Good Food Blog
How do you like your eggs?Posted at 12:30PM, 07 May 2009 by Stuart Walton - Food and wine writer
'How do you like your eggs in the morning?', goes the song. 'I like mine with a kiss.' Well, don't we all? But the eggs are usually a lot harder to get right.
I found myself in a B&B last week, descending, via one of those scary lifts that take about an hour to go down four floors, to the Noël Coward breakfast room. (Dear Brighton, don't ever change.) The fried breakfast I was given was a classic of the genre, in that the bacon was wonderful, the sausage acceptable and the egg an upsetting disaster .
I don't know what the technical term is for an egg done in the microwave (microwaved egg, perhaps?), but I don't see how they get to call it a 'fried' egg. It was entirely enveloped in the diaphanous veil of its white, in a rough approximation of the style the Americans call ' over easy', but that nobody in Britain understands. Somewhere within the spotless albumen lurked the lukewarm yolk, waiting to meld gorgeously into the baked bean lake that flooded half the plate.
The best way of achieving this result with a fried egg is to fry it, if I might be tiresomely pedantic
A fried egg should look properly frazzled at the edges, the white opaque rather than translucent, and the yolk, when broken, should spill into a little puddle around it. The best way of achieving this result with a fried egg is to fry it, if I might be tiresomely pedantic.
Then again, preferences in egg cookery are so defining, aren't they? When it comes to other cooking methods, I like it as underdone as is consistent with government health guidelines.
Scrambled eggs to me should be loose and pale, cooked very gently until they just about hold their shape, but are still a long way off solid. The polystyrene school of thought, in which they appear as a drily quivering mass on the toast, is a waste of good eggs. Even worse is the breakfast buffet style, in which the eggs have been cooked solid, raked over and then left to dry out in a heated tray, so what you get is lots of rubbery yellow rubble.
Similarly, an omelette should have a runny centre (what the French call baveuse ), so that when folded over on to the plate, it leaks a little unset mixture from inside and creates its own sauce. My sweetheart used to cook them so that they were as dry as a tortilla and full of spring onion in the Chinese style, a risk you take in having a Chinese sweetheart.
And as to poaching, don't get me started. Actually, do get me started. If you have one of those contraptions called an egg poacher, with little compartments to hold the eggs, throw it away now. A poached egg should be cooked by breaking it into an ordinary pan of vinegared water and leaving it for three minutes.
Baking eggs is suddenly fashionable again, for the first time since the Edwardian era. Just as soon as I've unearthed the ramekins, I'll let you know how I like my oeufs en cocotte. In the meantime, what drives you mad about the way people cook eggs?