Maialino's Coppa Croccante: Perfect Poached Eggs Put to Use

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Available for $12 at Maialino

2 Lexington Avenue, New York NY 10010 (map); 212-777-2410; maialinonyc.com

There's a lot of dishes that Maialino, Danny Meyer's Roman trattoria does well (try their breakfast menu, which Ed has called "mindbogglingly delicious").

I'm consistently amazed by the quality of their poached eggs. Plump and oozy, they're the backbone of the Uova al Contadino ($14), a dish of poached eggs with pecorino served on a changing set of cooked seasonal vegetables (for me it was corn and summer squash). I had them last Thursday at brunch along with their excellent (but expensive) homemade bacon, which I dipped in the bright yellow yolks. I left very happy.

Even better is the Coppa Croccante ($12) that I had last night.* It contains at least three of my favorite things: pork, eggs, and fried. There's a small well-seasoned late-summer stew of braised bell pepper, eggplant and tomato at the bottom followed by the crisply breaded and fried terrine. The interior of the terrine is warm and fork tender, with moist, porky chunks of cheek interspersed with crunchy bits of pig ear. The whole thing is topped with one of those perfectly poached eggs.

A smattering of greens lightens the plate some, but there's no hiding that this is rich, rib-sticking fare. Happily, it's a size that's manageable as an appetizer or a hearty breakfast and—lucky us—it's available all day.

*and before you ask, no, I don't normally go to the same restaurant twice in a week. It's been a good week.

N.B. I contacted the chef, Nick Anderer, to ask him about how they get the egg so perfectly cooked (it has the consistency of an egg cooked in a water oven, but the opaque whites of a normal poached egg), and he's agreed to let us in on the secret in the kitchen there. It's interesting, so stay tuned next week.

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