With Easter having just been with us, what better time of year to talk about eggs than now?
Okay, so I’m not going to talk about chocolate eggs cause really, there is only one thing you do with them – eat them!
I’m going to make a pretty safe assumption that there aren’t too many seasoned chefs reading my blog (hello if there are any out there), so I’m going to stick to talking about chicken eggs today. If you want to know more about duck eggs, quail eggs, goose eggs, emu eggs or any other type of egg then I’m afraid you’ll have to do some googling.
Do you know how to cook an egg? Well, you’re in luck if you have no idea.
The simplest way to cook an egg is to make scrambled eggs. Why? Because no one cares what they really look like and its fairly easy to tell when they’re done. The basic scrambled egg recipe I use is one egg to 1 tablespoon of milk then mix together with a fork. If you want a more French-style scrambled egg then use one egg to one tablespoon of pouring cream.
Most people would recommend that you add salt and pepper before cooking your scrambled eggs. I have read about this and been told a couple of times by TV chefs that if you wait till almost the end of the cooking time to add the salt, then you will have better eggs. The reason for this is that salt draws out the water in the egg and so the eggs will ‘stew’ (which means cook in water) rather than fry (cook in a dry heat with oil). Therefore, salt in the last minute or two of cooking or just add the salt on your plate when you’re done.
|Scrambled eggs and breakfast staples.
This is a make your own Sunday brekky for us.
To cook the scrambled eggs you can fry them in a fry pan or use a microwave. In the fry pan you need a medium to high heat and you need to be constantly moving the eggs around in the pan until they are firm enough to your liking. Restaurants and hotels tend to do them really soft whereas you can make them any way you like. Me personally, if I’m cooking an animal product I want it dead, therefore I like firm scrambled eggs.
- Throw in some fresh or dried herbs.
- Add a pinch of cinnamon and paprika when you serve your eggs.
- Scramble the eggs with added ham, bacon or tofu.
- Serve your eggs topped with smoked salmon.
- Wrap the scrambled eggs with tomato, cheese and avocado and make a breakfast burrito.
|Yum! A breakfast burrito!|
Making an Omelette
Omelettes are pretty similar to scrambled eggs. Instead of mixing the egg with milk or cream, in an omelette you add a little water and mix like you would scrambled eggs. To cook the omelette you need to heat a pan but don’t make it too hot. Add a swig of oil, then pour in the egg mixture. Let it sit and don’t do anything with it until it is about three quarters of the way cooked through. If you’ve made a smaller omelette then you can turn it over and finish the top. If its bigger, and includes more vegetables like a frittata, then you will need to finish cooking the omelette under the grill in the over (cover any plastic fry pan handles with foil before you put the fry pan in the oven so you don’t burn the handle).
Instead of finishing the top of the omelette in the oven you can fold the omelette in half while its in the pan, turn the heat off and then transfer the omelette to a plate. The last bits of the omelette will cook in the heat of the folded omelette so you don’t need to worry about it being uncooked when you eat it.
- Make a Spanish omelette by adding thinly sliced potatoes and chorizo.
- Add some finely chopped vegetables or a tomato to the pan and lightly fry before adding the egg.
- Sprinkle any omelette with fetta or parmesan cheese.
- Serve the omelette with a slice of bread or toast, or with hash browns and grilled tomatoes.
- Or make a frittata for lunch or dinner. Instructions are here.
- Or serve an omelette with white rice and some soy sauce for a simple meal when you’re feeling under the weather (or just having a lazy dinner).
|On this omelette I added some cheese, tomato and
avocado then wrapped it in Lebanese bread for a change.
Boiling an egg
There is plenty of controversy over the optimal time to boil an egg. Some people say add the eggs to the saucepan with cold water, other say with hot. Some say to only start the timer when the water is boiling, others say to time the whole thing. And then it depends on whether you want a hard boiled egg, or something softer.
|Hard boiled eggs. Peeling is the hardest part.|
The best advice I can give you on this is what works for me. I add cold water and a couple of pinches of salt to the water then turn the heat on. I time the entire process and it takes about 15 minutes for the water to come to boil and then produce a hard boiled egg.
Why do I add salt? Well, my husband read that its supposed to help the water boil faster. We don’t know if this is true or not cause its one of those urban myths. So its up to you if you decide to test this out.
- Hard boiled eggs can be added to salads.
- Make Scotch eggs for a heartier, low carb breakfast.
- Add mashed boiled eggs to a little mayonnaise then put on a sandwich with some lettuce.
- Make devilled eggs.
- Or just eat them sliced on bread with a little salt for a simple breakfast.
|Boiled eggs on toast. Simple, but awesome with tea.|
Frying an Egg
Perhaps you don’t want scrambled or boiled, but would rather fried? Maybe you’ve always wanted to serve someone eggs “sunny side up” and never really knew how to do that? Well, just like with all other egg cooking methods, there are always variations on what someone things is the best method to making fried eggs. Personally, I know of two different ways:
Method 1: Heat the fry pan to hot (the hotter the pan when you put the egg in will mean the egg will run less). Add a swig of oil and crack the egg in. For ease, use an egg ring that been coated in oil as well (unless its a silicone egg ring and they don’t really need oiling). Turn the heat down a little and wait for the egg white to change from clear to white all over before you take the egg out of the pan.
Sorter cooking times will mean a runnier egg yolk, and obviously longer times make a harder egg yolk. Rather than me give you the set times for these things I would just say watch it, poke the yolk with a fork to see how cooked it is, and take it off the stove when you like it.
If you do want a harder egg yolk you can always flip the fried egg over to brown the other side as well. This won’t give you the “sunny side up” look you want but you get an egg you like to eat.
Method 2: Heat the fry pan hot. Add a swig of oil and your egg rings if you’re using them (egg rings are easier if you’re new to cooking). Crack the eggs into the egg rings and turn the heat down a little. Grab a saucepan lid that fits the size of your pan. Holding it upside down run it under the tap so you get a couple of tablespoons of water in the edge of the upside down lid. Carefully take this back to the fry pan, turn the lid up the right way so the water splashes into the fry pan and put the lid on securely. The water will be evaporated in the hot pan and create steam.
So in method 2 you’re cooking the bottom of the egg with the pan and the top with the steam, but in the other method you only cook the bottom and wait for it to heat through to the top. I grew up using method 2 and generally prefer it as I don’t have to watch it so much. But the choice is up to you.
- Toast slices of Turkish bread and top with lettuce or spinach, tomato, avocado, cheese and a fried egg. Add smoked salmon for a really filling weekend brunch. This is really yummy if you leave the egg yolk soft as the yolk will create a sauce for the sandwich. You can eat it as an open sandwich or put a lid on it for a closed sandwich.
- Serve the fried egg with bacon, hash browns, grilled mushrooms and tomatoes, wilted spinach, baked beans and sausages for a traditional big breakfast – or with mushrooms, tomatoes, spinach, baked beans and avocado for vegetarians.
- Use a fried egg in place of a poached egg in any recipe such as eggs florentine or eggs benedict.
|In this version, I added fried haloumi to
the fried egg and salad on Turkish bread.
Other ways to cook eggs:
There are plenty of other ways to cook eggs that I haven’t mentioned here. Poached eggs, for instance, are cooked in water, but as these are harder to make than scrambled, boiled and fried eggs I thought I’d leave that method for another day.
You can also cook eggs in the following ways:
- As a frittata.
- As a quiche.
- In fried rice.
- As fritters.
- Or as baked eggs.