WARNING: This recipe did NOT work, try it at your own risk.
Jamie Oliver had a TV show where he wraps eggs with salmon or various herbs in Clingfilm, then poaches them. I tried it, and it’s pretty good tasting, but I struggled to get the texture correct. I ended up with one with a runny white, and one with a hard crumbly yolk.
In an attempt to fix this I thought the way forward would be to be more precise about temperatures and timings, so I turned to the sous vide. What follows is a set of steps that did NOT work, so don’t try to follow this recipe unless you can see a way to fix my mistakes (in which case please tell me how you did it).
The FAILED Method:
1. Put Clingfilm into a cup. Line the inside of the Clingfilm with salmon, then crack an egg into it, and tie it off to create a pouch for the egg. Note: Normally you’d not crack an egg for sous vide poaching, but in this method you need to because you want it to absorb/fuse with the salmon flavour.
2. Suspend the Clingfilm bag in the freezer. Laying it down flat results in a flattened shape egg, but by hanging the bag off something, it should freeze more spherical, which will look nicer once served.
3. Once frozen, remove the egg and vacuum seal in a sous vide bag.
Step 3 is where things start to go wrong. Here, I have two options – leave it in the Clingfilm so that it can’t run and lose it’s shape as it cooks, or to remove the Clingfilm and just seal the frozen egg. I opt for Clingfilm to help keep the shape. Now, as the egg cooks in the vacuum bag, it’s still going to deform, so ideally I want a circular seal around the egg, which my vacuum sealer does not do. I tried to use a soldering iron to draw a seal line around the egg, and while initial experiments in this worked ok, sometimes the soldering iron burns through the plastic rather than just sealing it. Eventually I did manage to do a bad job of sealing the bags by making lots of individual seals with the vacuum sealer, but it was a long way from the ideal shape.
4. Cook the bags sous vide. Timing and temperature not yet worked out.
The next problem is that eggs and salmon cook at very different temperatures – salmon is low, eggs are relatively high. I went for a mid point temperature and time so as to cook the eggs without over cooking the salmon, but again my eggs came out too runny. With enough experiments, this might be a solvable problem (maybe some longer time at a lower temperature?) but given that I can’t manage a neat seal I gave up here. I also can’t afford the huge amounts of salmon I’d need to try every temperature and time combination I can think of.
A potential fix for the method is to do away with the vacuum bag and just sous vide cook the eggs in their Clingfilm, but once frozen and thawed I’m not entirely convinced that the Clingfilm will always stay in one piece, which could mean I end up with an egg coated sous vide machine.
Anybody willing to try some experiments to work out how to fix this recipe to become idiot proof?