Sunday, September 6, 2009

Eggs are not supposed to be crunchy!

We had breakfast out yesterday and the eggs they delivered put me instantly in mind of my childhood. I have long since developed the habit of ordering eggs scrambled because scrambled are more difficult to screw up than fried eggs, but the dry, crumbly, overcooked mass of yellow that arrived on my plate yesterday morning proved that it can be done.

Earlier this year I wrote a blog post about crunchy eggs and other awful things delivered to the table by my mother, and yesterday’s experience put me in mind of it. It made me decide to post, once and for all, definitive instructions regarding the proper cooking of eggs.

Eggs are not supposed to be crunchy. If the eggs that come to your plate have a crispy little frill around the edges, if they are brown anywhere at all, if they crackle when you bite into them, they are overcooked. Using too high a flame under the pan, butter that is too hot, leaving the eggs to cook too long or, in the case of a scrambled egg dish like an omelette, using too much egg for the size of the pan, can all contribute to overcooked eggs.

Eggs have a delicate flavour and, unless they are merely a part of the dish, they need to be cooked gently and in a mildly flavoured fat. That means boiling them in bacon grease is out…they will taste like bacon, not eggs. Butter…real butter…is the best fat for cooking an egg and, used sparingly, is hazardous neither to your health nor your pocket.

If you want to taste the true delicacy of an egg’s flavour, try one of the recipes below:

Fried eggs

Ingredients:
2 fresh eggs
1 tbsp fresh butter (not margarine)
Pinch of garlic powder (optional)
Salt to taste

Preparation:
In a thin bottomed skillet, slowly melt butter (even if it is a “non-stick” pan). Keep heat under pan as low as possible. Break the eggs into a bowl and inspect for bits of shell or red specks: pick them out if you find them.

When butter has almost fully melted, swirl it around to fully coat the bottom of the pan. Return to heat and immediately slip eggs into pan.

Using a plastic or silicon spatula, rupture the part of the egg white that is higher than the rest, allowing it to flow out and equalize the height of the white. Sprinkle with salt (and garlic powder). Follow one of the three choices below, depending on how you want your eggs:

Sunny side up: Continue to cook slowly until white is fully set, at which time the yolk should be warm but still wet. This style of preparation is not recommended for use with eggs from American chickens due to the risk of salmonella from the soft yolks.

Over easy: Continue to cook slowly until white is almost set. Slip spatula blade beneath the egg, making sure the yolk is fully supported, and flip the egg over. Allow to cook briefly, removing while the yolk is still soft This style of preparation is not recommended for use with eggs from American chickens due to the risk of salmonella from the soft yolks.

Over hard: Using a plastic or silicon spatula, rupture the part of the egg white that is higher than the rest, allowing it to flow out and equalize the height of the white. Also break the yolk at the same time. Sprinkle with salt (and garlic powder). Continue to cook slowly until white is almost set. Slip spatula blade beneath the egg and flip it over. Allow to cook briefly,
pressing down on egg with blade of spatula to make sure all of the yolk cooks This style of preparation is recommended for use with eggs from American chickens since fully cooking the egg kills salmonella bacteria.

Scrambled eggs
Ingredients:
2 fresh eggs
1 tbsp fresh butter (not margarine)
2 tbsp heavy cream, sour milk, buttermilk, or sour cream
Pinch of garlic powder (optional)
Salt to taste

Preparation:
In a thin bottomed skillet, slowly melt butter (even if it is a “non-stick” pan). Keep heat under pan as low as possible. Break the eggs into a bowl and inspect for bits of shell or red specks: pick them out if you find them. Add cream, salt and garlic powder to eggs and beat vigorously to incorporate cream into eggs.

When butter has almost fully melted, swirl it around to fully coat the bottom of the pan. Return to heat and immediately pour eggs into pan. Allow to cook slowly until the egg has set on the bottom, then using a plastic or silicon spatula, stir the eggs around, lifting the set egg and allowing the liquid egg contact with the pan’s surface. Keep eggs moving until entire mass has set. Remove from heat before eggs become dry or begin to separate into small curds. Scrambled eggs should be fully cooked but moist.

Serve with your choice of breakfast meats or over a slice of toast.

14 comments:

TC said...

I don't like crunchy eggs either. Prefer to use olive oil and cook on low/moderate heat.

Deray said...

I do like my eggs (over easy or sunny side up) a little crunchy, I don't like the white to be very gooey. I'm weird :p jajaja

TJ Lubrano said...

I love scrambled eggs and usually I use olive oil. It doesn't really matter to me if the egg is crunchy or tenderly cooked tho. As long it isn't dry ^_^. It's funny, I thought that baking eggs was one thing that couldn't be done wrong.

timethief said...

I hate crunchy eggs and dry scrambled eggs are awful. I use butter too and I sometimes use paprika instead of garlic powder.

Melinda said...

Eggs, when cooked well, are heavenly! But so often, people just don't know what they are doing with eggs. It's also important to not use eggs directly from the refrigerator--it's best to let them sit until they are room temperature and then cook then, slowly, over a low heat. If people do this, they will make perfect eggs! I so agree! Eggs should *never* be crunchy!

Melinda

Sweet Violet said...

DeRay, the whites should NEVER be gooey! that means they aren't done. But if you cook them a bit more slowly, with a lower heat, then the white cooks thoroughly without frazzling the edges. Try it some time...you may like the difference!

stillthinking said...

I love eggs and have them a few times a week. I prefer a gently poached egg or scrambled. I tend to cook over high heat because honestly, my stove doesn't get very hot. I realized just a couple months ago why my mother's scrambled eggs were so dry and crumbly. Yes, they were overcooked, but my mother also cut her eggs with water. For years, I had wondered why scrambled eggs at restaurants were so fluffy and delicious. As soon as I abandoned my mother's egg methods, my scrambled eggs turned out yellow and fluffy.

cindy said...

Everyone thinks eggs are easy to cook. As you point out, they are one of the easiest items to ruin! That pic of the overcooked egg cracks me up. An egg served like that is just wrong. But I don't like them slimey either. If you want to see a master handle eggs, look up Julia childs cooking an omelet on YouTube. It is classic.

IndigoWrath said...

Hey Violet! You just got an award from the UK. I just posted about it on my blog: http://bit.ly/TryBv. Thanks for your blog, which always makes me hungry! Indigo.

CatLadyLarew said...

Wow! What a neat trick with rupturing the egg white! I can hardly wait to try that tomorrow morning!

CatLadyLarew said...

I'm curious... why is there a greater risk of salmonella from American chickens? Just curious.

Sweet Violet said...

Here are a couple of websites that explain it better than I can...

http://www.foodsafetyworkinggroup.gov/FSWG_Fact_Sheet.pdf

"Unlike eggborne salmonellosis of past decades, the current epidemic is due to intact and disinfected grade A eggs. Salmonella enteritidis silently infects the ovaries of healthy appearing hens and contaminates the eggs before the shells are formed." http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dbmd/diseaseinfo/salment_g.htm#How%20Eggs%20Become%20Contaminated

honeybeeluvsjackfruit said...

Funny thing, I used to get whiney if my mom didn't cook the eggs just so... with the edges crispy and the yolk runny. Dang, I was so picky.

Irfan said...

I fry eggs on slow heat and get the best result..... yummmy :D