They’re packed with nutritional goodness, available almost everywhere and relatively cheap when compared to the soaring cost of other proteins like meat and poultry. But the cheapest and most available eggs in the world are not likely to impact your food budget unless you know how to prepare them perfectly.
In keeping with my belief that it’s good to know how to cook well, I want to share with you several seriously amazing ways to prepare eggs. And I’m talking about the simple things like frying, scrambling, poaching and hard-boiling. When it comes to well prepared eggs, it’s 10% eggs and 90% technique.
PERFECTLY FRIED EGGS
A properly fried egg should have a tender, fully cooked white with crisp brown edges that look a bit like lace. The yolk should be slightly thickened, but still fluid.
The great thing about the following method for making perfectly fried eggs for two: no turning or flipping required. Just follow these instructions exactly— no changes and no cheating—and they’ll turn out perfect every time. You will need:
- Large skillet
- 2 small bowls
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 4 large eggs
- Salt and pepper
- 2 teaspoons butter, cut into 4 pieces and chilled
Place the oil in a large skillet and set over low heat for 5 minutes. While the pan is heating, crack two eggs into each of the small bowls. Season with salt and pepper.
Increase the heat to medium-high and heat until the oil looks shimmery. Add butter to the skillet and quickly swirl to coat the pan. Working quickly, pour one bowl of eggs onto one side of the pan and the second bowl of eggs onto the other side. Quickly cover and cook for exactly 1 minute. Exactly. Leaving the cover in place and undisturbed, remove the skillet from the burner and let it stand, covered, for 15 to 45 seconds for runny yolks with just barely opaque whites, 45 to 60 seconds for soft but set yolks and about 2 minutes for medium-set yolks. Seriously, watch the clock or set a timer. Slide the fried eggs onto plates and serve. Enjoy.
PERFECTLY POACHED EGGS
A poached egg should be a neat-looking pouch of tender egg, evenly cooked all the way through with a yolk that is barely runny.
Into a 12-inch skillet, pour enough water to come 1-inch up the side. Add 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 3 teaspoons white vinegar and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Meanwhile, crack four cold, large eggs into individual custard cups or small bowls. Carefully pour the eggs into the boiling water. Turn off the heat, cover the pan and set your timer for 5 minutes. Don’t peek, touch, move or cheat in any way.
After exactly five minutes, remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and serve immediately. Yum.
PERFECTLY SCRAMBLED EGGS
Scrambled eggs should be light and velvety, not dry or runny. To achieve this forget everything you’ve ever learned about making scrambled eggs. You will need:
- 6 eggs
- 1 1/2 tablespoons butter, cold and cubed
- 1 tablespoon creme fraiche (or sour cream)
- Salt and pepper
- Freshly chopped chives (optional)
Break eggs into a skillet and add the cubed butter. Set over medium heat and stir constantly until the eggs begin to solidify. Keep stirring. Remove from the heat and continue stirring. Return to heat as needed to thicken and continue stirring. Back and forth, on and off the heat, stirring constantly until the consistency is just right. Once the eggs are about done, remove from heat, add the creme fraiche to stop them from over cooking. Continue to stir until incorporated. Season with salt, pepper and a sprinkling of chives. Do not season until the end. This will make all the difference in the world. Prepare to be amazed.
PERFECTLY HARD-BOILED EGGS
Place eggs in saucepan large enough to hold them in single layer. ADD cold water to cover eggs by 1 inch. HEAT over high heat just to boiling.
Remove from burner and cover the pan. Allow eggs to stand in hot water about 12 minutes for large eggs (9 minutes for medium eggs; 15 minutes for extra large).
Drain immediately, peel and serve warm. Or cool completely under cold running water or in bowl of ice water, then refrigerate to be eaten the same day. Left unpeeled hard-boiled eggs can be refrigerated for up to one week.
Very fresh eggs can be difficult to peel. To ensure easily peeled hard-boiled eggs, buy and refrigerate them a week to 10 days before the day you want to boil them.
Hard-boiled eggs are easiest to peel right after cooling as that causes the egg to contract slightly in the shell.
To peel a hard-boiled egg: Gently tap egg on countertop until shell is finely crackled all over. Roll egg between hands to loosen shell. Starting peeling at large end, holding egg under cold running water to help ease the shell off.