Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Lost Art of a Soft Boiled Egg.

Flickr photo by Baking and Books

When I was a boy, at the occasional formal breakfast, it was not uncommon to be served a soft boiled egg. The very idea of a soft boiled egg is counter-natural to a young man, so cracking the egg shell in the funny holder was not my favorite morning breakfast activity. But I learned eventually and, once cracked and eaten, loved the soft boiled egg, especially with some salty crackers or buttered toast.

Today, I have given up asking for soft-boiled at restaurants so I make them at home. If given the choice, I would choose soft-boiled seven of ten times eggs are served. Here's how I make them:

* First, the fresher the egg, the better, no matter how they are prepared. The closer to home raised the better. I don't say that from a "go-organic" point of view. Eggs from home raised chickens are tastier, the shells are stronger, the yolks more orange colored, they don't have crazy corporate chemicals in them, and best of all, they come from happier chickens (we raised chickens in the back yard when the kids were young).
* Small pot of cold (room temperature) water.
* Place eggs carefully into the cool water and heat to a boil.
* Once water is at boil, remove from heat and cover for 4 minutes (by my taste). I'm not a scientific cook, so I estimate just about everything, but if you like to measure and time and all that, time the first couple and determine if the softness suits you. My problem with overly concentrating on the clock is that the size, age and origin of the eggs effect the cooking time, so you are guessing anyway.I like the yolks warm and soft, but the whites not runny.
* When you scoop them out of the hot water, run cool water over the shells so you can handle them, put them on a plate and crack them through the middle with a knife.
* Then scoop out the egg, add buttered toast, some fresh salsa, salt and pepper.

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