All About Eggs

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I would like to take a break today from posting a new recipe and instead write a little “how-to” post.  Occasionally, I find myself contemplating answers to the many questions of the culinary world.  For a while now, I have been wanting to compile cooking instructions for the many different ways to cook eggs.  So, I spent some time researching and along with time in the test kitchen and came up with some easy-to-follow instructions for the many different ways to cook eggs.

How To Cook Eggs

Sunny Side Up

Perhaps the most classic style, but also the most difficult.  A true sunny side up egg is fried on one side and not flipped.  However, this can lead to a slimy head of uncooked white right near your slightly undercooked yolk.  The trouble is getting the entire egg to cook evenly without over-cooking it.  The method that I find works the best is a combination of pan-frying and basting.  The other key for this and all of the methods I’ll cover is the temperature of the pan.  Too hot and your egg browns.  Not hot enough and the egg doesn’t cook properly.  It’s a little hard to judge the surface temperature of a pan, unless you have a laser thermometer, which I do.  I just point and it tells me the surface temperature of the pan.  If you don’t have one, no worries.  You generally know the pan is hot enough when the butter has melted and is slightly bubbling.

I digress, here are the steps to a perfectly cooked Sunny-Side Up Egg:

  1. Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of butter.  When the pan reaches 250 degrees (or the butter is melted and slightly bubbling), crack an egg into the pan.
  3. Cook for four minutes, basting the top of the egg with melted butter from the pan, throughout the cooking process.
  4. Remove from heat, drain excess fat by setting on a paper towel.  Season with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

Over-Easy

Over-Easy eggs are well, easier, to execute properly, because both sides of the egg touch the frying pan.

  1. Heat a non-stick pan over medium.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of butter.  When the pan reaches 250 degrees (or the butter is melted and slightly bubbling), crack an egg into the pan.
  3. Cook for three minutes on the first side.  After 3 minutes, carefully flip the egg over using a spatula, without breaking the yolk.  Cook for another 2 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat, serve immediately, with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

The video below shows how to flip using a spatula.  Not to brag, but I generally don’t use a spatula.  Just a quick flick of the wrist, gentle catch back into the pan and the egg is flipped.  That takes practice though.  Believe me, a lot of practice.  But, when you figure it out, it’s an oddly great feeling.

Poached Eggs

Perhaps my favorite type of egg because poached eggs are generally nestled atop a crunchy, nook and cranny filled English Muffin with Canadian bacon and hollandaise sauce.  A good poached egg is relatively easy to achieve too.

  1. Fill a medium pot with a quart (4 cups) of cold water.
  2. Add two tablespoons of vinegar.  If using a larger pot and more water, use two tablespoons of vinegar for every quart of water.
  3. Over medium-low heat, bring water to a gentle simmer, approximately 200 degrees.
  4. Crack an egg into a small bowl and then gently add it to the pot.
  5. Poach for 3 – 5 minutes.  Remove from water and drain on paper towels.  Can be served immediately or held in water in the refrigerator until ready to use.  Just re-heat for a minute or two in warm water.

Hard-Boiled Eggs

The perfect hard boiled egg boasts a pristine white and bright yellow yolk.  If you have ever cracked open a hard boiled egg and saw a dark gray-yellow-ish ring surrounding the yolk, you know it’s been cooked improperly.  To avoid that, follow these simple steps:

  1. Place eggs in a large saucepan and cover them with cool water by 1 inch.
  2. Slowly bring to a boil over medium-heat; when water has reached a boil, cover and remove from heat.
  3. Let sit, covered, for 12 minutes.
  4. Drain and cool completely in an ice water bath.  Peel and use immediately or store, covered for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.

Hard Boiled Eggs

Scrambled Eggs

The perfect scrambled eggs are light, fluffy and come as close as possible to appearing not cooked enough, while still being so.  Everyone has a different “secret” for making the perfect scrambled eggs, be it, heavy  cream, sour cream, water or tons of whisking.  In fact, many restaurant chefs determine a potential new cook’s worth by having them cook scrambled eggs during the interview.  The theory being, that, if you can cook scrambled eggs properly, you can cook just about anything else.  But, really, it comes down to gentle heat and constant attention.

  1. Crack three eggs and pour into a small sauce pot
  2. Add one tablespoon of butter
  3. Place pot over medium-high heat and stir continuously using a rubber spatula, for about a minute.  Remove from the heat and continue stirring.  As the pot gets cool, add back to the heat, while constantly stirring.
  4. Continue this process until eggs are just set, season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper and gently fold to evenly incorporate.
  5. Remove from pan and serve immediately.

So, there you have it.  Simple and easy techniques for cooking the perfect egg – no matter what style you prefer.

 

 

 

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