If there is any group of people who know how to cook with red wine – it is the French from the Burgundy region. And they are the ones who brought to fame Oeufs en Meurette. Who knew that eggs and red wine went together so well?
The center of this dish is a poached egg, served a top a buttery croute, with a red wine reduction sauce (sauce meurette). Sounds weird? It is – but it is also extremely delicious and the best way I can think of to utilize the unfinished bottled of red wine the morning after a dinner party.
One of the keys to executing the dish well is a properly poached egg (not over done and not too raw and runny). The proper poached egg has a creamy yolk that slides out of the white when broken with the consistency of heavy cream. An under done yolk will run like water and be completely raw. An overdone yolk will be congealed.
To achieve the proper poached egg, keep in mind that this is poaching not boiling. The water should be barely at a simmer, not boiling. To ensure the egg will not fall apart in the water, use a just a bit of white vinegar in the poaching liquid and a poaching ring if you have it, they work wonderfully. Crack the egg into a small prep bowl or a tea cup. When the water is at the right temperature – slide the egg gently out of the cup into the poaching ring. Once the white is set, remove the ring and allow the egg to finish poaching. Total cook time is 2-4 minutes for a large egg.
If making Oeufs en Meurette, lift the poached egg out of the water with a slotted spoon and place on top of your prepared croute. Spoon the sauce meurette on the plate around the croute and egg and serve. This sauce is the other important component of the dish. It makes this dish unique to Burgundy, France. Luckily it is quite simple to prepare. Once you have mastered this dish, you will have a wonderful brunch dish that has the elegance of French gourmet cooking with a simple recipe. Bon appetite!
See Recipes for sauce meurette
Note: A croute is a slice of bread (usually white), crust removed, toasted in a pan with butter until crisped on both side.
The Good: Eggs, as mentioned before in my “Farm Fresh Eggs” entry, are a great source of vitamins and minerals as well as being a complete protein. The red wine reduction sauce is lighter than other egg sauces (like hollandaise).
The Bad: Eggs are high in cholesterol (211 mg per egg). The croute is typically made with butter, which is high in saturated fat, calories, and cholesterol. The sauce meurette is typically made with some bacon and bacon fat.
The Recommendations: Try this with a whole wheat bread croute and toast in a moderate amount of olive oil instead of butter. The sauce meurette will taste delicious cooked with only a small amount (1 oz) of bacon. Do not over salt. If you are going all out – save it for a special brunch.