Some of you will not go for this. I get it. I might have been one of you had I not experienced this meal with friends a few weeks ago. Putting a poached egg in the middle of a bowl of tomato soup isn’t something I would have done on my own, but it was on the menu at the Boat Street Café‘ and they know what they’re doing.
My friend Mary lives in the Midwest now and visits Seattle once each year. Four of us are particularly inclined to frolic together when she’s here and lunch at the Boat Street Café’ was part of a downtown fling. They thought the tomato soup with a poached egg irresistible, I didn’t and ordered something else.
When their soups arrived I was a little envious and the waitperson brought me a small bowl to taste. All of it turned out to be delicious food, but the soup was something extraordinary, both culinarily and visually.
I thought I’d try it, turn some of last summer’s tomato sauce into soup, and have my own bistro moment at home. The poaching of the egg is the center point and I asked if they’d poached it right in the soup. No. Poached separately. Sprinkled with a few fresh herbs and breadcrumbs on the side, this was a memorable food experience and a delicious taste of last summer.
Ah yes, summer and tomatoes. Newly planted ones will take us to preserving them again and this bowl of soup proves that the preservation endeavor in August and September is worth it.
I heated the tomato sauce, garlicky already, added a little water and called it soup.
Then I poached an egg. Honestly, that’s it. Add fresh herbs and cheesy breadcrumbs on top if you like.
There are several good ways to poach an egg. This one requires no special equipment. Fill a shallow-sided pan with two to three inches of water, add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and bring water barely to a simmer. Slide one egg at a time from a small dish into softly simmering water. Alice Waters recommends no bubbling at all for best poaching. Cook very gently for two – three minutes – you might need to experiment with the timing. Remove with a slotted spoon or spatula, trim the edges if you like and slip directly into the soup or, more conventionally, on to a piece of toast. Salt & pepper. Can’t explain it, but to eat a delicate, perfectly poached egg is an exquisite experience.
Last summer’s preserved tomatoes made it possible to make a tasty meal in a flash. Eggs from the Farmers Market, tomatoes from the backyard, I’d say this is a seriously local meal.