After tasting the sunflower seed risotto made by Alex Talbot of Ideas in Food this summer here in Chicago, I said to my lovely wife, “I am going to go home and order a pressure cooker immediately.” In the heat of the moment, it sounded like a great idea, but like some of those, it was lost by the wayside. A pressure cooker did, if fact, make it onto my wish list and I received one over the holidays.
More than a month later, I opened the box, washed out the pressure cooker and started my first cook with it. With some back and forth with Shannon, from Cibo Matto, I had a plan to try pressure cooked eggs. It seems as if my desires tend towards making the egg runnier – to have the yolk as safely uncooked as possible. This took it in a completely different direction. By pressure cooking the egg for an hour at 15 psi, the boiling temperature was pushed even higher and the egg actually had undergone the Maillard reaction. Yes, a brown boiled egg.
You might be wondering why this is desirable. The truth is that the color is indicative of the flavors which, while foreign to me in context of eggs, were not foreign at all. The egg “white” tastes like deeply roasted chicken – to me, like skin-on white meat. The yolk, whose colors indicated that they were overcooked by conventional standards, had a flavor mixing chicken thigh and liver – again deeply roasted, this time almost fried.
It was so curious to me that such flavors could come from an egg. I knew what an egg tasted like and it never tasted like a chicken. They did now and since I had a little leftover buffalo sauce, I figured buffalo chicken eggs would be a good pair. It was. It also should be noted that peeling a pressure cooked egg is infinitely easier than peeling a regular boiled egg.
To me, the pressure cooker opens many new avenues. I am not one to beg for things to be done faster and certainly not easier, but when things can be done that could not have been done before, I get a little excited. This is exactly one of those times. Hopefully, the next one of those times might include me making that sunflower seed risotto.