If I hadn’t eaten the Turkish eggs at Peter Gordon’s restaurant, The Providores, I most certainly wouldn’t be tempted by the idea of poached eggs on Greek yogurt. I say that only to preempt any hesitancy on your part. For çilbir, pronounced“chulburr,” is a
revelation and a complete sensation.
If you can’t get the Aleppo pepper, also known as pul biber or Turkish red pepper flakes, which has a mild, almost sweet heat and a distinctive lemoniness, you could substitute paprika, adding a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes. But, in these days of online grocery shopping, I’d encourage you to go for the real thing.
If you have an egg-poaching method of your own that you’re perfectly happy with, ignore my instructions below. But if you’re interested, this is how I, having tried just about every way in order to overcome an almost pathological fear of egg poaching, go about it. I know the business of putting the eggs in a strainer seems like a fussy step too far (and I admit I don’t always follow my own instructions), but here’s the thing: the crucial element in creating beautifully formed poached eggs is how fresh they are, as the longer they sit after they’ve been laid, the more watery the egg whites become. And since a freshly laid egg is generally held to be one that has been laid no longer than 48 hours before it’s cooked, I very much doubt the eggs I buy at the supermarket count. If you
gently crack an egg into a fine-mesh strainer and swirl it over a bowl, the wateriness (which turns into a stringy kind of fluff while cooking) drips away, and the gelled white that remains holds its shape more. Having said that, I do think that unless you’ve worked
the brunch station at a busy restaurant for months on end, you’ll be hard pushed to turn out perfectly formed poached eggs every time. So do not feel that anything less than perfection is a mistake, and accept a little straggliness here and there.
— Nigella Lawson
• ON-DEMAND: Listen to Faith and Nigella talk about this recipe, and others from Nigella’s book, on The Faith Middleton Food Schmooze®. •
Excerpted from the book AT MY TABLE by Nigella Lawson. © 2018 by Nigella Lawson. Reprinted with permission from Flatiron Books. All rights reserved. Photography by Jonathan Lovekin.