“Probably one of the most private things in the world is an egg before it is broken.”
― M.F.K. Fisher
We all love eggs. Eggs provide essential proteins, are inexpensive, and can be prepared in a myriad of delicious ways. Eggs make life easier. But too often, the delicacy of an egg is mistreated or simply misunderstood. When in the wrong hands, eggs can become slimy, wet, greasy, rubbery, or worst of all, bland. When in the right hands, eggs are silken, meaty, fluffy, and full of life. When treated as they deserve, eggs are a beacon of purity and simplicity in an increasingly complicated world.
Here is your ultimate guide to making the perfect egg any style.
SCRAMBLED ~ the joy of young and old
DON’T, I repeat, DON’T salt the eggs prior to cooking. Ever. The salt breaks down the protein compound of the egg and makes it watery. Also, don’t add cream, milk, sour cream, yogurt, or any other substance to eggs while cooking. Ever! Butter is all you need during the cooking process. A little sour cream or creme fraiche can be added at the end to give texture.
Gordon Ramsey and the perfect scrambled egg:
SOFT BOILED ~ the perfect marriage of poached & hard boiled
It’s all in the timing. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil on the stove. Once boiling, carefully set the eggs in the water. Cover and turn heat to low. Set your timer for five minutes. Remove from water.
The Kitchn “How to Open a Soft Boiled Egg”
Eat, Live, Run “Eggs & Soldiers”
HARD BOILED ~ the athlete favorite
The go-to protein you can always have ready in your fridge. Little fact: fresh eggs are harder to peel than older eggs. Use fresh eggs for other cooking methods. Use eggs about a week old for hard boiling.
Martha Stewart “Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs”
Nom Nom Paleo “How to Perfectly Cook & Peel Hard Boiled Eggs”
POACHED ~ the soft pillow
Easy does it! Poaching is all about a gentle interaction between softly bubbling water and the delicate slipping of the egg into a casual whirlpool.
Huffington Post “All You Ever Need to Know About Poaching an Egg”
BASTED ~ the steam fry
Highly underrated and too little appreciated, basting is the joyous combination of frying and steaming. Add a little liquid, preferably chicken stock, to the last stage of cooking for a fried egg and seal with a lid.
Gracelaced’s “Perfectly Basted Egg”
BAKED ~ the family friendly
Let’s be honest, frying an egg (or two) for each member of a big family is much too time consuming. Baked egg dishes are a perfect alternative. Not only can you incorporate vegetables, herbs, meat, and cheese more easily, but the meal will stretch for many.
Bon Apétit’s “Portugese Baked Eggs”
OMELETTES ~ the egg crescent moon
A mistake we’ve made time and again: overstuffing the omelette. Omelettes are delicate and less is more. Stick to fresh herbs, cheese, and soft vegetables like mushrooms and tomatoes to fill an omelette. Or go naked and see how lovely is the bare egg.
Jaques Pepin with all you need to know about omelettes: