Engineer’s Guide to Cooking Eggs

In my opinion, eggs are the ultimate home cook’s convenience food. They last for ages on your bench, taste great, are very nutritious and can be cooked in a matter of minutes in a variety of ways. Here’s some simple instructions on how to cook them:

Boiled

There are a tonne of different methods for boiling eggs (all generally involve eggs, water and a saucepan). Here’s mine:

  1. Place as many eggs as you want in a saucepan and cover with cold water.
  2. Place on the stove and bring to the boil over a high heat
  3. Once boiling, remove the saucepan from the stove. Cover and let sit for: Hard-boiled – 10 minutes, Soft-boiled – 4 minutes
  4. Remove from the water and either serve with toast (soft-boiled) or place in cold water (hard-boiled) – this will stop them cooking further

Fried

  1. In a fry pan, heat 1 tablespoon of fat over a medium heat. Any fat such as butter, olive oil, vegetable oil etc will do.
  2. Crack the eggs into the pan.
  3. Wait for 2 minutes before either covering with a lid or tilting the pan to collect some fat in a spoon and pouring it over the tops of the eggs.
  4. Continue cooking for a further 2 minutes until the white is cooked and the yolk is still runny.
  5. For sunny-side-up, serve your eggs as is, for easy-over, flip your eggs over with a spatulua/fish slice and cook for a further 30 seconds.

Hint:

  • The fresher your egg, the better it will hold its shape in the pan.

Poached

  1. Fill a frying pan/skillet/saucepan with about 25mm (1″) of water. Make sure it’s not an non-coated cast iron pan as this will taint your eggs.
  2. Heat the water until it is simmering
  3. If you have it, add a dash of vinegar to the water (this will help the egg coagulate quicker and stay together)
  4. Carefully break the eggs into the water
  5. Leave the egg to cook for 3 minutes.
  6. Remove the egg from the water using a slotted spoon and dry on some paper towel.

Hints:

  • The fresher your egg, the better it will hold its shape in the water
  • Many chefs swear by creating a whirlpool in the water and breaking your egg into the centre so as the white ‘wraps’ around the yolk.
  • To help gently pour the egg into the water, you can break it into a cup first

Scrambled

Every chef has their own method for making scrambled eggs. The secret is to not overcook them. Here’s my basic recipe. The benefit of this recipe is that it’s all done in the pan, so there’s less washing up!

  1. Break your eggs into a non-stick saucepan. I allow 2-3 eggs per person.
  2. Turn on the heat to medium and with a spatula/fish slice start beating the eggs. Make sure your spatula or fish slice has a flat end (similar to the image below) to allow you to scrape the bottom of the pan.
  3. Continue beating the eggs until they are reasonably homogeneous. As the egg heats, it will start to turn more opaque/cloudy and use you continue to stir, scraping the bottom of the pan, solid pieces of cooked egg will collect on the spatula.
  4. Continue cooking the egg until it looks almost done (about 5 mins) and remove from the heat. The egg will continue to cook after you remove it.
  5. Season with salt and pepper and maybe some chopped chives if you like and serve.


My preferred spatula

 

Baked

Yes, that’s baked hard ‘boiled’ eggs. Alton Brown swears by this approach (you can find his instructions here) and apparently you should get the same result as a hard boiled egg but with a creamier texture. HOWEVER, when I tried this approach, the results weren’t good. Basically the tops of all the eggs exploded off in the oven – similar to this person.

But if you do want to give it a try, here’s how:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 160deg C or 320deg F.
  2. In a muffin pan, place as many eggs as you want to cook (one per compartment)
  3. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 30mins.
  4. Remove from oven and place eggs in a bowl of cold water
  5. Peel and enjoy (if they don’t explode)

 

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