Eggs

Eggs

By
Justin North
Contains
7 recipes
Published by
Hardie Grant Books
ISBN
9781740665377
Photographer
Steve Brown

Unquestionably one of the most versatile foods, the humble egg is put to good use in French cooking. There are literally hundreds of recipes for cooking whole eggs – from omelettes and baked eggs, to soft- and hard-boiling, scrambling, poaching or frying. And that’s just the start of it.

As well as being eaten on their own, there are even more uses for eggs as an ingredient within a dish. Whole eggs are used to help bind stuffings or terrines and to add richness to cakes. When separated, egg yolks and whites are used to achieve very different results. Egg yolks are high in fat and protein, which enable them to thicken and enrich sauces and custards and to emulsify ingredients – such as oils and liquids – which otherwise do not combine. Egg whites increase in volume dramatically when beaten with air; this makes them indispensable in adding airy lightness and volume to cakes, soufflés, meringues and mousses.

One of the most important rules when buying eggs is to check for freshness – and really fresh eggs tend only to be reliable when bought as free-range, organic or farm eggs. Although it is rare to get a ‘bad egg’ these days, there is a marked difference in taste and quality with eggs that are really fresh and eggs that are a bit old. Very fresh eggs have plump, rounded yolks that sit up proudly. The whites hold their shape and cling closely to the yolk. As they age the albumen deteriorates and the whites become watery and the yolks become flabby. It makes sense to buy regularly and in small quantities so you always have the freshest possible eggs to hand.

My preference is to store eggs in the refrigerator, but remember that the shells are porous and they will absorb aromas from other unwrapped items. This is fine if you happen to have some truffles on hand, but not so good if they are sitting next to a stinky cheese. Remember, too, to take your eggs out of the refrigerator several hours in advance of using to allow them to come to room temperature.

Recipes in this Chapter

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