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Poached eggs served atop forbidden rice

What is it about eggs, lately?

I guess like anything else in my life, once I get my talons in something, I like to explore it to a modicum. The same holds true for guitar, piano, photography, writing et al.

I certainly am no master of any of this gobbledygook, but I do consider myself a jack of at least a few trades, all with little to no compensatory benefits.

This is the life I have chosen, and so be it. I guess this is the result of driving my mother to insanity in my toddler years, relentlessly asking her “but, why?” I was always the “why” kid who couldn’t take science or logic as an explanation.

Recently, my youngest daughter completed her undergraduate studies at Flagler College.

I was thrilled when she decided to finish out her education there, and it was two-fold.

First, I felt that Gabbie had found an institution that matched her demeanor, and one that would help her finish out her college career on solid footing.

Second, it meant frequent trips to St. Augustine for me and any kids who could accompany me. The destination was simply a perk, but it is one that is hard to ignore as that part of Florida is stunning.

One of our favorite restaurants is Sainte George in downtown St. Aug, and among the dishes was the Seared Tuna on Forbidden Rice.

If you have never had this grain (pictured here), suffice it to say that you need to buy some and add it to your pantry.

It is hands-down my favorite grain as it has a lovely bite and a savory, umami flavor profile.

Even simply cooking it with water, salt, pepper and garlic yields a shockingly delicious bed for many a meal.

Unfortunately, they took the tuna off the menu, the deciding factor for my daughter as to where the seven of us were going to eat one of our dinners.

So it goes in the business, and this was Gabbie’s week, so she was given charge to choose our dining spots.

Ironically, not two hours before she called me to tell me that there was no need to eat at our usual spot due to said tuna entrée crisis, I had completely-at-random purchased her an 11-pound bag of forbidden rice on Amazon, scheduled to be delivered the next day to her condo.

She asked what I was laughing at, and I told her nothing, and then a few minutes later told her to keep her eyes open for a package the following day.

She called me laughing, as she not only thought the story itself was funny, but she also thought an 11-pound bag of grains was equally humorous.

I assured her that once they start cooking with it, they’ll thank me.

But I digress, as I started this whole mess off talking about eggs.

I went through a phase for a while where I could not eat them in any form, and for the last couple years, that has not been an issue.

However, they can get boring, so I try to mix it up. Here, I added some fried chili and garlic in oil, something you can now buy in our nation’s largest box store.

Now I have to wonder how I’m cooking my eggs this morning. But, why?

Poached Eggs on Forbidden Rice

serves 4

2 c. Forbidden rice

4 c. Chicken stock

Trimix* as needed

8 ea. Fresh chicken or duck eggs (duck if you can find them)

White vinegar and salt, as needed

Pickled Jalapeno and onion, as needed (recipe follows)

Fried chili and garlic in oil, as needed

  1. Put the rice, water and trimix in a pan large enough to hold it all with a lid (or a rice cooker if you have one).
  2. Bring to a low boil, turn down to a simmer and cover, cooking for about 25 minutes. It is a hearty grain and may need more time so check it and play with it until it is done.
  3. Meanwhile, bring the water, vinegar and salt to a rolling boil. An important note is to make sure that the water is at least 5 inches deep. This helps the eggs to form into that beautiful poached shape as they sink to the bottom.
  4. Crack the eggs into a bowl, ensuring that the yolks do not break
  5. Slowly pour the eggs into the water one-by-one so that they form into lovely balls.
  6. cook until the proper doneness, meaning that the yolks are still nice and runny and the whites are firm. Another note is that you can do these ahead of time and chill them in ice water to stop the cooking process. Then, all you have to do is dunk them for a minute or two at go-time to heat through.
  7. Drain on a kitchen towel or paper towel and keep warm until service
  8. To plate up, simply place the forbidden rice on plates, garnish with the pickled chilies and onions, eggs and fried chili.

*Trimix is my go-to seasoning blend. I picked it up at Johnson & Wales in the late ’80s and it has stuck with me ever since. It is a simple combination of two parts coarse Kosher salt, one part coarse ground pepper and one part granulated garlic.

Paul Suplee is the owner of the boxcar restaurants and is also Senior Lecturer of Culinary Arts at UMES.