Egg a la Fernand Point

Place a lump of fresh butter in a pan or egg dish and let it melt – that is, just enough for it to spread, and never, of course, to crackle or spit; open a very fresh egg onto a small plate or saucer and slide it carefully into the pan; cook it on heat so low that the white barely turns creamy, and the yolk becomes hot but remains liquid; in a separate saucepan, melt another lump of fresh butter; remove the egg onto a lightly heated serving plate; salt it and pepper it, then very gently pour this fresh, warm butter over it. – Fernand Point

I’d been thinking about butter and Chef Point.  It occurred to me that the best way to get a sense of his approach would be try to make a recipe or two of his.  Like anything else, I decided to try something fundamental and approachable: cooking an egg from Chef Point’s point of view. Researching various webpages, the ‘lump of butter’ might be equated to Chef Ramsay’s ‘knob of butter’.  A number of webpages were suggesting that ‘lump of butter’ might be in the region of 1 tablespoon of butter.  So that meant Chef Point was asking for two separate melted tablespoons of butter – 1 to cook the egg and 1 to sauce it.  It seemed to be a lot of butter, so I thought I might plate the egg on a nice piece of toast to catch the rest of the butter ‘saucing’ the egg. So the ingredient list looked like:

  • 1 large egg fresh (probably should be room temperature)
  • 2 tablespoons butter – 1 for cooking the egg, the other for melting and pouring over the egg
  • salt and ground black pepper

To follow Chef Point’s recipe, I needed to know how to melt the butter, his way.  Butter, apparently has a melting point of 95 degrees F (give or take).  On the lowest heat setting on my electric burner, 1/4 c of water out of the tap (about 77 degrees F) took about 10 minutes to reach 95 degrees F. Oh and by the way, this was also assuming the butter was ALSO at room temperature.

That meant, to even start this dish, I would have to take my egg(s)and butter out of refridgerator a good 20 minutes before that to

make sure IT was at room temperature before I even attempted to make this simple dish.  That would also mean I would have to

Butter in the cooking pan

start TWO pans, each with a tablespoon of butter on the stove about the same time (so that I would have the fresh melted butter for

second allocated butter to be melted as sauce/garnish

plating after cooking the egg).  No wonder Chef Point made this a test for his potential new hires.  It would have to demonstrate

about 4 minutes to melt the butter

understanding of the basic ingredients and time management.

sliding the egg into the melted butter

So I got the melted butter started on my lowest setting (~9% max power) and slid the egg into the butter.

after 10 minutes of cooking

I patiently waited for the egg to set and checked in on the egg while I was getting my serving plate ready.

after 20 minutes of cooking

I was expecting the egg to be done after 20 minutes, but it was clear that it wasn’t as set as I had expected it to be.

after 30 minutes of cooking

So I began checking every 5 minutes after that and then the egg seemed to be set enough.  Interestingly, in all this time, the egg never really stuck to my All-Clad pan.

Melted butter a couple of minutes before the egg reached the 30 minute cooking mark

At the 25 minute mark, I started melting the other butter as a the sauce/garnish to the dish as instructed by Chef Point.

Egg a la Point, smoked salmon, toast

Once the egg was done and the other pot had melted butter, I transferred the egg to top a plate of toast, and slices of smoked salmon.  As instructed, I poured the butter from the other pot carefully over the egg, noting how the heated butter finished ‘cooking’ the egg on top.   I’ve notice other internet webpages talking about covering the pan and letting it ‘steam cook’ the egg and leaving out the additional butter topping when completing this dish.  The consequence is that it seems  the eggs prepared in that particular manner have a milky-coloured ‘veil’.

It was a nice simple breakfast.  If I had to do it again, I’d perhaps use the setting between ‘Lo’ and ‘1’ (~13.5% max heat) to cook the dish. Hopefully I’d get the same result in much less time. My sense is that you also need to ‘know your stove’ as far as the heat settings go when doing a dish like this. And so perhaps this was another ‘test’ Chef Point was examining regarding the cooks/chefs he wanted to hire.  Maybe I would also finish this dish with black pepper and truffle salt.

Commentary (17 May 2020)

I decide to remake this breakfast, as it were, with 2 eggs (and 2 T of butter).  Considering my thoughts on the heat setting, I re-read the instructions from Chef Point in regards to the butter in which the egg(s) were to be cooked: …never, of course, to crackle or spit. (or for that matter, bubble –  added emphasis mine).  I had seen some videos/commentaries about claiming to have cooked the egg within 4-5 minutes. So I wondered about raising the heat higher than I had in my documented attempt above.  It turns out I got decent results when I set my heat to between 1 and 2 (~23% max heat) on my electric stove?  I noticed that if I turned the dial to 2, the butter would start to bubble at the edges of the egg white, something I’m sure Chef Point would not want.

So it turned out, cooking the 2 eggs in the butter at heat dial “1.5” (~23% max heat) gave me the results I was looking for in about 6-8 minutes.

Update (7 June 2020) –

In making breakfast this morning, I repeated this cooking technique for 2 eggs using ~23% max heat and 1 T grapeseed oil/egg. I managed to get the same results after about 8 minutes.  Obviously, there was no butter flavor on the eggs, but the ‘cooked’ doneness was exactly the same had I used butter.   Nice to know that I have this technique well in hand.

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