Weekend Herb Blogging

Or, how I made a dish and wasn't brave enough to try it.
Consider this cowardice on my part, or consider your own personal reaction to raw egg yolk. Perhaps you don't like anchovies, beetroot, parsley or raw onion. If so, this dish isn't for you.
Actually, this is a dish of great beauty but in a spiky Egon Schiele way, rather than a voluptuous Dante Rossetti way. After spying it in a Tamasin Day-Lewis book and having a curiosity about it ever since, I decided to prepare it for this weekends Weekend Herb Blogging being hosted this month by Ulrike at Kuchenlatein.
This is an event that I really enjoy participating in because I am not a big meat eater but I find some vegetarian food to be dull so this gives me the opportunity to experiment in the kitchen on a quiet Sunday afternoon AND I get to pinch ideas from other people too!
So, as I mentioned, this dish combines beetroot, that delicate, sweet root vegetable that stains your fingers deep pink, freshly chopped parsley for it's clean, grassy taste, raw onion for a hot taste and gherkins for their sour tartness. The salt element is provided by chopped anchovies and the whole dish is - literally - bound together with a raw egg yolk. The dish is a Swedish delicacy called Sologa or 'Suns Eye'. It also goes by the name of Birds Nest, which presumably represents the concentric circles of the various ingredients, and the yolk representing the egg or baby bird.
This is not a dish for the faint hearted, nor is it for the impatient or heavy handed. It took me well over 20 minutes to make one of these little platefuls, which constitutes no more than four or five mouthfuls (it is supposed to be served as an appetiser or part of a smorgasbord). However, further investigation of the dish revealed that it would be wise to use 5 glasses or cooking rings, all of increasing diameter, to make this quickly. I can reinstate that this would, indeed, be a good idea.
My husband, he of Swedish/German heritage, enjoyed this dish greatly. He mixed it all up and ate atop Rye Bread, declaring that the egg yolk enhanced and combined the complexity of the other ingredients. My husband grew up eating Swedish food and he has somewhat of the Swedish demeanour, so he didn't even flinch at the egg yolk. I, on the other hand, a lily livered Brit who was brought up in a household that wouldn't even eat lamb or duck, much less raw egg yolk, just couldn't bring myself to try it. However, as a talking point for a (very) small dinner party, it certainly is a lovely dish to serve, and the more adventurous guests would also relish the unique flavour.
SOLOGA 'Sun's Eye' serves 1 person
Ingredients:
1 Egg Yolk
4 Cornichons, drained, chopped into miniscule chunks
3 Anchovies, drained, chopped into - you guessed it - miniscule chunks
1-2 Tablespoons White Onion, ditto
Half a small globe of pickled beetroot, ditto
2 Tablespoons finely Chopped Parsley
METHOD:
Starting with the anchovies, arrange all the ingredients in ever increasing circles, leaving a hole in the middle for the yolk to be carefully dropped into once ready to serve.
Serve with Rye Bread or Toast.

17 comments:

Ulrike said...

Wow, that looks impressive! Thanks for joining the WHB this week.

Kathryn said...

Freya

this looks fab! It made me laugh though - that you made a dish you wouldn't eat. I don't know if I would. It certainly doesn't tempt me (the raw egg bit)... but then I would want to eat it - I don't know! Hmm. I guess I'm an indecisive lily livered Brit!!!

Kathryn

sandi@ the whistlestop cafe said...

Looks beautiful...but no thanks! I'd love to see the looks on the family's face if I brought this out. Shoo-we.

Anonymous said...

Paul, you are 3/4 Swedish, some German and a little Dutch. Reading this brought back the memory of eating Kabobs and cooked rice with a raw egg yolk and butter that Hashem Mohseni-Zoonozi would fix for us. The Kabos and rice with egg became a family favorite when the rice was hot enough to cook the raw egg yolk. That was a hard one to master when we would eat this meal outside at the picnic table and the rice got cold so the heat of the rice did not cook the raw egg yolk. And then Gin, our Japanese friend, recommends egg yolk and soy sauce on hot rice. Congratulations on the cold raw egg yolk something they really discourage in the US now due to salmonella.

mrbunsrocks said...

Looks intriguing....I probably wouldn't have eaten it either though....I have egg issues.....

Funny though, how I will only eat a hockey-puck hard fried egg, yet I have little/no issues with copious amounts of cupcake batter....hmmm.....

Gemma said...

I can't decide if I would try this or not - I think it would have to be in front of me to make a decision! It certainly looks impressive though.

Gemma x

Steven said...

Freya,

This is a dish I've never heard of so I read your story with interest. I can unequivocally say that I try most things once and this dish would be one of those. I like all the ingredients (love anchovies!). The raw egg is the only thing which I'm umm-ing and ahh-ing about....

Freya said...

Ulrike, glad you like it! Thanks for hosting this weekend! Look forward to the line-up as usual!

Kathryn, what are we Brit girls like, eh? As I assembled it, I felt sure I would try and then when I broke the yolk for the picture, I just couldn't do it!! I'm a baby!!

Sandi, I think this is turning into one of those Look But Don't Taste dishes!!

Judith, It's great to see your comment! I keep asking Paul to recreate that rice but I think he needs the recipe - is it in the family cookbook?

Mr Buns, I was trying to tell myself that it's just a cold fried egg but it really isn't!!

Gemma, perhaps some shots of tequilla would do the trick! I think that may be the only way I could try it - Dutch courage!

Steven, thanks for dropping by! According to my husband the yolk ties the whole dish together...

Helene said...

That looks great. As I´m afraid of raw eggs I try it with a cooked one, in a cup bathed in water.

Ros said...

Well, I've eaten steak tartare, so I'd eat this! It looks very, very pretty.

I remember the first time I had egg yolk raw in a dish. It was in a Korean restaurant and it was mixed in with raw beef and pear. I probably shouldn't have tried that dish on the evening before a 13 hour flight!

Freya said...

Hi Helene! That sounds like a more palatable idea actually! I think I could manage the yolk if I knew it had been cooked, even a tiny bit!

Ros, why am I not surprised that you've eaten steak tartare, given your well documented love of meat on the blue side!!

Freya x

Shaun said...

Freya - It is unsurprising that this post has generated so many comments. I have shown this recipe to many friends to guage their reactions, and they were ALL hesitant. Tamasin Day-Lewis has included this recipe in two of her cookery books, almost convincing me to make it. The eggs would HAVE to be organic. It's great that you made it and that your always obliging hubby was able to tell you how it tasted. Even after his description you weren't tempted? I was...

Freya said...

Hi Shaun, the eggs were organic bantam eggs from a little farm up the road from us (we make a trip there every sunday for our eggs), I won't use any other kind. I always make Paul try things first if I'm dubious and he said to me that he didn't think it was my thing so...still, I'm glad I made it, if only because it is so beautiful!

Brilynn said...

It's definitely art... maybe not food... j/k.

Margaret said...

I think this dish looks -interesting! Now I am going to send you out onto the streets to see if you can get anyone to eat it!!

Katie said...

The yolk's not much different than a runny yolk in a poached egg - just tell yourself that.

I think is looks fantastic and would/will be more than happy to try it!

Anonymous said...

I don't think it is in the family cookbook but the rice is cooked normally, then you add a fair amount of butter and an egg yolk, two yolks if you cook a lot of rice. Once you have added the butter and yolk, you stir the rice to mix the two ingredients.
If you are really bold, each person could have a dish for the white of the egg in front of them and add their own yolk to their serving of rice then stir around.
The Kabob was made with 1 lb ground lamb, one onion grated very fine into the meat, salt and pepper to taste and put on the charcoal grill. Hashem used hamburger when he could not get lamb.