The people at America’s Test Kitchen are my heroes!
I’ve subscribed to their magazine — Cook’s Illustrated — for years. If you’ve never read an issue, please, please, please hunt one down. (You can find single issues in most large bookstores.)
The ATK group approaches cooking pragmatically and somewhat scientifically, taking a particular recipe and testing new and different ingredients and techniques to come up with a great version of that classic dish. In the magazine, recipes are accompanied by a page or so relaying the cook’s thought process and the evolution of the final recipe. The cooks steer clear of fancy, expensive gadgets and rare ingredients, and they strive to make the recipes low-fuss. I’ve never read one (or watched an episode on PBS) without learning something valuable. (They also test equipment, explain the science behind cooking, and offer a multitude of tips and tricks.)
And when I picked up my latest issue of Cook’s Illustrated, it reminded me why I keep renewing. On the cover: “Truly Foolproof Soft-Cooked Eggs: We Made More than 1,000.”
People who know me know: I. LOVE. EGGS!!!
A couple of years ago, I uncovered a source for local eggs. These eggs are big. They have stunning, golden yolks. (I’m not sure if they’re from pastured hens, but I like to think so, and I now am reminded I need to ask that question the next time I visit the Rosemeade Market and Greenhouse in Carrollton/Dallas.) These glorious eggs rescued me from my breakfast avoidance issues. Since they discovered me, I pull one of those babies out of the frig every morning (ok, most mornings), add a bit of cream, whisk it, and scramble it with love. It’s turned into a religious experience for me.
I also adore soft-boiled eggs. So the fact that the folks at ATK tested more than 1,000 to come up with a perfect technique made me so dad-gum happy. I tried it. It worked! I’ve eaten a perfect soft-cooked egg every morning this week. And it’s much simpler than scrambling (although I know I’ll continue to scramble reverantly some days).
A few notes about this technique:
- Soft-cooked eggs are tough to cook perfectly, because firm and tender whites require a temperature of 180° while the yolks must be at a temp of less than 158° to keep their delicious runniness. Who knew? The method relies on steaming — as opposed to boiling — the eggs.
- This technique works for one to six large, extra-large, or jumbo eggs without a change in the steaming time.
- Cleanup is practically non-existent! I use any leftover boiling water and the ice bath water to water my plants. And the pan goes into the dish rack to dry.
Technique For Perfect Soft-Cooked Eggs
- Bring ½ inch water to boil in a medium pan over medium-high heat. I used medium and it worked well.
- Lower one to six eggs into the water. You can use a steamer basket if you like, but I just put them right into the pan.
- Cover pan and cook for 6 ½ minutes.
- Run cold water into the pan for 30 seconds. I use an ice bath instead, because I think it wastes less water.
You can peel the eggs and cut them in half atop a piece of toast, or peel the tops off, perch them in egg cups, and dig into the deliciousness with a spoon.
Oh. And did I say: I LOVE EGGS!!! And I adore the folks at America’s Test Kitchen for working so hard to come up with a superb way to soft-cook them.
Image Credit: Ideas In Food via flickr/CC