eggs three ways: a tutorial in egg-cookery


Note: This post was previously published here as a part of my freelance work, and was written by my darling boyfriend, Adam. 
There is no other ingredient as versatile, ubiquitous and universally-loved as the humble chicken egg.  Japanese, Moroccan, Italian—name a cuisine and there’s undoubtedly an egg at the center of it. 

Above all no culinary culture is more egg-centric than French.  A French chef’s tall pleated hat (picture Chef Boyardee’s headgear) traditionally has 100 folds in it, each one representing a way to cook an egg.  It’s also said the great classical French chefs held eggs in such high regard that they evaluated a prospective new hire based on his or her ability to cook a simple omelette.

Indeed, egg-cookery is deceptively nuanced, requiring precision and finesse to do well.  And with the incredible eggs from Sandy Ridge Farms available in our CSA’s, there’s always opportunity to practice. Below are some tips to help elevate your egg game.
Perfectly Poached Eggs
1. Fill a 4-quart pot nearly full with cold water and bring to a gentle simmer.  Sprinkle in some salt and stir in about 1/4 cup of distilled vinegar.
2. Stir the water vigorously in a circular motion to create a vortex. Crack the eggs (no more than two or three at a time to avoid crowding) into the center of the vortex.  The centrifugal force—coupled with the slight acidity from the vinegar—will prohibit the eggs whites from dissipating, keeping the eggs, well…egg-shaped.
3. Allow the eggs to cook in the simmering water for two to three minutes.  Gently spoon them out with a slotted spoon and check to ensure the whites are set.  You can also carefully prod the yokes with your finger to feel how cooked they are.  If you’re like us, and like your yokes runny, you’ll want your poached eggs to give only the slightest resistance.  For a harder cooked egg, poach until the yokes feel springy or firm.
4. Carefully spoon the eggs onto some paper towels to sop up any excess water and serve immediately.

The Perfect Sunny-Side Fried Egg
1. Place a non-stick sauté pan on low heat and give it a few minutes to get hot.  Drop a tablespoon of butter into the pan.  If you’re at the proper temperature, the butter should froth and foam almost instantly.  If it doesn’t, increase the heat slightly.  This foaming action of the butter is your cue that the pan is at the ideal temperature to fry the perfect egg.
2. Crack an egg carefully into the pan.  The whites should be able to spread out a little before they set.
3. Turn the heat down as low as your stove will go, and let the whites cook slowly from the bottom up, until they are fully set. Pay particular attention to the denser portion of white (called the internal albumen) surrounding the yolk, this will be the last part of the white to cook. Be patient, this will take about five minutes.
4. After the internal albumen is set, carefully transfer the egg from the pan using a spatula.  Inspect the bottom of the egg. Is it perfectly white, with no browning whatsoever?  If so, congratulations; you cooked the perfect sunny-side up egg, which is no easy feat.
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour 30 minutes

4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 medium onion
2 large portabella caps
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup cold water
1/2 all purpose flour
1/2 unsalted butter, cold

For the crust:
1. Dissolve the salt into the water and place in the freezer to chill.
2. Cube butter into 1” pieces and scatter on top of the flour in a large mixing bowl.  Using a pastry blender, break up the butter until it creates pea-sized pieces.
3. Remove water from freezer and incorporate it into the dough, using a fork to work it around.  Add the water incrementally until the dough appears shaggy and not fully mixed. The biggest mistake you can make with pie crust is adding too much water to hold it together. This will detract from the crust’s flaky texture. 
4. Lay out a 2’ piece of plastic wrap.  Form the dough into a ball, smushing it together with your hands, and transfer it from the bowl to the plastic wrap.
5. Fold the sides of the plastic wrap tightly around the dough ball and wrap it up like a burrito to help bind the dough. Refrigerate for at least two hours.
6. Roll the dough 1/8” thick on a floured surface.  You should be able to see little pockets of butter in the crust.
7. Press the dough into a 12” pie dish. Fold the extra trimmings around the edges and pinch closed.Pre-bake for 25 minutes at 375 F.

For the quiche:
1Dice the onion and sauté in olive oil over medium heat.  As the onions begin to brown, add sliced portabella caps and cook until nicely browned.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.
2. Transfer into precooked pie crust.
3. Whisk together eggs and milk and pour over mushroom and onion filling into the pie crust.
4. Bake at 375 F for 35 to 45 minutes or until the eggs are set in the center.

1 comment :

  1. UGH poached eggs are such a pain!! I'll try this trick and see if it works!