How to Boil an Egg
High on our list of “must dos” the next time we’re in Paris includes a visit to one of three Rose Carrarini eateries, all appropriately called Rose Bakery. Carrarini, an Englishwoman, opened her first eponymous bakery in 2002 with her French husband Jean-Charles and together they conquered the city with their honest, home-style creations concocted relying on the best quality ingredients. They have since gone global with outposts in London, Paris, Tokyo, Seoul and Tel Aviv. We initially became acquainted with Rose Bakery’s creations through Carrarini’s first cookbook Breakfast Lunch Tea which is full of simple recipes for light meals and treats, beautifully and temptingly photographed for her readers. Her delightful second effort, How to Boil an Egg offers 84 creative ways to put this humble and versatile ingredient to work creating satisfying breakfasts, lunches and baked goods for tea.
We’re huge fans of cookbooks with recipes relying on ingredients that we might actually have on hand and advising on dishes that won’t take a degree from Le Cordon Bleu to get through, which is why How to Boil an Egg is a gastronomic guide that speaks to us. Beginning with Carrarini’s heartfelt introduction describing her realization that without the ubiquitous egg, her bakery’s production would be greatly diminished, she goes on to point out the nutritional, practical and economic value of eggs – they are undoubtedly a great source of vitamins, easy to access and great value. How to Boil an Egg teaches not just the method of preparation in its title, but also how to poach, scramble and fry eggs and also turn them into omelettes – all tasks that seem easy enough but somehow we can’t seem to get just right. In this first section, she advises the precise time increments to cook small, medium and large eggs to that lovely, elusive, soft-boiled consistency, as well as warning that to achieve a successful poached egg a fresh contender is critical. We have an aversion to ridiculously over-filled omelettes as does Carrarini and her counsel regarding this matter is sound and also gives a sense of her overall cooking style: “The important point is that an omelette should be the simplest thing, nothing grand and showy. If they are to be filled, use only small amounts of simple ingredients such as herbs, cheese, ham or bacon, tomato or mushrooms. The filling should not detract from the eggs…” She then moves onto describe options for breakfast, lunch and tea, showcasing the myriad of standard as well as usual ways Rose Bakery utilizes this multi-tasking, multipurpose ingredient. It might be the star of the plate in Eggs Florentine or a Three-Coloured Frittata, or put to subtler use in a Classic Genoise Sponge Cake or an Orange Crème Caramel. One particularly interesting breakfast option showcasing the bakery’s experimental nature is Eggs baked in Dashi, a Japanese stock made from seaweed and dried fish – the eggs are cooked in small ramekins preheated in the oven with dashi and you can top this dish with a range of ingredients including chopped anchovies and fresh flat-leaf parsley or tomato sauce and tarragon. Inventive lunch options include a Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi and Lentil & Whole Grain Fritters alongside more traditional soups, salads and sandwiches. Eggs are a baker’s best friend and the cakes and puddings such as Chocolate & Orange Polenta cake and Pavolvas are testament to this ingredient’s necessity in the kitchen.
As with her debut effort, How to Boil an Egg was published by Phaidon and we’re becoming increasingly enamoured with this imprint’s striking cookery releases that are as thoughtfully designed as the art publications for which they are renowned. While Breakfast Lunch Tea was full of artful, raw photographs, including many sensitive portraits of the faces that make the bakery run – the man who bakes the bread, the family who supplies the apples, the customers who bring the space to life – How to Boil an Egg is illustrated with almost 40 paintings commissioned from botanical artist Fiona Strickland. These sensitively rendered, hyper-real images are elegant and charming, bringing Carrarini’s recipes to life. This is definitely one for your culinary collection.