Easy as Eggs

Although I haven’t written about what I’ve cooked recently, doesn’t mean I haven’t been cooking. Winter is such a great time for getting four dishes going at once, the oven and stove heating the room, steaming the windows, providing the warm comfort of home cooked nourishment. It was so comforting, in fact, that I shunned my computer, choosing instead to bury my hands under blankets while watching old TV shows.

In our third week of more-freezing-than-remembered nights, I have resigned myself to the cold and pushed myself to tackle the projects that I can’t leave alone in warmer temperatures. One of those projects is writing about cooking.

Many recipes strike me as too boring or easy to write about so I wait until I make something extravagant, then decide that it’s too complicated to outline every step. Sometimes the best place to start is the simplest.

Today at lunch I broke open an egg atop my salad and giggled with satisfaction. It was perfectly cooked to just past soft boiled. As a child, I grew to hate hard boiled eggs, with their cakey yolk that stuck to the roof of my mouth. Wanting to add eggs to my salad but not the way I knew them, I read up on boiling eggs in Joy of Cooking. Could this magic equation of “bring egg to a boil then simmer for 4 minutes” really be the key to not over cooking a boiled egg?

a taste ingrained since childhood, a skill learned in adulthood

a taste ingrained since childhood, a skill learned in adulthood

In my experience, yes, it is. There is still variance in the heat provided by the different stoves, the point at which you decide the egg is boiling, and I think I occasionally turn out a hard boiled rather than soft-ish boiled egg. But this formula seems to work and as I break the egg open with a fork to find that dark yellow jelly consistency in the middle of the yolk, transporting me back to childhood where I learned to eat a soft boiled egg side-by-side with my grandfather, I smile, cherishing the color and consistency as much as the memories.

Soft-ish Boiled Egg

inspired by Joy of Cooking

  • 1-3 eggs
  1. Place the eggs in a small pot, covered with water.
  2. Bring the water just to a boil over medium-high heat.
  3. Simmer the eggs over low heat for 4 minutes.
  4. Rinse under cold water, peel and enjoy.

Notes and Variations

The part I have yet to master is peeling the egg. There are rumors that adding 1T of vinegar to the pot at the start will help the egg separate from the shell. I have not paid enough attention to this variable to have a conclusion. There are also theories about putting the eggs in the fridge after cooking, running it under cold water, peeling it immediately versus after it cools… I can never keep them straight. I need to follow up on this with a detailed account of my experimentation.


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