In addition to crispy fried wings and a crash course in butchering, the Great Water Fowl Experiment yielded one more excellent byproduct: gallons of duck stock. Rich, ducky, and delicious looking, I immediately poured it all in Tupperware and stuck it in the back of the freezer in anticipation of some future delicious soup. But two weeks later, anxious to clear out space in the freezer in favor of such delicacies as French Toast Sticks and Bagel Bites, we decided it was finally time to do something with all that stock. After several days of trolling the online food community for good ideas, an acquaintance mentioned the idea of duck ramen. I was a little wary of this idea, having made it through four years of college without resorting to the quintessential student ramen diet. Consequently, I am more familiar with ramen of the David Chang variety than the Cup-o-Noodles variety, and the Momofuku cookbook’s 23 gazillion required ingredients just for the broth seemed a little daunting. So, I threw that idea out the window (DChang is more of a pork man anyway), and decided to make it up as I went along.
A slow day at work facilitated some collective brainstorming on how to assemble this dish, and on the way home I stopped at Whole Foods to pick up bok choy, carrots, soba noodles (couldn’t find the actual ramen noodles), and some radishes. (Side note – why does NO ONE know what bok choy looks like? Marko and I spent 15 tipsy minutes deciding between the different leafy greens only to have someone else ask if we knew which one was bok choy. The joy I felt inside when the cashier rang me up and I saw “baby bok choy” proudly displayed on the screen is indescribable. ) In terms of assembly, we heated up the stock, added some dehydrated mushrooms and the soba noodles to start cooking in the broth, mixed in some ginger, soy sauce, and Sriracha, and when it was all looking ready to go, tossed in the carrots and box choy, stirred it around a little, and ladled it back into the bowls to be topped with radishes and a poached egg.
The finished soup was delicious, but I must say, the poached egg was possibly my biggest accomplishment. I originally intended to do slow-poached eggs, but the sous vide-esque process was looking to take almost an hour and we were hungry. After a brief detour to Google, I returned to the stove ready to poach my first egg. It seems easy enough, crack an egg, drop it in some water, and retrieve a couple of minutes later. And essentially, yes, that’s all that is required. The key, however, is finding the proper vessel with which to deposit the cracked egg into the boiling water. It must be large enough to hold the yolk and white, but structured in such a way as to kind of keep it all together. It must have a handle so the cook doesn’t burn her hand on the boiling water. Now, it probably seems like I’ve just described a ladle as the ideal poach depositor. And I suppose I have, but sadly I don’t own such a ladle. Fortunately, I do own a set of measuring cups, and it turned out the one cup was the perfect size for this endeavor:
Now that I had discovered the perfect vessel, I was set. I placed the egg in the boiling with a splash of vinegar water, waited 90+ seconds, and fetched it with my slotted spoon. But I was a bit overzealous with the spoon, and punctured my egg as I was retrieving it from the briny depths. I reached back into the carton, cracked another egg into the cup, and as I lowered it into the water I had a feeling. It was feeling not unlike the one I had earlier today with 2 minutes left in regulation in the USA v. Canada gold medal game. I knew something great was going to happen in about 96 seconds. And sure enough (final results of the hockey game notwithstanding):