Saturdays at NOLA Brunch & Beignets are a big deal. The New Orleans-inspired kitchen serves brunch Tuesday through Saturday, which means brunchers are out in force on Sabados to try and score a table at The Cookhouse’s sister eatery. Owned by chef Pieter Sypesteyn and wife Susan, NOLA delivers a tight menu of beautiful plates made in a ridiculously small kitchen. Out of the 12 large dishes offered, a third of them feature poached eggs, delicately cooked breakfast faves that require finesse and patience to make.
According to Brandon Wright, Sypesteyn’s sous chef, the eatery goes through 120 poached eggs every Saturday — this of course doesn’t include the over easy and scrambled eggs also available on the menu — as they star in every uptown eggs bennie, eggs rockafella, brisket grillades and grits and the hash brown crusted trout. Cook Jessica Torres is tasked with batch poaching the eggs before every shift, and she’s able to prepare 90 eggs before service starts at 8 a.m.
Wright shared a few tips on how to nail that perfect balance of gooey yolk and barely cooked whites on the off chance you’d like to tackle poaching at home and ditch the long wait times.
Make sure to use fresh eggs and crack them individually into small ramekins before using. Wright uses a large, deep pan to bring a gallon of water to a very low simmer, and adds a tablespoon of vinegar. Once tiny bubbles are observed at the bottom of the pan, Wright uses a serving spoon to start a small whirlpool and he slowly drops the egg into the center of it. The egg white will scatter slightly, but the majority of the egg should stay firm. From there, the egg should poach within two to four minutes. Carefully check for doneness using a slotted spoon.