Egg Foo Young

Egg Foo Young, Shiitake Gravy

Egg Foo Young with Mung Bean Sprouts, Pork, and Scallions
Shiitake Gravy

It’s a nostalgic American egg dish borne of Chinese ancestry, one similar to the Italian frittata filled with vegetables and sometimes meat (but no cheese). Here, it’s cooked with a bit more oil than a frittata in order to conjure up the original deep-fried version of Egg Foo Young invented by resourceful Chinese immigrants to California during the Gold Rush.

Ten years ago I posted my Egg Foo Young recipe. A recipe that is still #trending today. Growing up, on most Sunday nights that I can remember, we would drive with our Dad to pick-up Chinese take-out for dinner. I loved that exotic deep-fried thick pancake then and still do…but what was it exactly?

I thought, of course Egg Foo Young was made with eggs. But it didn’t taste like any eggs that I was familiar with. It was oddly brown and mysteriously kind of crunchy. And who serves eggs with gravy, anyway? Gravy is for turkey.

Mom thoroughly enjoyed a Chinese cooking class back in the 60s and learned, among other wonderful things, that broccoli should be served bright green and crisp, not olive green and mushy. But “mung bean sprouts” did not show up in our home any other time except Sunday nights. The sprouts were also an ingredient in beef chop suey, another of our Sunday night favorites.

Recently I told my brother that I was writing about Egg Foo Young and asked if he had any recollection of it from our youth. He said, “Yes, loved egg foo young. Now I think it is too bland, but I order it anyway; because of the memories.”

Ok then, Donny, here is my updated Egg Foo Young recipe with wholesome ingredients reinvented from our past, it’s less greasy than the take-out version we remember because it is cooked in a pan, not deep-fried. It’s savory and evocative of Sunday nights long ago, and anything but bland.

Egg Foo Young Recipe

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Poached Salmon, Lobster Mash, Lentil Gumbo “Gravy”

poached salmon, lobster mash, lentil gravy

Court Bouillon Poached Fresh Salmon
Lobster Mashed Potatoes with Butter and Chives
Gumbo “Gravy” with French Lentils

A piece of fish, mashed potatoes & gravy. On steroids. Inspired by the extraordinary marriage of Lobster Fettuccine with Gumbo Sauce, this dish features buttery lobster mashed potatoes paired with a flavorful seafood-based gumbo “gravy” flecked with earthy French lentils. Fresh salmon filets are poached in a court bouillon, imbuing the fish with subtle lemony herbaceous qualities and a silky texture. The robust flavors and extravagant ingredients remake the everyday combination of fish & potatoes into a voluptuous meal.

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Thank You Julia: Roast Chicken with a Natural Sauce

“A well-roasted chicken is the mark of a fine cook. Even among professionals, it is a source of pride to present a shapely chicken, with beautifully colored skin and perfectly done meat, juicy and tender. There is nothing technically difficult about roasting a chicken but there are many approaches to take…for serving either of our chickens, we suggest a delicious pan sauce.” from Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home.

The oven is preheated to 425°F. The chicken is rinsed thoroughly with hot water and dried with paper towels. Fat lumps are removed from the cavity. The small bony protrusions “nubbins” are removed from the wing-tip joints.

Carving is made easier when the wishbone is removed. This is done by lifting the neck skin and inserting a thin sharp knife into each end of the breast and slicing diagonally along each side of the wishbone.

The finger and thumb are used to loosen the bone, pry it out at the top, pull down, wriggling it out.

“A cooking process such as roasting a chicken is inexact – there is no one way that is the right way,” writes Julia. “Just start with a good chicken and pay attention to how you cook it.”

Voilà! The wishbone is removed!


“Not everything I do with my roast chicken is necessarily scientific,” she says. “For instance I always give my bird a generous butter massage before I put it in the oven. Why? Because I think the chicken likes it, and more important, I like to give it.”

Season the cavity with salt and pepper, stuff it with 4 sprigs of fresh tarragon and 4 thick slices of lemon. Give the lemon a little squeeze as they are inserted. Massage softened butter over the entire chicken skin and salt generously. Squeeze lemon juice over the chicken. “I learned the butter massage when I started cooking for the first time in France and would never give it up.”

The wings were folded up against the breast and the drumsticks tied together with twine. After roasting for 15 minutes, the heat is lowered to 350°F. The chicken is repeatedly basted with accumulated juices. Rough chopped carrots and onions are added after 30 minutes more. (We got nice caramelized brown bits in the bottom of the pan but had to add some chicken stock to the pan to prevent burning). The chicken is done when the juices run clear. Pierce the breast with the tines of a carving fork, press to bring the juices up, there should be no traces of pink. After about 1 1/2 hours the chicken was removed to a cutting board to rest for 15 minutes.
A Natural Sauce from the Roasting Pan

The pan can be tilted to accumulate the juices and fat in one corner, then spoon off the fat.
Julia shares, “Another aspect of roasting that is very important to me – also a lesson from my early years in France – is making the deglazing sauce from the drippings and brown bits in the roasting pan. These brown bits are the precious, caramelized natural juices, their flavor intensified and concentrated by the process of roasting and basting. When you turn these bits into a ‘deglazing’ sauce, you are preserving and essence of pure delicious chicken. There is nothing better to serve with your roast.”

Or do as we did, pouring everything into a gravy separator, then pouring the juices back into the pan, which worked great for removing the vegetables and much of the fat.

The pan is placed over two medium heat burners, 2 T. minced shallots are added to the pan, stirring briefly. Then 1/3 c. of dry white wine and 2/3 c. chicken stock are added, raise the heat to high, and cook to get the sauce to the right consistency, scraping up all the glazed bits in the pan with a wooden spoon. Taste the sauce, adjust seasoning. Strain to remove bits, add butter for a richer finish (we skipped the butter and found the sauce delightfully rich and flavorful without it).
Lauren carves the bird: Remove the trussing strings and lay the chicken on its side. Cut the skin all around the thigh and leg. Lift the leg and pull away. The thigh will break off at the hip joint. Separate the drumstick from the thigh. Then holding the fork in the breast, cut through the should joint under the wing. Slice through to the outer part of the breast. Remove the breast meat with the wing attached.
Roast Chicken with a Natural Sauce

Pour the sauce onto a warm platter.
Top with the carved chicken.
Recipe from:
Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home
Published by Random House 1999

A well-roasted chicken and delicious sauce indeed!
Merci Beaucoup Julia!
Once again, in honor of Julia’s birthday, August 15th, Lisa of Champaign Taste blog is hosting the Fourth Annual Julia Child Birthday Celebration. Please join us in celebrating Julia, details here.
“Toujours Bon Appétit!”

Foie Gravy

Want to impress your guests? Flambé !!!
Gravy is a key component to Thanksgiving dinner, no? This year, inspired by the fond memories of foie gras, I thought Foie Gravy would be a nice companion to the traditional style gravy. Kinda like giblet gravy but with liver only, lots of liver. I do not expect everyone to be a fan, I know my mother isn’t! But for those who love liver, this is for you!
Note: I am not able to light food on fire and photograph at the same time. This photo credit goes to Lena, our lovely guest from Germany.
Clean and rinse at least a pound of chicken/turkey livers. Sauté in butter until cooked through, then informedly add about 1/4 cup Cognac.  Do try this at home, but not before reading flambé tips first, linked from the Caramelized Apples Flambéd with Cognac post. Add fried sage leaves, salt and pepper. Coarsely chop.

Make your fabulous gravy as usual. Reserve half of your gravy for non-liver lovers.  Take the other half and add lots o’ liver. Don’t be shy.
If you would like my gravy recipe feel free to email me. And if you have a gravy recipe that rocks, please share!

Mushroom Egg Foo Young with Gravy

mushroom egg foo young

Mushroom Egg Foo Young
I grew up in Chicago.
Every Sunday we would have Chinese take-out for dinner.
As a kid, one of my favorite dishes was the mysterious egg foo young.
Back then, the only ingredient that I knew it contained for sure, was egg.

Blend 4 eggs with 2 T. flour, then add a finely chopped shallot, a couple sliced scallions, chopped parsley, salt and pepper.

Add about a cup each of chopped bean sprouts and cooked brown mushrooms.

Heat vegetable oil in an omelette pan then ladle in half of the egg mixture. This recipe makes 2.  Cook over medium high heat until the bottom browns. Finish cooking the top side under the broiler.

Meanwhile prepare the gravy by making a light brown roux with 2 T. each vegetable oil and flour. Slowly add a cup of beef (or vegetable) stock, finish with a splash of dry sherry, salt and pepper to taste.

Place a serving platter on the pan and flip the egg foo young over onto the platter.
Top with gravy and garnish with scallions and parsley.
Egg Foo Young, demystified and delicious.
Do you remember an exotic dish from your childhood?