“…lost to almost everything but a vague sense of jam and idleness”* Although, pace Maggie Tulliver, in my case “jam” was supplanted by “lunch”. This perfectly conceived emotion had caught my imagination as I was reading last night and had come flooding back as I sat in our sun filled kitchen this morning contentedly considering, that most important of midday things, what should I cook myself for lunch. Cooking for oneself and eating alone is not to everyone’s taste but it is a pleasure that I have always enjoyed because it is not continually imposed. Memories of lone lunches, such as a well put together welsh rarebit with a bottle of cidre de garde at St,John, Clerkenwell or jamon iberico with a chilled fino at the bar of Moro, come to mind together with the fact that the dish in question was not complicated yet always satisfying and toothsome. Oeufs Meurette is such a dish and is perfect to make at home as the ingredients required are not too Hoxton so it’s more than likely that you’ll have them without losing spontaneity by first heading to the shops. Whenever I make this dish, which is probably two or three times a year, it occurs to me that I have never eaten a better version than my own…anywhere…yet.
Ingredients…( the amounts relate to me cooking this dish for myself )
Banana shallot 1
Lardons fumés 100gms
Garlic clove crushed
Large glass of red wine
Vinaigre du vin rouge/Jerez/cidre….add some to the salted egg poaching water
Cut the shallot into 4 quarters lengthwise and brown, with the lardons and crushed garlic, in the butter in a small, thick based, frying pan for 5 mins. Stir in the flour and cook, moving the ingredients about, for another 5 mins. Add the wine and bay leaf and cook, bubbling over a medium flame, until it has thickened. If it’s too thick, add some wine and so on. Season with salt and pepper …I add a pinch of sugar.
Meanwhile poach the eggs in boiling salted water and vinegar and, when ready, put them into a bowl or small dish.
Spoon the sauce around the eggs…..add some chopped parsley…I always have it ready and forget to put it on.
Fried bread is good with this.
- the quotation is from George Eliot’s “Mill on the Floss”