin caviar, an open bottle of champagne and smoked bacon in my refrigerator. I always try to empty the refrigerator before going on a vacation.
Having a only a handful of ingredients does present a problem when trying to cook a meal. It helps to have a little bit of restaurant experience in the area of planning a special du jour board. If you have 4 filets of sole and the chef has no plans to purchase more sole, you design a menu item that will appeal to only a handful of people. That way, you are not erasing specials on hand written menus or special du jour boards. The awkward and embarrassing situation for a waiter is having to explain that the item that a customer just ordered is no longer available. Creating a special du jour that has a limited that is designed to only appeal to a select few customers is a good way to avoid this problem. Believe me, you can lose a customer with that situation.
It only took a few minutes to dream this recipe up, because my mind set is naturally adaptive, after being a chef for many years. Champagne poached eggs were a popular brunch item many years ago, so designing this recipe to feature eggs was the best plan. As far as designing an item that appeals to only a few customers goes, that was not the intention that I had when I created this recipe, because I was not in a restaurant situation. As it turned out, this recipe became one of the most popular in this food blog!
Smoked Bacon Hazelnut Grits:
This recipe makes 2 medium size servings of grits!
Heat a saute pan over medium low heat.
Add 2 tablespoons of chopped hazelnuts.
Shake the pan, till the hazelnuts become lightly toasted.Set the hazelnuts aside.
Heat a saute pan over medium/medium low heat.
Add 2 tablespoons of small chopped smoked bacon.
Saute till the bacon becomes crisp.
Set the bacon bits aside.
Boil 2 1/2 cups of water over medium high heat.
Add 3/4 cup of old fashioned stone ground hominy grits. (Instant grits are taboo!)
Stir with a whisk, till the grits swell and thicken.
Reduce the temperature to very low heat.
Add black pepper and sea salt.
Add 2 pats of unsalted butter.
Add the reserved toasted hazelnuts and bacon bits.
Simmer and stir, till the grits become soft and till they become a thick consistency. Add water if the grits become too thick.
Keep the grits warm over very low heat.
Capelin Roe Creme Fraiche:
Capelin roe can be found at asian markets. Capelin roe is also called Masago and it is a sushi garnish.
Heat a small sauce pot over medium low heat.
Add 3/4 cup of creme fraiche. (Mix 1/2 cream and 1/2 sour cream together to make creme fraiche.)
Add 1/4 teaspoon of anchovy paste.
Add white pepper and sea salt.
Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of capelin roe while stirring.
Simmer the sauce till it becomes hot.
Keep the Capelin Roe Creme Fraiche warm over very low heat.
Champagne Poached Eggs with Capelin Roe Creme Fraiche and Smoked Bacon Hazelnut Grits:
Trim the crust off of 2 slices of French bread.
Cut 2 square shaped croutons that are 3 1/2"x3 1/2".
Brush the croutons with unsalted butter.
Grill the croutons in a saute pan over medium/medium low heat, till they become toasted golden brown.
Place the croutons on a plate and keep it warm on a stove top.
Heat 1 cup of champagne in a small sauce pot over medium heat for 2 minutes, so the alcohol evaporates.
Add just enough water to poach 2 eggs with.
Add 2 pinches of sea salt.
Heat the poaching liquid till it becomes piping hot, but not boiling,
Add two eggs.
Poach the eggs, till the egg whites are cooked firm and so the egg yolks are still soft.
Use a slotted spoon to place the the eggs on the croutons.
Spoon the capelin caviar creme fraiche over the eggs.
Garnish with an Italian parsley sprig.
The flavors on this plate work very well together. The grits have a nice classic flavor. The champagne poached eggs have a very nice light champagne flavor. The small amount of anchovy paste adds a tasty depth to the caviar creme fraiche. This turned out to be a nice spur of the moment breakfast idea! Yum! ... Shawna