Sunday, January 29, 2012


Salade Lyonnaise, Mendocino style
Ukiah, Mendocino county, California, January 28, 2012—
THE SEAT OF GOVERNMENT in this rural county to the north of ours, Ukiah seems on very little direct knowledge an interesting jumble of blue-collar, agricultural, administrative, and student populations. Of course today's experience is confined to a two-block radius around the court house, where we're attending "mock trials" of a murder case, prosecuted and defended by teams of high-school students learning about both law and theater (as if there were that much distinction in real life).

But this site, as I've said before, is about food, not law and order. Lunch involved that classic, ham and cheese on a baguette, with a glass of orange juice; cappuccino and Danish to follow. Except that the cheese was cheddar rather than some kind of Swiss, everything was all I could ask.

Courthouse Bakery, 113 West Perkins St., Ukiah; (707)462-1670

Dinner? We didn't want to hang around too late, so it was more of a very late lunch, seven of us at table. After a decent Martini I ordered a Lyonnaise salad — as some readers know by now, a favorite here — and a side of french fries. The salad, as you see in this theatrical photo, boasted two eggs, steamed rather than poached I'd guess, and lots of tasty lardons: tasty and healthful. Afterward, a chocolate-walnut tart that was more like a marquise in a pastry shell, dense and delicious.
Patrona, 130 W. Standley, Ukiah; (707) 462-9181


Curtis Faville said...


What's your formula for poaching an egg?

Drop it in water, or place it in little circular molds which mimic the even temperature of heated liquid?

Putting an egg on top of anything probably improves it.

Charles Shere said...

Yes: that's what I meant by "steamed rather than poached."

To poach an egg, you bring water to a simmer, then slide a raw egg into it; when it's cooked, you lift it out. Simple to say; trickier to do. The egg white tends to go all ragged, as if its periphery were doing anything it could to disassociate itself from the yolk.

Some say you can facilitate things by (1) salting the water, or (2) adding vinegar or some other acid, or (3) stirring the water into a domestic waterspout. I have tried all these things, and have gone back to basics. See that the water is simmering gently; slide the egg in gently; be patient with it.

Lift it out with a slotted spoon and set it atop the salad, or the English muffin, or whatever you plan to roof with a poached egg (which will, as you say, probably improve it).

Then there are those little circular molds, small shallow pans, each big enough for one Large hen's egg. You set one or more of these things in a shallow pan of simmering water, maybe put a teeny dollop of butter in it, let that melt, then slide a raw egg in. Usually you're encouraged to cover the entire affair.

To my mind the result is a steamed egg. A steam-poached egg. Not that far from a soft-boiled egg, which is simply an egg steam-poached in its own shell. These are all fine, but not the same as a poached egg.

And why buy, or own, or store, or clean, yet another piece of kitchen hardware?