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Saturday, June 22, 2013

Perfecting your Egg-cellent Breakfast: Soft-Cooked Eggs

We enjoy our eggs in countless ways -- sunny-side up, poached and smothered in Hollandaise sauce, or gently enveloping your favorite cheese and veggies in a fluffy omelet. Soft-cooked eggs on toast was my ultimate comfort breakfast food as a kid. But I could also be quite finicky about them - firm, chalky yolks were tossed in the trash and I wrinkled my nose at under-cooked whites. Eighteen years later, America's Test Kitchen took this one to the lab and came up with a FOOLPROOF method for soft-cooked eggs. They're technique yields results that will satisfy every time, with perfectly solidified whites and soft, glossy yolks that will saturate a piece of buttered whole grain toast beautifully.
Perfect Soft-Cooked Eggs, Cooks Illustrated
Perfect Soft-Cooked Eggs, Cooks Illustrated

Because we can't see the inside of an egg while it's cooking, it's difficult to guess when exactly it reaches the perfect doneness. And since egg whites and yolks harden at different temperatures, timing is of the essence. Hundreds of eggs later, the brilliant food scientists in the Test Kitchen discovered that steaming, rather than boiling the eggs, yields better soft-cooked eggs. While dropping cold eggs into boiling water temporarily lowers the water temperature and therefore alters cooking time based on the number of eggs, steaming uses such a low amount of water that the curved edge of an egg in contact with the water will not significantly affect the overall temperature in the steaming pot. What's more, eggs will not crack and lose half the white to the cooking water from the harsh pressure change that often accompanies the full-boil method.

To steam your eggs, even without a proper steam basket, simply fill a saucepan with a half inch of water and bring it to a boil. Then place as many eggs as you'd like in the pot, cover with a lid so the water is simmering, and set your timer for six and a half minutes. Promptly remove the pot from the heat and run the eggs under cold water for 30 seconds. Enjoy any way you like -- scooped right from shell, as a dip for tender spears of asparagus, or peeled and broken over that thick slice of toast!

Written by: Carly Chaapel
Edited by: Megan Raff

Sources:

Cook's Illustrated. "Foolproof Soft-Cooked Eggs." 1 Jan. 2013. http://www.cooksillustrated.com/recipes/article.asp?docid=41579

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