French Laundry-Inspired Huevos Rancheros with Poached Egg and Pureed Roasted Poblano

Clearly the picture you see above is not huevos rancheros. It is, rather, pan-roasted scallops with morel mushrooms and aspargus puree, which is what the Missus and I had for dinner Friday night. The recipe came from Thomas Keller's "The French Laundry Cookbook," which I recently purchased. Keller is a bona fide culinary genius according to everyone. Some day I will eat at the French Laundry, or Per Se. Until then I'll have to content myself with whatever humble approximations I can eke out from his book, our tiny kitchen, and a relatively limited selection of sources. Could I make every recipe in this book? Depends. Want to sell me an entire pig's head?

I'll not be posting Keller's recipe, in keeping with my loosely-kept policy of not posting others' recipes without direct permission. So you'll settle for a consolation prize, perhaps?

You see, browsing through the book's large and elegantly-designed pages I was inspired to try something new with an old favorite. My obsession with huevos rancheros goes back to my youth in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and is known to anyone who has either read this blog regularly, or known me since 1990. Even after three years of cohabitation and 1 1/2 years of marriage, the Missus still largely feigns support of this obsession, but I suppose I shouldn't blame her for the occasional "can we just have pancakes for breakfast today?" I'm also sure that at least two of my readers (which I believe constitutes 1/3 of my readership) are thinking to themselves "is he seriously writing about huevos rancheros again? Yes! But I must say, the Missus gave this iteration her full support.

A number of Keller's recipes contain purees, and I wanted to see what I could do along those lines. The only thing this recipe shares with traditional huevos is some basic ingredients, but the preparation is unique. The measurements below are only approximate, but this is the sort of thing you can and should experiment with.

(1) The green stuff you see above consists of roasted and peeled poblano peppers pureed with salt and olive oil (delicious by itself).

(2) The brown stuff is my traditional beans, but pureed. It consists of sauteed onions and garlic mixed with spices (cumin, coriander, oregano, smoked paprika, and mace or allspice), san marzano tomatoes, and a bit of chicken stock. Stew all of that for about 20 minutes, then puree.

(3) The potatoes I sliced on a mandoline for uniformity, then cut into the wedges you see below. I boiled them for a few minutes to soften them up, then put them in a bath of ice water to stop the cooking. I then drained them, and coated them in a mixture of 3 parts flour to 1 part ground cumin and 1 part ground coriander. I then fried them in about 2/3 inch of vegetable oil and put them on a paper towel to absorb the oil.

(4) The egg was poached, then garnished with fresh chives and diced shallots that had been sauteed in olive oil in which I soaked annatto seeds (the seeds impart a wonderful orange color and rich flavor to the olive oil).

Serve with really good coffee! And for a more decadent experience, a dollop of sour cream or creme fraiche.

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