Master these first, then create your own dishes with sauces, leftover meats, preserves, or favorite spices.
In a book titled “The Old Virginia Gentleman,” its author, George Bagby, describes scrambled eggs as a “necessary.” For breakfast, for sandwiches, or as the original skillet supper, families all over the country agree with Mr. Bagby.
¼ C. milk
½ tsp. salt
2 T. butter
Beat together eggs, milk, salt and pepper with a fork, mixing thoroughly for uniform yellow, or just slightly for white and yellow streaks. Heat butter in 8-inch fry pan over medium heat until just hot enough to sizzle a drop of water. Pour in egg mixture. As mixture begins to set, turn a pancake turner over and gently draw completely across the bottom of pan, forming large soft curds. Continue until eggs are thickened, but do not stir constantly. Cook until eggs are thickened throughout but still moist.
Egg Tortilla, recipe on page 18.
More people greet each day with fried eggs than any other style. Perhaps you’re a sunnyside up fan, or over-easy or basted is your preference.
1 to 2 T. butter
In fry pan over medium-high heat, cook butter until just hot enough to sizzle a drop of water. (If a very large pan is used, more butter will be needed.)
Break and slip eggs into pan. Reduce heat immediately. Cook slowly to desired doneness, spooning butter over eggs to baste or turning eggs to cook both sides. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
The word poach comes from the French pocher which means to place in a pocket. Properly poached, the yolk is pocketed smoothly in the white. Breaking each egg into a saucer before slipping it into the water is gentler than cracking it directly in, and prevents mishaps.
Water, milk or broth
Lightly oil a saucepan. Add enough water to fill 2 inches deep. Heat to boiling over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to keep water at a simmer.
Break eggs, one at a time, into dish, then slip each egg into water, holding dish close to water’s surface. Simmer 3 to 5 minutes depending on desired doneness. When done, lift eggs with slotted pancake turner or spoon onto absorbent paper. Drain and trim edges, if desired.
Eggs Benedict, recipe on page 7.
BAKED (SHIRRED) EGGS
Baking is a good way to prepare eggs in quantity—you can multiply the following recipe to serve a larger group. The addition of cream gives the eggs a softer finish than that of standard fried or poached eggs.
¼ C. half and half or light cream
4 tsp. butter, divided
Grease four ramekins, shallow baking dishes, or large custard cups. Break and slip two eggs into each ramekin. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon 1 tablespoon half and half over each serving. Dot each with 1 teaspoon butter.
Bake in preheated 350° F. oven until whites are set and yolks are soft and creamy, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately.
Eggs started in unheated water are less apt to crack than ones put into boiling water. Follow the directions below, and for a special treat, serve soft-cooked eggs in egg cups, in the European fashion.
Put eggs in single layer in saucepan. Add enough tap water to come at least 1 inch above eggs. Cover and quickly bring just to boiling. Turn off heat. If necessary, remove pan from burner to prevent further boiling. Let eggs stand covered in the hot water 1 to 4 minutes, depending on desired doneness. Immediately run cold water over eggs or put them in ice water until cool enough to handle.
To serve, break shell through middle with a knife. With a teaspoon, scoop egg out of each half shell into serving dish. To serve in an egg cup, put the egg in cup small end down, slice off large end of egg with knife and eat from shell.
No wonder “hard boiled” has come to mean a tough character—boiling toughens the delicate protein of egg. Gentler cooking pays off in tenderness. The following method of turning the heat off when the water approaches the boiling point has two advantages—it won’t toughen the egg, and it saves energy.
Put eggs in single layer in saucepan. Add enough tap water to come at least 1 inch above eggs. Cover and quickly bring just to boiling. Turn off heat. If necessary, remove pan from burner to prevent further boiling. Let eggs stand covered in the hot water 15 to 17 minutes for large eggs. (Adjust time up or down by about 3 minutes for each size larger or smaller.) Immediately run cold water over eggs or put them in ice water until completely cooled.
To remove shell, crack it by tapping gently all over. Roll egg between hands to loosen shell, then peel, starting at large end. Hold egg under running cold water or dip in bowl of water to help ease off shell.