Total Cost – 2 containers of 12 eggs (less than 10 dollars)
Total Time – 2 hours or less
The last week has brought about some big some changes in my life – due to a family emergency I decided to head home from Korea two months earlier than I had planned on. My girlfriend and I purchased tickets to Seattle around midnight on Thursday and were on a plane home 6 PM the next day. I put a picture of my girlfriend at the bottom of this post of you need proof that she exists. After taking a few days to settle in, adjust to the new time zone, catch up with old friends, and show my Korean girlfriend America for the first time, I was able to get back to my scheduled 5 and 50 projects just one day behind schedule.
This week’s goal was simple, “Master the Egg”. Eggs are one my favorite breakfast foods but for far too long I’ve only known how to prepare them two ways – scrambled or sunny side up. Given the eggregious number of ways to prepare them I decided that it was way past time I should learn many ways to prepare an egg. I searched “how many ways are there to cook an egg” on Google and followed the first link to this page. The article provides some basic instructions for how to prepare eggs in all the different styles but you’ll need a basic knowledge of cooking to understand them (which I do). Since there are already so many good resources from much more experienced chefs than I am out there on how to cook eggs I felt that making a video tutorial for this week’s challenge was unnecessary.
I was actually surprised at how few mistakes I made while preparing these different eggs for the first time. You might find preparing a few of these egg styles to be a a bit of a challenge of you’ve never scrambled or fried an egg before, as the timing for when to flip or remove your eggs from the pan is largely based on your eggstincts. If you’ve never cooked eggs of any variety before I recommend you start out by learning how to scramble eggs (both soft and hard), then to play around with sunny side up and eggs over easy/medium/hard until you have a good feel for what a runny egg and what a hard egg feels like.
If you’re already an experienced cooker off eggs then I recommend you scroll through the list below and see if there’s any styles you haven’t learned yet. I was shocked at how easy it was to prepare a few of the method’s I’d never tried before – I even poached an egg on my first try.
Let’s get cracking.
Boiled (soft and hard)
Boiling an egg is undoubtedly the easiest way to turn a raw egg into something edible. Bring a pot of water to a boil and carefully lower your eggs into the water. You don’t need to put anything in the water. I just kinda dropped the eggs in there the first time and they ended up cracking on the bottom of the pot, so don’t be a dummy like me and use a spoon to slowly lower them into the water. The rest is super easy, if you like your eggs soft-boiled than set a timer for 6 minutes and take them out when it starts beeping. If you like them hard-boiled then set the timer for 12 minutes. You don’t need to be religious about these times, if you like them runnier than cook them for a shorter time and if you like them harder then boil them longer. My girlfriend likes her boiled eggs most around 8 minutes and I prefer them at 10.
People recommend submerging boiled eggs in an ice bath immediately after they’re done cooking to make them easier to peel but I think that’s totally unnecessary. We’re dealing with eggs here, not sore athletes. It’ll probably take you more time to get a bowl of ice water ready then it would to just rinse the egg under some cold water and peel it as normal.
I’ve heard from multiple chefs that restaurant’s will commonly have you prepare scrambled eggs for the head chef as part of a job inter view. Though its nearly impossible to put eggs into a pan, mix them around, and not yield something resembling scrambled eggs, there is a massive difference in the quality of scrambled eggs from someone who know’s what they’re doing and someone who doesn’t. The art in making great scrambled eggs is just as much about knowing when to touch them as it is knowing when not to touch them. If you’re interested in taking a shortcut to making scrambled eggs like a pro, check out Gordon Ramsay’s video.
The difference between hard scrambled eggs and soft scrambled eggs can be as little as 10 seconds of cooking time, depending on the heat of the pan and the amount of egg’s you’re cooking. Most people tend to prefer soft scrambled eggs to hard scrambled eggs, so learning how to prepare them soft is slightly more important. The secret to a good soft scramble is to take the pan off the fire while the egg’s still look like they’re a few seconds away from being ready. The eggs will continue to cook after they’ve been removed from the fire due to the heat of the pan, so if you take them off the fire when they look good and soft they’ll cook a little past what you’re aiming for.
Omelettes are a staple of brunch menus everywhere because they’re an easy way to put a bunch of yummy ingredients in one place. Though omelettes are basically just “unscrambled scrambled eggs” which has been flipped once, I had never managed to do a successful omelette flip until today. After watching four of five youtube videos on the omelette flip I found that my issue wasn’t my flipping technique but my impatience in letting the bottom of the omelette properly form. An omelette requires a harder consistency to stay together when you flip it than scrambled eggs do, so be sure the edges of your omelette are holding toether well before trying to flip it.
Sunny Side Up and Over Easy/Medium/Hard
Each of these eggs are separated by only a few brief moments of cooking time. One of the most basic ways to prepare an egg is sunny side up, where you crack in egg into a pan with heated oil or butter on medium-high heat and don’t touch it all until the edges begin to brown. The yolk will be nice and runny and run goes great with toast. To cook the egg Over Easy/Medium/Hard, simply flip a Sunny Side Up egg once its complete and let it cook for a little while on the other side. A good Over Easy egg will still have a runny yolk but will have a bit more form to it than a Sunny Side Up egg. Over Medium and Over Hard don’t have runny yolks and seem objectively less delicious to me than Sunny Side Up and Over Easy. My first attempt at Over Easy ended up as Over Medium because it doesn’t take very long at all to give the other side of the egg some form, just 5 to 10 seconds.
For years I went out of my way to order poached eggs at restaurants because they’re so delicious but I had no idea how to make them myself. It turns out that poaching an egg requires you to follow a pretty specific set of steps, and is the only kind of egg in this post which requires an ingredient other than butter or oil to make. Despite this, I was somehow able to successfully poach an egg on very first attempt. Just follow the instructions in this video tutorial and you’ll be poaching eggs in no time. I skipped the salt bath he does as the end of the video because I love the taste of vinegar and don’t mind my eggs tasting a little bitter.
Baked and Basted
Baking and Basting are two methods for preparing an egg which combine the best parts of Sunny Side Up and Over Easy. Using these methods you can cook the topside of the egg without ever having to flip it over and mess up the top side of the egg. Baking an egg is very simple, all you do is prepare a Sunny Side Up egg but you put a lid on the pan as it cooks. Remove it when the edges begin to brown. Try out a Baked Egg and a Sunny Side Up to see which flavor you prefer, as they’re slightly different.
Basting an egg makes you look like a master chef and it the results are quite delicious. Put a good amount of butter into the pan (more than you’d need for a regular Sunny Side Up) and crack in the egg. As the egg cooks, tilt the pan slightly and continually spoon the butter which pools at the bottom on top of the egg. This will accomplish two things – the top of the egg will cook a little and the entire egg will be infused with a buttery flavor. Its the most labor intensive method to cook an egg in this list, but its also arguably the most delicious. A properly basted egg should always taste better than a regular Sunny Side Up or Over Easy.
The One Handed Egg Crack
While learning to cook each of the eggs above I practiced cracking them with one hand. By the end of my journey (17 eggs) I had gotten then one handed crack pretty well down. You can find a tutorial for how to do this here.
As promised, here’s a picture of my girlfriend. Isn’t she pretty?
Until next time,