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Anti Cholesterol Vegetarian Starter (page 2 of 2)

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My doctor just sent me the cholesterol bill for this quarter. Apparently I have already had all I needed for the whole year. I followed his advice to eat more vegetables by preparing these amazing avocadoes in béarnaise sauce with a poached egg.
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Now we will poach the eggs. Most people fear egg poaching and would never dream of doing this for guests by fear of ending up with egg white shrapnel soup. Well, from now on you will be able to poach eggs like a chef with no fear in your heart. Here is how Philippe Rochat poaches his eggs. It is burger-flipper-proof.

Take one egg per guest, a very small bowl or glass, kitchen string and plastic foil. Place a large square of plastic foil inside the bowl (bottom left), slightly oil the plastic foil inside the cavity to ensure the egg won't stick. Break the egg into the bowl.

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Carefully remove the plastic paper like a little bag.

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Tie it up with a piece of string. Do not worry, the hen inside the yolk won't get out. Proceed with three more eggs.

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You can also add a few tarragon leaves inside the bag with the egg (look closely above the yolk).

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Poach in hot water for 3 minutes or 300 minutes, as you like your eggs.

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Remove, cut the string and open. If you forgot to grease the plastic with a little oil, some of the egg white might stick to the sides like it did here. But no big deal, and perfect poached eggs every time!

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Cut your avocadoes in half, then use the blade like I do above to remove the pits, unless you plan to plant them. I'm told that if the avocadoes you found are too hard, you could simmer then in hot water for a few minutes. Frankly, I have never done this and like my avocadoes so mature that the grocer often hesitates to charge me. Sincere avocado gerontophilia, as Gérard Oberlé would have it.

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A spoonful of béarnaise sauce...

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...then an egg...

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... and then more béarnaise sauce.

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That's it. I could eat half a dozen of these, as a vegetarian first course.

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You could serve this with salad, but then it would become a real calorie bomb. Let's keep reasonable here.

Book tips: For an excellent discussion on béarnaise and many more detailed, serious explanations on fundamental cooking techniques, Madeleine Kamman's The New Making of a Cook is a must and worthy investment for anybody serious about cooking. For a more scientific angle, Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen is the best available in English.


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Incorrigible! I love your sauce pan ...

  • #2
  • Comment by Stahlregen
The only vegetable that fits the spirit of the scottish diet, together with poached little bombs of cholesterol, covered in a rich butter sauce - what an amazing diet dish! *cough* Well, at least it looks tasty. ;) If you want to combat your cholesterol intake, you could try some more cooking with pectin-rich ingredients - quince, apple, carrot...
Hey francois! You're turning into a real comedian... ! I love this dish.  I would beg you to make me this if I  lived close. Huge wow in my culinary world. Just perfect. Now ease off the damn butter and eggs!
  • #4
  • Comment by ZF
I used to remove avocado pits with my knife, too. Then, one day, I ended up in the emergency room with a puncture wound. Since then, I've discovered that a little thumb pressure pops the pit right out. Be careful!
  • #5
  • Comment by Philip
I love your website and I will mourn you when you have succumbed to heart disease.
  • #6
  • Answered by fx
Joanna, next I'll try a vegan starter for real diet orthodoxy!
  • #7
  • Answered by fx
Stahlregen, I need to figure out a way to dip my advocadoes in batter and deep-fry them for a really serious diet!
  • #8
  • Answered by fx
Claudia, the diet-conscious person can make béarnaise with clarified  butter or even vegetable oil, apparently it holds better. Delicious sauce, really, almost makes you forget you're eating vegetables.
  • #9
  • Answered by fx
ZF, shit, puncture wound on the hand seems like you got the raw end of the deal. I'll watch my knife when it slides on the avocado pits in the future, one hand in the pocket, the other on the knife handle!
  • #10
  • Answered by fx
Philip, ah your post depresses me, heart disease no less? I need an avocado in Béarnaise sauce now ...
WHOA. That is a reeeeeally yummy looking snack! I think I missed the part where the vegetables come in though? (wink)

I'll admit, I'm torn though. I'm watching Mariah Carey on TV right now, and she lost a bunch of weight and looks all sexy and skinny and revealed her new diet of steamed veggies and lean meat and I'm thinking - Yeah, I'm going to do that too so I can look all sexy and skinny and I'm going to dust off my treadmill..... then I see stuff like this. Poached eggs and buttery bearnaise and avocado ...  Damnit.
I've had tempura avocado before - very tasty!
  • #13
  • Comment by Laura
Well, Francois, this page is my first visit to your site (my sister recommended), and I must say I'm overjoyed to have found someone who respects food so much.  Your photographs are lovely--well-composed and evocatively lit.  And your love for the food is evident in your recipes and descriptions.  

When I was in culinary school (don't get all excited; it was budget culinary school for poor kids), I and my partner ate a pint of bearnaise sauce with bits of bread for lunch that day in sauce class.  We felt a bit dazed afterwards, but damn it was good.  Your mom's position on the fattening things people eat with their bearnaise sauce is one I applaud.  I'm sorry for your doctor who obviously doesn't know any better and is wasting life in healthy eating.  Anyway, who are you going to listen to--your mother or some stranger with a stethoscope?
That dish sounds lovely.

And after all, they're not so sure anymore that dietary cholesterol is the cause of heart disease or atherosclerosis anyways.  Check out Nina Planck's "Real Food" for some of the research, it's fascinating!
  • #15
  • Answered by fx
Ain't life unfair Traci? I think you could indulge in a small portion of treadmill and a large avocado, to strike some balance. How many avocados can you buy with one hour of treadmill?
  • #16
  • Answered by fx
Vicki, thanks for visiting and I'll be looking for those deep-fried avocadoes!
  • #17
  • Answered by fx
Laura, a pint of béarnaise sounds like just what I need! What a memorable meal, especially for one's liver. Béarnaise is such a gorgeous sauce, and it's not so commony nowadays. But forgive me for saying that the bread was a serious lapse from the régime dissocié diet gospel. Thanks for visiting!
  • #18
  • Answered by fx
Janna, I once met a very important cardiologist. The guy smoked like an oil well in Kuwait during the first gulf war - on and on. A couple packs a day. When I asked what the cardiologist within him thought about smoking versus heart diseases, he answered 'Don't believe anybody who tells you otherwise - heart diseases are 95% genetic. There is only a tiny bit you can influence. The smoking does not change anything'.
  • #19
  • Comment by Saxit
#17 "Béarnaise is such a gorgeous sauce, and it's not so commony nowadays."

Except for the expensive "real" italian restaurants, I don't think you can find a pizza place here in Sweden that doesn't have a few different pizzas with bearnaise on top...
Our pizza toppings are quite crazy I tell you.

#18 That's probably true about the heart, though lung cancer on the other hand... ;)
  • #20
  • Comment by AVOCADO
One hour = 400-600 calories (depending on how fast I run/walk).  Avocados should be eaten everyday, that's my view. I find a way to fit them in. Just maybe not slathered in butter. Except on weekends - that's when anything goes! Bacon! Butter! Bread! Gnocchi! Heavy cream! Booze! Cheeseburgers!
  • #22
  • Comment by Stahlregen
fx, simply dipping the avocado in batter and deep-frying them might still lead you to end up with too much vegetable to satisfy scottish dietary rules. I think you should process them in some way, preferably with lots of sugar. How about deep-fried avocado ice cream? Now that sounds like a serious diet dish. ;)
  • #23
  • Comment by Luke
As I was reading this, I was wondering if you were actually serious about reducing your cholesterol intake. Béarnaise, eggs, avocado? It took me a while to catch the ironic humor here.

That said, the dish looks quite amazing. Kinda reminds me of a fried egg on mashed potatoes, in a way.
  • #24
  • Comment by the aspiring baker
Hey, take care and watch the cholesterol level ya? The dish still looks mightily rich, although i must say it is very tempting indeed...
  • #25
  • Answered by fx
Saxit, thanks for visiting and I'd be most interested to see Swedish Béarnaise Pizza! Is this a dill béarnaise like I see at Ikea or the regular French version?
  • #26
  • Answered by fx
Traci, sounds like a lot of running for one béarnaise avocado!
  • #27
  • Answered by fx
Stahlregen, thee trik is to slice them avocados reeely thin beyfore they are dipped in thee oil laike wee do in Edinbrugh!
  • #28
  • Answered by fx
Luke, I'm glad you caught on, if you look at the tags I think it's clear I realized there is indeed quite a bit of cholesterol in this dish. When I saw it in a book it struck me as one of the dishes furthest from contemporary lighty-light tastes. I had to try it!
  • #29
  • Answered by fx
Aspiring Baker, thanks for visiting and I'll make sure not to eat more than one such avocado a day!
  • #30
  • Comment by pedro arceyut

 Now  That's  a breakfast for champions !!
  • #31
  • Answered by fx
Pedro, a pint of béarnaise sauce befits any champion ready to climb the Matterhorn later in the day!
  • #32
  • Comment by felix
Thanks for the bearnaise FX, I made it last night , it turned out perfect. Keep it coming!!!!!
  • #33
  • Comment by Saxit
#25 fx - I only eat the meatballs at Ikea so I didn't know they use dill in their bearnaise. That's not a common practise in Sweden as far as I know. :)
The sause they use on pizza here is often ready made though so it's not that special (just extra greasy I'd say).
One of my local pizza parlours have a pizza they call "Viking special" which has nothing in common with Vikins really.
They top it with sliced beef, ham, shrimps, onions and bearnaise.
They also have one where they have exchanged the ham with (canned) asparagus.
To be honest I don't think you can get a pizza anywhere else but in Scandinavia that includes sliced pork, shrimps, bananas, pineapple and curry...
  • #34
  • Answered by fx
Felix, well done for your first pint of béarnaise!
  • #35
  • Answered by fx
Saxit, thanks for these explanations and let me know if you know any amateur photographer who could take pictures of such a pizza!
  • #36
  • Comment by Richard E. Hughes
I love your technique for the perfect poached egg.  Thanks!
  • #37
  • Answered by fx
Richard, I read an article online where a man tested out 4 or 5 ways of poaching an egg, and this was the most reliable. Good luck!
  • #38
  • Comment by parshu.narayanan
If what the doc told you is true, fx, my dear friend, please treat yourself to long daily mountain walks and eat and cook what you want, including cholestrol-raisers like Avocados ( by virtue of high fat content), butter and eggs. Take care and buy Nikes, fx, I cant have my favourite foodie leaving butter for olive oil or sugar for sucralose even whe he turns 60...
  • #39
  • Answered by fx
Parshu, thanks for your advice and I'll eat one advocado, with its béarnaise sauce, to your good health!
Mate, I reckon you shouldn't stress too much about eating cholesterol; there is some good research out there now which suggests that if you don't eat cholesterol your body just manufactures it anyway!
  • #41
  • Answered by fx
Kiriel, thanks for your concern for my health, I'll eat another egg béarnaise to your good health then!
  • #42
  • Comment by trish
This dish has been drooling even though I've just finished breakfast! I COVET your bain marie pot. Maybe I'll keep my eye out for a bargain on ebay as well.

Happy Monday,

  • #43
  • Answered by fx
Trish, this really is one cool pot but it's really only about the pleasure of cooking with beautiful cookware rather than practicality. I think a bowl in a pot is just as good. Have a look on Ebay with "bain marie" on a Worldwide search and I am confident you'll find some other French lady who wishes to unload one. Good luck!
  • #44
  • Comment by trish
Had this last Sunday. We did show some restraint and split an avocado as opposed to having one each - the flavors were divine. We just went to the greenhouse yesterday and purchased our summer herbs. I can't wait to try this with fresh tarragon! Thanks for adding something new to our Sunday Breakfast rotation!Trish
  • #45
  • Answered by fx
Trish, I'm glad my little article helped you guys start your Sunday on a bright note! With tarragon sauces, a little bit goes a long way and you can really manage to keep the cholesterol bill down by eating only a couple tablespoons. Seeing you are in Omaha, you should know that this is a great and very popular sauce in France with steak, and you have access to much better steaks that we get usually in Europe. Old world meets New on a dinner plate!
Your post is interesting.  However, the subject of poaching eggs has been blogged to death, and your demonstrated method is perhaps the POOREST method of all.

All professional chefs such as myself (graduated from Peter Kump's Culinary Institute in brooklyn) know that the time-honored, efficient method of poaching an egg is simply properly . . .  and I stress PROPERLY . . . placing the raw egg in just-under-simmering hot water.  PLAIN hot water.

People do NOT need the plastic crap to poach the eggs NOR do they need the potential of contamination from the plastic.

Personally, I would really appreciate it if you would revise your post.
Oh, Hallelujah! I am one of those people who dreads poaching eggs. I've had one too many disasters in my efforts. Thank you for this great tip. I love poached eggs and now I'll actually be able to make them.
  • #48
  • Comment by Ricardo Sanchez
Very Nice FX. Arzak poaches his famous 'Arzak Eggs' exactly like these.  Instead of tarragon he uses parsley and Spanish Ham (Spanish Prosciuto). There not bad either!
OMG!  that looks so delish!  and healthy!  i enjoyed reading this post.  Thanks!
I've been using this method to poach eggs lately - I really like it since they don't spread out as much and it's easy to tell if they're done!
  • #51
  • Answered by fx
Chiffonade, thanks so much for your comment, this must be the funniest I've received this year and we all had a good time here at the office thanks to you. Almost beats the 'I want you to retract your statement that Latin is a dead language'. No, really. As for poaching eggs, a most delicate matter indeed, I'm very happy if you are one of the few who can consistently turn out nice-looking eggs by placing them directly in the water. That must be hard and I understand why people who master this skill would be suspicious of any easier method. Surely, that must impart some bad taste or why would we bother with water, right? Well I think it's wrong and plastic is the method used by Philippe Rochat. If we are talking delegation-of-judgement here, well in my book Mr Rochat must beat the gentleman you mention since he has 3 Michelin stars and has them for a solid 10 years.
  • #52
  • Answered by fx
Madeline, thanks for visiting and I hope you get to try this!
  • #53
  • Answered by fx
Ricardo, thanks for visiting and this Arzak fellow seems highly worth investigating!
  • #54
  • Answered by fx
Sarah, thanks for the visit and commment and now, get cooking!
  • #55
  • Answered by fx
Dana I'm glad you agree with the poaching method, to each its own but this one is really failproof.
  • #56
  • Comment by Ricardo
For our fellow Chiffonade:
My dear purist, Not only Rochat, but as I mentioned Juan Marie Arzak, also a 3 michelin star (and mind you, there are 3 michelin stars and then there are THREE MICHELIN STARS) poaches this most profane way. You see, not only they poach, they add a new flavour dimension right into the poached egg. You should try it....really.
Your blog is incredible.  The picture of the bearnaise made me want to jump through the monitor!  What a perfect sauce.  I love to make hollandaise, etc. but it's so fragile.  Entirely worth the work.  Such luxury in the mouth.

As you can see from the above post by "chiff0nade," your site has been targeted by a well known internet troll.  I do not make offensive comments on foodie blogs but he seems to think he can destroy my reputation by doing just that and using my name (or some variation of it).  He has embarked on a truly futile effort.  

I will subscribe to your blog (legitimately) and look forward to further exploring its delicious pages!

Clearwater, FL
  • #58
  • Answered by fx
Chiffonade, no worry, this adds anotherlayer of fun to the story! Who is, pray tell, this funny cooking troll?
  • #59
  • Comment by Helena
Incroyable and decadent!

A recipe that sounds like it'll be as good as your guacamole. Yeah I agree some fruits, like avocados, lemons, limes, oranges are much much better when they are mature.

One question though (and no I'm not trolling), I really want to know. What kind of plastic foil do you use? Is there a special type of plastic foil for it?

I don't poach. Does it show?

I was just thinking in this day and age of bisphenol-A and plastic leeching all sorts of stuff, there has to be some special material chefs use. Or some other alternative to either doing it straight in water. I'm not that good. Or using regular non-food grade plastic.
  • #60
  • Answered by fx
Helena, you can buy the regular wrappable transparent plastic foil, if you look at the box it will say how much temperature it withstands.
  • #61
  • Comment by jensenly
WOW!  My eyes totally bugged out on this one.  I want to have your baby.
  • #62
  • Comment by Geoff Ball
Well ever since I was in the (Canadian) military and suffered it's béarnaise sauce I haven't wanted to taste it again, until now :)
  • FX's answer→ Geoff, I don't think they made it from scratch with chervil and clarified butter in the army - or if they did it's the best armed forces food in the world!

  • #64
  • Comment by joe sotham
I made this tonight to test in advance of a dinner party I am hosting.  The avacado and bernaise are perfect complements, and the egg yolk, it's magic.  My only question is how would you recommend eating it.  I finally went with fork, to hold, and spoon, to scoop.  Thanks for the idea and the fabuous photos.

As for cooking eggs directly in water, try adding ~30% regular vinegar, poaching till almost done, into a cold water bath, and then reheat in regular water just before plating.  I have served eggs benedict to 20 with no trouble.

  • FX's answer→ Joe, I think fork and spoon are the way to go. They are just so much more practical than chopsticks. I will try to improve my poaching skills with vinegar!

  • #66
  • Comment by Stanislao
You found the one vegetable with significant fat content. I am impressed.
  • FX's answer→ Yes I looked long and hard!

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