In this exclusive MasterClass clip, the Chez Panisse chef demonstrates how to make one of her signature dishes.
Alice Waters may be a superstar in the culinary world—she founded the legendary Chez Panisse—but she still likes to keep things simple in her own kitchen. In her new MasterClass, which debuts May 25, she hopes to share some of her techniques with home cooks. First up, one of her most famous dishes, the Egg on a Spoon. In this clip from the class, Waters makes it look easy to cook an egg over an open fire.
You know the dish from the minor controversy Waters stirred when she debuted her hand-forged egg spoon on a segment for 60 Minutes in 2009— a clip that resurfaced earlier this year after Tamar Adler's Grubstreet Diet and caused another round of outbursts. (Read Kat Kinsman's take if you haven't already.) But this dish truly epitomizes the “slow food” movement, which values traditional cooking methods made with local ingredients.
To make this dish—which she admits is “eccentric”—Waters carefully cracks one egg in a bowl, adding pepper and salt on top. She then pours some olive oil into the egg spoon, and this part is very important: You have to spread the olive oil all over the inside of the spoon, otherwise the egg will stick.
You’ll want to set the spoon right on the coals. Oh did I not mention that part? Yup, to make this dish the right way, you have to start a fire. Waters happens to have one in her kitchen, but if you don’t have that luxury, you could always make it on an outdoor fire pit, while, say, on a camping trip.
Once the egg starts to cook, it should start to puff up, even bubble. When the egg gets brown on the top, it’s done. Simple, flavorful, and worth the effort.
Waters is so serious about this dish that she says her daughter jokes that she can tell when her mother likes a man if she makes him the Egg on a Spoon. But in all seriousness, Waters says that this method of cooking eggs—while perhaps a little too involved to do on a daily basis—is all part of the “magic of cooking with fire.”