Saturday, June 29, 2013

First Cherokee Purple and the perfect poached egg

Posted By on Sat, Jun 29, 2013 at 8:47 AM

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Now, a lot of folks don't believe me when I tell them that the best poached egg in Little Rock comes from the back of a food truck, but I swear to you all it's the truth. The truck in question is perennial favorite Southern Gourmasian, and while they may be more famous for their steamed buns and spicy dumplings, if you haven't had a chance to check out the breakfast menu, I assure you it's worth waking up for.

The Gourmasian breakfast at the most recent Hillcrest Farmers Market was even better than usual, though, because of one wonderful edition: owner Justin Patterson had just gotten in his first fresh heirloom tomatoes of the season, some Cherokee Purples. Now any of you who have read the Arkansas Times and its associated blogs for more than about five minutes know that we're all pretty crazy about good tomatoes, from publisher Alan Leveritt and senior editor Max Brantley on down to
food-dungeon dwellers like myself. So when I saw the Gourmasian menu listing a BLT made with one of those Cherokee Purples, several slices of Benton's Bacon, basil pesto aioli, and topped with one of Justin's perfect eggs...well, I may or may not have just thrown all the money I had through the truck window with a high-pitched scream of utter and insane joy.

The result? Lightly grilled bread, coated with aioli, upon which two perfect purple slices of tomato rested, each full of the rich, sweet flavor that Cherokee Purples are known for. This is not a flimsy tomato, and it can stand up to a lot in terms of both texture and taste. Atop the tomatoes, crisp fried bacon and that poached egg, the white set into a perfect cocoon that released a flood of creamy yolk when pierced. I wrestled with the need to get all these good things into my face as fast as possible and the desire to stretch out the experience for as long as I could. From ingredients to technique, this was a perfect breakfast dish.

Want to get your hands on this dish? Catch the Gourmasian at the Hillcrest Farmers market every Saturday. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter to find out where they're serving lunch daily. And if you want to see Justin in action when he really gets going, he'll be cooking for The Southern Sundown Get Down on July 6, with proceeds to benefit Little Rock Urban Farming.

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