Kitchen Basics: How To Boil An Egg

Friday, October 15, 2010

In a new feature here on The Enchanted Spoon, we'll cover some Kitchen Basics: I Swear To God You Can Master These Things Too. These posts aim to explain some basic cooking techniques, use of ingredients, and specialized kitchen equipment. I think you all will find them informative and thoughtful, and maybe give you a new idea or approach even if you know the stuff already.

Many cooking newbies say "I'm fucked, I can't even boil an egg." Well, I thought that would be the perfect place to start with Kitchen Basics. So here's how you boil an egg...

#1: Use Good Eggs
Organic v. not, whatever but make sure the eggs are fresh! Nothing is shittier or more depressing than an old, crappy tasting egg. So get them fresh, pay attention to that expiration date, and eat them faster rather than letting them sit in the fridge forever. Farm-fresh eggs are obviously the best. They will give you a more yellow yolk which is both pleasant to see and tastes richer. Do organic, cage-free taste better than a caged fucked up chicken egg? Not necessarily, in my opinion, but I just feel bad for the chickens so I buy cage free. I have heard some people say though that it does in fact taste different. Up to you.

#2: Size Doesn't Matter
What's the difference between a medium and extra large egg? The extra large one is bigger. Does it taste better? No. It will just give you a bigger boiled egg. Choose as you wish.

#3: White v. Brown
Are brown eggs better than white eggs? No. Then why are they more expensive? 'Cuz. Ok, here's the difference: white chickens lay white eggs, red/brown chickens lay brown eggs. That's it. There's the difference. Then why are brown ones more expensive? Because the red/brown chickens a larger than their white counterparts, and therefor eat more. So the grower needs recuperate that cost, so he puns it to you, the consumer. All chickens pretty much now eat the same shit anyway (a standard mix) so they all taste the same. Only difference will be when you get into that local farm territory where the farmer maybe manipulates the chicken feed  to enhance the eggs' flavor -- there might be a difference between that brown one and white when then if he's feeding his brown hens different food than the white guys. 

#4: Boiling The Egg
Always start with cold water. Why? It ensures even cooking. 
Place your eggs (brown or white, medium or extra large) in a saucepan or pot that's large enough to hold and not crowd the eggs, but small enough so they're not moving all over the place. We're going for a snug hot tub here. Cover the eggs with cold water.  From the tap is just fine. Set the egg on the stove to boil on a medium-high heat.
Once the water is boiling, turn the heat completely off and let the eggs stay in their hot water bath following this scale exactly:
medium size egg: 10 minutes
large size egg: 11 minutes
extra large egg: 12 minutes

Walk away. That's it -- you've just boiled an egg.

#5: Avoid the Mistakes
Most people improperly boil an egg by keeping the poor bastard at a roaring boil for 15 minutes or more. The egg is bobbing up and down from all the bubbling in the water, moving and knocking into the sides of the pot and into other eggs, causing them to crack. Not good. Not necessary. Eggs need only come to a boil and then just hang out in hot water to get fully cooked. That's it.

#6: Peeling and Serving The Perfect Boiled Egg
Carefully remove the pot of eggs and place in the sink. Run cold water right over it, letting the water spill over and transfer the cold water into the hot one. Now your eggs are cooled enough to handle but still warm to eat. Ha ha! Take each egg and gently crack it. Remove the shells and run it again under some warm water to remove all the small shell pieces. Cut in half and serve.
Your yolk should be a golden yellow color. Most people tend to overboil their eggs, creating a pale yellow yolk that turns into powder when you touch it. Not tasty. And it smells funny. You want a nice, moist and tender yolk to eat; not chalk. I like my yolks to be cooked but still a little creamy to the texture; not hard powder.
To serve, simply season with some good salt and freshly ground black pepper. Enjoy.

1 comment:

Lisa Ruminski said...

Love your irreverence. Julia Child's might even enjoy this post, but her "cooking the perfect boiled egg" is extremely complicated and about THREE PAGES LONG in "The Way to Cook". Here's just an EXCERPT.