Egg

Egg

By
From
Encyclopedia of Food and Cookery

An egg is a remarkably efficient package of nutrition, being rich in protein, vitamins and minerals. Eggs are indispensable in the kitchen. They are used to thicken, as in custards or puddings; to leaven, as in soufflés, cakes and puffy omelettes; to emulsify, as in mayonnaise. A beaten egg stirred into hot, not boiling, liquid will thicken and enrich soups and sauces. Use a beaten egg to bind mixtures for croquettes, meatballs and stuffings, and if you want to fry foods, a coating of egg will protect the food and keep an outer coating of breadcrumbs in place. Beaten egg gives a beautiful shiny glaze when brushed over pastry before baking.

To follow are the basics on how to prepare eggs in a variety of ways.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
see method for ingredients

Method

  1. To buy and store: Eggs are bought graded according to weight; the medium ones are used in most recipes unless otherwise stated. Choose the freshest eggs possible by purchasing them from a busy shop with a fast turnover. A fresh egg when broken into a saucer should be quite highly domed, with the white thick and compact.
  2. Never wash eggs before storing as this will destroy the natural protective film over the shells; store them in the refrigerator away from highly flavoured foods as the shells are porous and absorb odours. Place the pointed ends down to allow the air space at the rounded end to ‘breathe’.
  3. Egg whites can be stored for 2–3 weeks in an airtight container in the refrigerator. To use: measure 1½ tablespoons for each egg white. Egg yolks may be covered with water, and refrigerated. Use within 5 days.
  4. For best results in cooking, remove eggs from the refrigerator for a few hours before using. Eggs used at room temperature mix with other ingredients more readily and the whites whisk to a greater volume.
  5. To whisk egg whites: These can be beaten by hand, with a whisk or rotary beater, or using an electric mixer. Whether you beat egg whites by hand or use a machine the basic principle is the same. The bowl and beater should be very clean, and the whites have no trace of yolk.
  6. Start beating slowly until a soft foam forms, then add a pinch of salt and ½ teaspoon cream of tartar for 4 egg whites. Gradually increase the beating speed and circulate the beaters right round the bowl, to incorporate all the egg white and beat in as much air as possible. Beat until the whites are glossy and creamy. Their volume by now should be 7 times greater than when you started beating and should hold a soft peak when the beater is raised. Stop beating before the whites form very stiff peaks as they become dry and brittle and will not mix well with other ingredients.
  7. Baked eggs: Butter small ramekins and break an egg into each. Season with salt and freshly ground white pepper, cover with 1 teaspoon warm cream or melted butter, and bake in a preheated moderate oven for 8–10 minutes until the white is set and the yolk still runny.
  8. Diced bacon, ham, salami or chopped spinach may be placed in the bottom of each ramekin before adding the egg if you wish. Cheese can be sprinkled over the egg before adding the cream or butter.
  9. Boiled eggs: Place eggs in a pan with cold water to cover. Bring to the boil and cook for 3 minutes for soft-boiled, 4 minutes for medium-boiled and 10 minutes for hard-boiled. Cool hard-boiled eggs rapidly under cold running water and tap gently all over to crack the shell and prevent an unsightly dark ring forming around the yolk. Store shelled hard-boiled eggs in cold water in the refrigerator.
  10. Fried eggs: Melt enough bacon fat or butter to cover the bottom of a frying pan. When it begins to sizzle, break the eggs, one at a time, into a cup and slide them into the pan. Fry gently, basting from time to time with the fat, until the eggs are cooked with firm whites and soft yolks or as you like them. Remove with an egg slice and serve at once.
  11. Poached eggs: Use very fresh eggs, straight from the refrigerator, as they hold their shape better. Half fill a shallow pan with water, add ¼ teaspoon vinegar and bring to the boil. Break each egg into a cup, slide it into the water, cover the pan, remove from the heat and leave for 3½ minutes for soft eggs or 4 minutes for firmer ones. Remove, using an egg slice, drain and serve at once.
  12. Scrambled eggs: For one person, beat together 2 eggs, 1 tablespoon milk or cream, salt and freshly ground pepper. Melt 2 teaspoons butter in a pan, pour in the eggs and cook over low heat, stirring gently until the eggs are creamy and soft. Serve immediately.
  13. Omelettes: For 1–2 people, beat 3 eggs lightly with 1 tablespoon water, season with salt and freshly ground white pepper. Melt 15 g butter in a small frying pan and, when the foam subsides, pour in the eggs. Lift the cooked egg from the edges towards the centre – the uncooked egg will run underneath. Repeat until the eggs have set underneath but are still moist on top. Fold one-third of the omelette towards the centre and roll it out onto a heated plate, tilting the pan so that the omelette folds over again. Serve at once.
  14. To fill omelettes: Heat the filling and spoon it across the centre just before the omelette is folded over. Use about 3 tablespoons of any of the following fillings: chopped cooked mushrooms; chopped fresh herbs; chopped cooked bacon and onion; warm asparagus tips; grated cheese; salmon or crab mixed with a little cream.
  15. Coddled eggs: Butter inside of egg coddler lightly and drop in 1–2 eggs. Add a tiny piece of butter and season with salt and pepper. Screw on lid and cook for 10 minutes in a saucepan of boiling water. The yolks should be soft, the whites just set. For variety, add grated cheese, chopped fresh herbs, sliced mushrooms or diced ham.
Tags:
Back to top
    No results found
    No more results
      No results found
      No more results
        No results found
        No more results
          No results found
          No more results
            No results found
            No more results
              No results found
              No more results
              Please start typing to begin your search
              We're sorry but we had trouble running your search. Please try again