Perfection in a shell

Perfection in a shell

“Meglio un uovo oggi che una gallai domani.” (Better an egg today than a hen tomorrow)

I don’t know what this means, but I like it. Anything to do with eggs is fabulous. So delicious and versatile, it is the ultimate standby-meal in a shell. What’s not to love?

Here I give you a run-down on all things eggy – in an (egg)shell.

Why eggs? They are readily available, inexpensive, easy to cook (poach, boil, scramble, fry or omelette) and incredibly nutritious.

How nutritious? They have been referred to as nature’s own multi-vitamin and mineral supplement. One egg contains nine essential amino acids, a ton of vitamins and lots of protein as well as minerals including phosphorus, sulphur, zinc and potassium. Protein helps maintain muscle strength, boosts the immune system, stabilises a frayed nervous system and gives great supermodel-esque hair, skin and nails. An egg’s vitamin quota is super-impressive – A is great for clear eyes and good skin, B for bountiful energy, E is for a steady ticking heart and D and K for super-stong bones. The only vitamin an egg don’t contain is C. You can’t have everything.

Which eggs to buy? Clearly cage eggs are OUT. Free-range are mandatory. I want to know that chicken has had plenty of space to cluck, scratch and socialise. If your weekly shopping budget stretches to organic eggs, grab them, carefully. You can be sure those chooks were unmedicated, housed in 5 star accommodation and chowed down on some good nosh. If you are buying farm eggs, it’s good to know which farm they came from, just so you know they are high quality and have been properly refrigerated. Try and buy eggs that were laid within the last three days. Eggs bought at Farmer’s Markets are the best, but if you are buying from the store choose the ones with the latest use-by date.

Is it fresh? A freshly cracked egg’s white should form a gorgeous gelatinous bubble that hovers around a jewel-like yolk. You will know your egg is unfresh if you try to separate it – a mission:impossible. To check for freshness, place an egg in a bowl and submerge it with cold water. If it stays horizontal, it’s fresh. If it tilts slightly upward it may be over a week old. If it floats vertically it’s off and inedible.

How am I storing these babies? Pop them in fridge and keep a close eye on the use-by date.

Now how to cook – perfectly every time…. no matter what your preference.

How to boil an egg Rose Bakery style

  • To cook soft-boiled eggs, bring a pan of water to a boil and using a large spoon, gently lower the eggs into it.
  • Time them as follows (these timings will produce eggs with the white just set and yolks still soft)
  • Small eggs – 3 minutes Medium – 4 minutes Large – 4.5 minutes
  • As soon as the time is up, take them out with a slotted spoon, refresh under cold water for a second, then put them into egg cups.
  • To cook hard-boiled eggs, put them into a pan of cold water and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 -20 minutes, then drain off the hot water and replace with cold.
  • Let stand until the eggs are cool enough to shell.
  • In both cases it is best to remove the eggs from fridge and bring to room temperature before cooking.

The perfect omelet

Ingredients

  • Eggs (allow 2 eggs per person)
  • Water
  • Sea salt and pepper
  • coconut oil or butter

Method

  • Heat plates
  • In a bowl, place eggs, water, sea salt and pepper and whisk gently so just blended. If you over beat, the eggs will toughen.
  • In a skillet, melt a little butter or coconut oil. Don’t worry it won’t taste like coconuts – it will just be a whole lot healthier.
  • Ladle 1/2 cup egg mix into skillet.
  • when it starts to set around the edgiest use a spatula to carefully push the egg from side to the centre. Do this about 10 times, tilting as you go.
  • Keep cooking until omelet is almost set but still sort of luscious and creamy on top. If you are using a filling, now is time to get a-sprinkling.
  • With spatula, fold unfilled half over filling side.
  • Shake pan very gently and slide omelet to edge of skillet. Tip the skillet so the omelet slides straight onto warmed plate.

Really luscious scrambled eggs

(adapted from recipe by Jill Dupleix)

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 4 free-range eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 tbsp fat milk
  • 3 tbsp double cream
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
Method
  • Stab the peeled garlic clove with a fork and whisk gently the eggs and milk. The garlic lends the most subtle flavour to the eggs.
  • Melt the butter in saucepan over a low heat. You can also do this in a double boiler for an extra-creamy texture.
  • Add the eggy mixture then until thick and moist then stir in the double cream.
  • Season with salt and pepper and serve with generously buttered toast.

Poached eggs

(via notquitenigella)

Ingredients

  • Eggs
  • Cling wrap
  • oil for greasing

Method

  • Fill a small saucepan with water and set to boil.
  • Tear some cling film (ensuring there are no holes). Drizzle some oil over the cling film and spread it out with your fingers. Place the sheet of clingfilm in a ramekin oil side up and break and egg into the cling wrap (don’t break the egg on the side of the ramekin in case it pierces a hole in the glad wrap). Gather up the edges of the cling wrap twisting it and making sure that you have the egg enclosed well and carefully place it in the simmering water.
  • For a soft-boiled yolk, poach for 4.5- 5 minutes if the eggs are cold from the fridge or 3.5-4 minutes if they are room temperature. Lift out of the water using a slotted spoon and cut away the wrap just near it is twisted and gathered. Break it open to reveal a golden river of yolk.

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