Home Economics [Poached Eggs with Labneh and Paprika Butter]

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Home Ec — that means learning how to boil potatoes and darn a sock, right? Not quite.

I recently had the pleasure of meeting a few home economists on the Farm and Food Care Foundation spring 2013 media tour. After brief “so what do you do” introductions, I do admit that I really had no clue about what they did. As the day wore on, I got a better idea. And as the days wore on, I did a little bit more research into their field.

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Home economics spans a wealth of disciplines. Education is the most recognizable — high school prep classes for everyday home life. But food and nutrition is also part of home economics — anything from policy that influences the food that our communities eat to the recipes that we cook by. Consumer sciences, or how products fit into home life, are also a huge part of home economics.

I’m certainly not covering all of the bases here, but suffice to say that my mind has been opened just a little bit more.

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Poached Eggs with Labneh and Paprika Butter

For the labneh:

750 g full-fat plain yogurt
big pinch of salt
olive oil

Mix the salt into the yogurt. Place a large fine mesh sieve over a mixing bowl. Line the sieve with a double layer of cheesecloth. Pour the yogurt into the sieve. Tie the ends of the cheesecloth around the yogurt. Refrigerate for 2 days.

Untie the cheesecloth. Take the yogurt, now labbneh, out of the cheesecloth and put it in a small, oblong container that just fits it. Press the labneh down with the butt end of a butter knife in a scale pattern. Drizzle 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil evenly over the labneh. Refrigerate, uncovered, for 1 more day. After that, store in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 2 weeks.

For the eggs and assembly:
*adapted from Purple Citrus and Sweet Perfume by Silvena Rowe

¼ cup white vinegar
8 large eggs
1 cup labneh (recipe above)
2 tbsp unsalted butter
4 tsp sweet Spanish paprika
1 tbsp mint leaves, torn
salt and pepper, to taste

Half fill a medium saucepan with salted water and add the vinegar. Heat the water until tiny bubbles form around the pot (approximately 85 degrees C). DO NOT BOIL.

Crack an egg into a slotted spoon. Allow the errant white to fall away, leaving only the white that is firmly attached to the yolk. Create a whirlpool in the pot by stirring the hot water in one direction. Gently glide the egg into the centre of the whirlpool. Repeat with remaining eggs. Do not cook more than two eggs at a time. If an egg seems to be going wrong, scoop it out with a spoon and start again. You’ll need to cook the eggs for 3-4 minutes for a soft yolk and at least 5 minutes for a hard yolk. Transfer the eggs with a slotted spoon to a large bowl of hot water to keep warm.

Heat the butter until foamy in a small skillet over low heat. Add the paprika. Fry for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.

Spread labneh onto 4 plates with a palette knife. Top with two poached eggs. Sprinkle salt and pepper on the eggs. Drizzle with paprika butter. Garnish with mint leaves. Serve with toast.

Serves 4.


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