Thursday, December 31, 2009

BRIK A L'OEUF-- by three buddies

Betsy displays the ingredients
Her ingredients on the phyllo dough
Wrapping it up....this part looks scary
Da Dah! Bravo Betsy diva you.

It's Marlena Spieler's recipe from Jewish Cooking and my blogger pal, Eileen, made it for one of her Sundays with Marlena. Then, we have a video of Marlena making them...over at Betsy's house! Last but not least, we have Betsy McNair making them while on the East Coast... through photos.

I think I better try to make it! BTW, the recipe calls for preserved lemons. How the hell do ya make those? Well, a local blogger (and quite famous in her own right) has a great recipe for it and you can find it here...or I bet you could buy them.


Carolyn Jung said...

Preserved lemons couldn't be easier to make. You just need lemons, salt and a sterilized jar. Well, that, and a little patience. You can see the transformation here:

I hope you try making them. They're so great to have on hand in the fridge. Just threw some chopped up preserved lemon peel in with seared Brussels sprouts, garlic and olive oil in a hot pan. Yum!

Happy holidays!

betsy said...

In my years of catering I flag-folded hundreds of phyllo-wrapped appetizers every week, and "easy" is not a word I ever used to describe working with it. More like "fiddly" and "fussy."

Enter Marlena and her handbag full of tricks y voila! I'm pulling out the phyllo on a moments notice and convincing people that working with it can be easy.

Here's what I learned watching Marlena: 1. Loosen up around phyllo! 2. No brushing with butter means it really is super quick - and much lighter than the butter-soaked phyllo dishes I'd made before. 3. The pastry doesn't have to be perfectly folded, nor does it matter if it cracks, it will all brown up nicely in the pan. I've even grabbed a second sheet at the last minute and used it to rescue a bursting brik. And I've completely let go of the flag-fold in favor of free-form.

My tips: Place the herbs, lemon, harissa, etc. evenly across the pastry so that when you cut into it you'll get a little bit of everything in each bite. Put the egg in last, otherwise the pastry starts to get soggy and that makes it harder to handle. Also, doing this means you can put the egg in the center of everything and have a chance of it saying there. (I said a chance, it is still a raw egg after all.) Somewhere online I saw someone assemble their brik in a shallow bowl, I tried that and it does help keep things in place.

The one part of the recipe that I am still working on perfecting is the cooking of the egg. Once it's inside the crispy pastry I'm lost as to how to tell how done it is. Marlena's whites were firm and the yolks perfectly runny, upping the unctuous factor big time. Poor me, I might have to make a few more brik today to see if I can figure that one out.