A Good Egg

August 31, 2009

The Perfect Egg

The Perfect Egg

It is said that a toque blanche, a chef’s white hat, has exactly 100 pleats, and these pleats represent the many ways an egg can be cooked. Perhaps that is folklore. Regardless, eggs are nothing short of amazing. And a perfectly boiled egg is sublime. I have recently had the pleasure of meeting a talented and passionate chef named David, and he asked me if I have ever had The Perfect Egg. And, while I pride myself on my boiled eggs, it turns out that I have never made or eaten The Perfect Egg. Until now. The Perfect Egg is cooked in a pot of hot water that is held at exactly 64.5º C for 45 minutes. The water, while hot and steamy, does not simmer or move, the heat is that low. It was a tad tricky and tedious to do this on a gas stove but I succeeded with the help of a thermometer and incessant monitoring. The result was an egg with an exceptionally silky, fully-cooked white and a thick, creamy, decadent yolk.

For real life I have a method for boiling eggs that is foolproof, no chef’s hat required. There are always, almost always, boiled eggs in my fridge. When left in-shell they are a portable and perfect source of protein. Sometimes one will serve as my breakfast with a sprinkling of sea salt, peeled while standing in the early morning dusky dawn of my kitchen, ready to head out the door for the day. To accompany this modest meal, a spoonful or two of sprouts, or carrot sticks, sometimes an apple, whatever is handy and easy. Because of their portability I often tote a cold, boiled egg about, nestled in a container with an odd grouping of fruits and vegetables, seeds and nuts. I am fussy about how my eggs are cooked. I really dislike over-boiled eggs with their chalky yolks, ringed with unappealing grey-green edges and rubber-like whites. With a little care and eight minutes, it is simple to boil up a good egg or twelve.

A Good Egg

A Good Egg

Make as few as one or up to a dozen, whatever your pot can accomodate

large, good-quality eggs – when I’m lucky I manage to get a dozen from UBC Farm

Bring a medium to large pot of water to a simmer. Carefully lower eggs into the water, I use an inexpensive Chinese strainer with a bamboo handle. Set timer for four minutes, taking care that the water doesn’t come to a boil but stays at a gentle simmer. Once the timer beeps turn the heat off and reset the timer for another four minutes. Let the eggs sit undisturbed in the hot water. When the timer beeps for the second time lift the eggs from the hot water and rinse cold water over them until they’re cool enough to handle. Pat dry and store in the fridge. Left in-shell they will keep for at least a week. You can’t go wrong with a good egg.

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