Whenever me and the chefs are talking about the foods and cuisines we cook (god, I hate it when people ask questions like “what cuisine do you specialize in?”), I want the questions to go elsewhere so I always drop in my culinary waterloo: Egg Cookery. Yes, the precious and humble eggs give me that uncomfortable feel in my gut- I don’t know where all of it came from. And this egg cooking is not about soufflés nor pavlovas, but… boiling. Yes- boiling eggs!
Sunday morning in a halter dress and I have to review some egg cooking techniques. I am creating this Japanese dish that includes a hanjuku tamago (soft- boiled egg), and it all has to be very, very perfect. (Aaarrgghh… do I really have a tough destiny with the perfectionist Japanese?!)
Egg boiling 101. Water must be a full rolling boil. As aggressive as it could get. The temperature is steady anyway. Drop the egg slowly. In this case I marked the shells 5 minutes, 6 minutes and 10 minutes. The counting of the minutes start as soon as the eggs are dropped into the water. What is so fascinating about cooking eggs (and sugar) is that they change very rapidly at every minute that passes. This calls a lot of attentiveness on the cook’s part. Even the temperature of the egg when you cook it is crucial too. So I have to compare- chilled vs. room temp. - just to be very, very sure. (See, I get all too OC at this). Be sure to have very cold water in which to plunge the eggs after cooking.
I skipped the three- minute and four- minute eggs. The egg white and the yolk aren’t all set during those hours anyway so I don’t have much need of them. I settled with the 5 minutes :
Careful with the yolk. Although the white is set, it is still very fragile.
The 10- minute egg. I prefer hard- boiled eggs that are chalky on the outside but have a moist center. I like its good mouth feel.
The 6- minute egg. My favorite. The yolk is just beginning to set around the sides but the inside is still runny. Oeufs mollet, anyone?