I arrived at my daughter’s flat in Brooklyn around 8:30am that morning. It had been a long trip requiring a 3:30am wake up call for my 6:00am flight from Dayton. But it was a sunny, mild December morning and I was eager to hit the streets. We settled my things into her apartment, then travelled to Manhattan to visit to her studio. By mid morning we were both famished.
She suggested brunch at a small cafe in the West Village, Cafe Minerva. The simple interior was intimate with tables nestled quite close to one another, and the place was brightly lit from the large, storefront windows. The room is separated by a large coffee bar and the pale walls are covered with beautiful photographs. From our table we could see the tiny, tiny kitchen and (bonus) Philip Seymour Hoffman who was seated at the bar.
We both decided on Eggs en Cocotte, poached eggs with leeks. This light, simple dish was a delight. The silky yolks spilled onto the sautéed leeks and carrots forming a tasty sauce to soak up with salt and herb crusted toast. Yum.
Could I replicate this dish at home? I’ve never made poached eggs before, but was inspired this morning to give them a try. And luckily, there was a leek in the crisper. After rinsing and slicing the leeks into 1/4″ pieces, they were sautéed in a bit of olive oil over very low heat in a covered pan. Meanwhile, I brought water and a splash of white vinegar to a simmer, then slipped in the eggs (each had been cracked into individual ramekins), and set the timer for three minutes. I removed the white froth from the pan as it built up and gently turned the eggs with a slotted spoon once or twice trying to maintain a nice, compact shape. And it worked! Using the slotted spoon, the eggs were carefully removed from the simmering water and gently blotted on a paper towel before being placed atop the leeks.
Next time, I will be more prepared with a loaf of better bread to soak up all the yolky goodness and will try hard not to be disappointed by the lack of celebs in my neighborhood.