Friday, June 10, 2011

Cheap yet extravagant

On the way back from a meeting, we headed for our favorite hole in the wall Mexican joint for a burrito, but ended up passing Whole Paycheck just to see if they had anything irresistible. Result: we spent a bit too much on cheeses. Along with some other things. Only one solution: stretch out our purchases so we can get back to the cheap burrito index. That will mean a minimum of four meals.

Only one thing to do: compensate. Compensating with inexpensive ingredients does not mean choking down something in atonement for our fromage extravagance. Old bread (home made), eggs and butter are all cheap. Prosciutto isn't, but then this doesn't use much of it.

This uses a Hollandaise sauce made of shallots, white wine vinegar (also homemade) and limes to keep things moist and interesting. The bread is cut out into a round and gently simmered in butter after being lightly splashed with chicken stock. The bread scraps become croutons, same process (they'll crisp up again in the butter). Only two free-range brown organic eggs per person. One poached, the other in the Hollandaise. Eight eggs left in the under four dollar package. Damn cheap!

The prosciutto also gets cut into a circle, and the scraps get trimmed kind of like a chiffonade and used as a garnish.

Here's how it stacks up, from the top down:
  • Prosciutto "chiffonade" garnish
  • Crisped round bread
  • Hollandaise
  • Poached egg
  • Prosciutto round (two thin slices deep)
  • Hollandaise

Garnish all around with croutons and parsley or basil.

There might be a way of making this with fewer pans, but I doubt it. One for poaching, one for croutons, one for Hollandaise, container to separate the egg yolks. A lot of washing, but cheap + good often equals extra labor.

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