Soft-Boiled Eggs

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Perhaps it’s the release of Arrested Development season four, or the fact that I’ve been reading lots of egg related recipes from my friends on their blogs—(Jackie’s homemade mayoIlana’s avocado egg toast, and Andy’s chef salad), or because eggs are just so versatile; but I don’t think I’ve ever eaten this many in a long while and they’ve certainly never tasted this good. I’ll eat any variety—poached, hard boiled, soft boiled, fried, scrambled, omelet-ed, egg in the hole-d, cookie dough batter….ok, I think you get the idea.

My recent obsession in egg preparation is the soft-boiled egg.  “Revival” might be a better word as my childhood was filled with this deliciously oozing form of protein (and cholesterol, but whatever).  My sister and I used to eat soft-boiled eggs at our grandparents’ house and it always felt like such a treat because we had special cups that were meant specifically for eating this type of egg.  I’ve always enjoyed eating foods that involve a challenge and remember the anticipation of successfully eating the whole thing without destroying its delicate presentation.  First, my grandmother would boil the eggs then peel them so that half of the shell remained on the egg.  This half was then placed into the cup and we used spoons to extract all the yummy yolk and scrape the inside of the shell ever so gently to get the whites.

The eggcup was a hand-me-down from when our father was young and I remember that on the cup was a painted face. The paint had chipped a bit but when my grandmother put the egg inside the cup, that little face seemed to come alive and looked like a mini cone-head.  Though the eggcup method is just one of the many fun aspects of the soft-boiled egg, I also love experimenting with timing to see how runny the yolk will get.  The trick is creating that smooth egg-white outside and allowing the yolk to heat just enough so that it forms a kind of film inside that sticks to the whites, but remains raw on the inside.

I calculate the boil time of the egg differently depending on what I’m eating.  In a salad or with veggies, I tend to let the egg cook longer so that the yolk holds together while still staying moist, but if I’m eating it from a special eggcup or having it with toast, it’ll be on the runnier side.  The recipe I use has never failed me and it’s easy to adjust the cook time to get whatever affect you desire.

Fool-Proof Soft-Boiled Egg Recipe:

In small pot bring ½ inch water to a boil on med-high heat

Carefully place egg(s) into the water and cover; the steam is the trick to a perfect egg

Set a timer for your choice of:

5.5 minutes (extra ooze)

6.5 minutes (the perfect soft-boiled egg—yolk will run a little once sliced)

7.5 minutes (tiny bit of runny yolk in the center)

Remove pot from heat, drain hot water and run cold water over the eggs

Once they’ve cooled, carefully peel off the shell

Sprinkle some salt and fresh ground pepper on top and they’re good to go as is, or enjoy with veggies, toast, a bowl of ramen, hash browns, salads…the options are endless!

If using the eggcup, only peel about the half the shell, then dig out the goods with a spoon. Lastly, if eating your egg without the cup, it is a tradition in my family to “always cut the egg”.  I can still hear those words echo in my great-grandmother’s voice each time I’m about to enjoy a boiled egg.  “Bad luck if you don’t!”


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