Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Egg-tastic


Remember that cooking class I told you I was taking - the one that focuses on mastering the basics of "serious" cooking? Well, last week's session was All About Eggs. "Eggs?" you say, "but eggs are...just eggs." Well yes, I admit, eggs are pretty darn basic, but that was the whole point - that eggs, in all their humble glory, are one of the main building blocks of many celebrated French dishes. Think satiny creme brulee, light-as-air merengue, decadant hollandaise. And on the other ends of the fancy-shmancy spectrum, eggs all by themselves are the beloved star of many a breakfast/brunch spread. So, since eggs are such a ubiquitous ingredient, I thought rather than giving you just one recipe, I'd share a bunch of tips I gleaned from class that are already paying off big time for me. I hope you find them helpful, too - and if you have any tried-and-true egg tips of your own, please share!

Egg Cooking Tips
  1. A nonstick pan is for cooking two things. Eggs is one of them. (Fish is the other).

  2. Cook sunny side up eggs on medium-low heat for a tender, delicate white.

  3. Cook over easy eggs on medium-high heat for a white sturdy enough for flipping.

  4. Cook omelettes over high heat. Yes, high.

  5. Speaking of omelettes, here's how to make a perfect one: add a little butter to a hot, nonstick saute pan. Pour in lightly beaten eggs (enough to completely cover the bottom of your pan). Immediately scramble your eggs with a fork to help them cook through quickly. When they are halfway set, pat them down with the fork to create an even layer on the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle in shredded cheese and any other filling ingredients. With one hand, hold the pan's handle like a dagger (i.e., at a sharp angle) and with your other hand, use a spatula to slowly roll the omelette out of the pan onto a heated plate. The whole process should take about a minute tops. Ta-da!

  6. When a recipe calls for whipping egg whites, like for a souffle, do it slowly. Think of blowing bubbles with a straw into a glass of milk. If you do it fast, you get big bubbles that disappear quickly. If you do it slow, you get tiny bubbles that stick around for awhile. You want those small bubbles for sustained lift.

  7. Older eggs are best for hard boiling - something about how they have more space between the shell and the goo, making for easier peeling.

  8. When cracking eggs, always do it on a flat surface. Though washed, egg shells are where bacteria can reside, and cracking on the side of a bowl makes it easier for the egg itself to come in contact with the outer shell. (Trust the chef on this one. No one likes salmonella).

1 comment:

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