The versatility of the simple egg has long since confirmed its status as one of our favorite cooking ingredients. Despite the frequent glare of negative publicity, where eggs have been blamed for causing everything from salmonella to high levels of cholesterol, eggs remain a staple in almost every household. The different ways in which it is possible to cook eggs means that the simplest of meals need not be boring or repetitive and that often we are spoiled for choice.
In all instances when cooking eggs, it is advisable for best results to remove them from the refrigerator a couple of hours in advance and allow them to reach room temperature.
Breakfast in many households would not be the same without a traditional, soft boiled egg. Equally, hard boiled eggs make a tasty addition to many salads. In order to boil an egg to perfection every time, place it in to a pot with enough cold water to comfortably cover it. Place on a high heat until the water starts to boil. Reduce the heat to achieve a simmer. Simmer for three minutes for very soft boiled and up to seven minutes for hard boiled.
If a hard boiled egg is to be served cold with a salad, an unattractive, blue grey tinge can often form around the edges of the yolk. In order to prevent this, firstly run the pot containing the hard boiled egg under cold water until the egg is cool enough to handle. Crack the shell on a hard surface and carefully peel it away under running cold water. Submerge the egg in a basin of cold water to cool it as quickly as possible.
Coddled eggs are eggs which have been boiled in their shells only for a very short period of time. Alternatively, the eggs are broken and poured in to porcelain egg coddlers to be cooked in a similar fashion, though for a slightly longer period of time. This leaves the eggs only partially cooked and suitable for use in such as salad dressings.
It is possible to use porcelain egg coddlers to make what are effectively delicious, pre-seasoned boiled eggs. Simply break the egg in to a small bowl and season with salt and pepper. Lightly grease the inside of the egg coddler with butter. Pour the egg carefully in to the coddler and screw on the lid, before sitting it in boiling water for eight or nine minutes. When the lid is unscrewed, you will find a perfectly boiled egg, already seasoned, which can be eaten from the coddler exactly as a boiled egg would be from its shell.
Bring a deep pan of water up to a rolling boil. Add a couple of tablespoons of white wine vinegar and stir well. Break the egg in to a small bowl, never directly in to the pot. Stir the water with a large spoon to achieve a whirlpool effect. Very gently pour the egg in to the vortex of the whirlpool. The motion of the water and the vinegar combine to draw the albumen around the yolk. Reduce the heat to achieve a simmer and cook for three to five minutes, depending upon whether you want your yolk runny or set.
There are a number of factors which can cause frying eggs to produce disastrous results. Try using the minimum amount of cooking spray or oil only in a non-stick pan. Bring it up to a fairly high heat. Break the egg in to a small cup or bowl, not directly in to the pan. Gently pour the egg in to the center of the pan and reduce the heat to low. Leave the egg alone for two to three minutes. At this stage, the egg can be carefully flipped with a spatula or left as it is for a further couple of minutes’ cooking.
There are two principal ways in which to make scrambled eggs. Both require in the first instance that a little butter be melted in a non-stick saucepan. The eggs can either then be broken in to a bowl and lightly beaten with a fork – just enough to combine them and no more – or they can be broken straight in to the pot, a la Gordon Ramsay. A teaspoon of full cream milk per egg is optional. Season with salt and white pepper. It is imperative to use a plastic spatula to keep the egg mixture moving around the pot, over a medium heat, as it cooks. As the eggs begin to solidify, use a folding motion with the spatula, rather than stirring. When only a little liquid remains and the eggs are almost but not quite set, remove the pan from the heat. Otherwise, the eggs will overcook. Continue to fold the mixture until the eggs are set and serve.
French style omelet
Head chefs very often use a simple omelet as a means of testing a prospective employee’s culinary abilities. Although French style omelets are traditionally prepared in an iron skillet, using a fork to work the egg, they can very effectively be prepared in non-stick frying pans with a spatula. Break the eggs in to a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Beat just enough to combine. Melt enough butter in the pan to comfortably cover the base and add the eggs over a moderate to high heat. Work your way around the circumference with the spatula, drawing the egg from the edges towards the centre. Stop doing this when the egg begins to set. Reduce the heat and cook until the egg is almost but not quite set. Carefully fold one half over the other and serve. French omelets should always be served what might be perceived as slightly underdone and deliciously moist in the center.
Spanish style omelet (tortilla)
The Spanish style omelet is much more robust and substantial than its French counterpart. Begin by chopping some potatoes in to one inch cubes. Boil for 15 minutes only in salted water until partially cooked. Drain well. Melt some butter in a large skillet and add the potatoes along with some sliced onion. Season with salt and pepper and fry for a couple of minutes, stirring with a spatula. Break some eggs in to a bowl and beat lightly. Pour the eggs in to the skillet. The egg mix should almost cover the vegetables. Cook until the egg can just be seen to starting to set near the top. Slide the partially cooked tortilla on to a plate and carefully invert back in to the skillet to cook the other side. Serve immediately or allow to cool and serve sliced like a pie with some salad.
A slightly different but delicious egg cooking technique. Put your oven on to preheat to 300F/150C. Liberally grease a small, round, ovenproof dish with butter. Beat an egg and season with salt, pepper and a couple of torn basil leaves. Pour the egg in to the dish and bake for twenty-five to thirty minutes. If desired, some grated cheese can be scattered over the top and melted under an overhead grill, immediately prior to serving.
1. List of egg dishes
2. 16 Ways To Cook Eggs – Easy Recipes – ALL YOU – AllYou.com