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Chef's Kitchen

Guest chefs give us a tip that elevates their cooking, and provide a recipe that highlights their tip so you can practice at home. Our guest chef this month is Executive Chef Jesse Souza of Six Seven Restaurant & Lounge at the Edgewater Hotel. Six Seven offers Pacific Northwest cuisine: seasonally-inspired, crafted with the freshest and finest organic and naturally-raised ingredients for use in their chef special preparations. Wine selections are ever-evolving and include artisan, boutique, and hard-to-find Washington, Oregon, and Northern California wineries. And have we mentioned the view? Gorgeous!

A native of New England, Chef Jesse Souza grew up appreciating the bounty of the seasons. He has worked in every corner of the U.S. at hotel and resort restaurants, joining Nobel House Hotels & Resorts in 2002 as part of the kitchen staff at Little Palm Island Resort & Spa in the Florida Keys. In 2007, he took on the executive chef position at BALEENmiami at The Grove Isle Hotel & Spa, soon overseeing the kitchen at BALEENnaples at La Playa Beach & Golf Resort in 2008. He then moved to Riviera Palm Springs in 2012. Most recently, he was executive chef of Taj Boston, overseeing the restaurant menu and operations. He has great regard for the New American cuisine movement and varied regional dishes, and enjoys creating Northwest specialties like salmon, cod, and Heritage pork loin.

 

Poaching eggs easily for dishes where a little "comfort" is in order, by Executive Chef Jesse Souza

In recent years, eggs - especially gorgeous molten yolky eggs - have gone far past the standard brunch fare and have wound up garnishing any number of savory a la carte dishes. Fried and served on top of burgers, griddled in the middle of a thick piece of toast, cooked slowly sous vide, or classically poached, they are everywhere that chefs need to add some richness and a little bit of "comfort." The egg does more than add richness … it adds a familiarity and sense of place.

One of the most popular places for a little runny yolk is the top of a pasta or risotto dish. Dishes like a carbonara, which traditionally have an egg-enriched sauce, or a risotto with egg-friendly ingredients like mushroom, asparagus, spinach, or tomato, are common choices. It gives the diner the chance to wait and break the egg at the right moment and mix the yolk to give the dish an instant flavor boost - especially if the kitchen has seasoned the egg properly with coarse salt and fresh pepper. Other great seasoning ideas include smoked paprika, truffle, chive, toasted garlic, herb pistou, parmesan, really anything that will mix with the yolk when broken and ultimately become another sauce for the dish.

Out of all the egg preparations, we wanted to talk a little about poaching eggs. Poaching eggs is often something that is not done, or done well, in home kitchens and therefore people avoid it. There are a couple of simple tips for the preparation and serving which will make it much more user-friendly for the home cook.

Vinegar Is Your Friend

When poaching eggs, bring lightly salted water up to a boil, reduce to a gentle simmer, and acidulate the water with white wine vinegar. A good starting ratio is one tablespoon of vinegar per quart of water. The vinegar helps to quickly coagulate the egg whites and keeps the resulting product tighter and neater in appearance. Usual poaching time is 3-4 minutes; egg should still have a good wobble, but not be super loose or hard to get out of the water with a slotted spoon.

Embrace the Vortex

Just before adding the eggs (which must be done gently, obviously - some prefer to crack the egg into a bowl and then slide it into the water), spin the water with a spoon to create a vortex in the middle of the pot. Carefully slide an egg into the vortex and the action of the water will help to keep it together. This is not always necessary, but it can help. Plus, I like the word "vortex."

Chill & Trim

Trying to poach and serve eggs for 8 or 12 while entertaining guests is not what I would call a fun time. Follow the method for poaching eggs above, but have an ice-and-water bath handy. Once the eggs are cooked to desired doneness - typically a "poached medium" - remove them from the simmering water and plunge immediately into ice water. After ten minutes or so, remove and pat dry, then trim strands and rough edges with knife or kitchen shears. You can store them in the refrigerator well-covered until you need them, at which time you would just re-submerge them in simmering water (no vinegar needed) until hot, maybe one to two minutes. Then serve immediately.

Click here to see Chef Souza's recipe

Six Seven, at The Edgewater Hotel
2411 Alaskan Way, Pier 67
Seattle, WA 98121
206-269-4575

www.edgewaterhotel.com

April 2017


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