Wednesday, November 12, 2008

soft boiled eggs

people often use the expression "xx can't even boil an egg" to describe someone who can't cook. or, anyone can boil an egg, meaning that boiling an egg is easy. is it easy to boil an egg? a perfect egg?
i don't think so. i actually think there's an art to it; it isn't so simple. i remember having a soft boiled egg at my auntie peggy's house when i was little. the albumen was creamy and the yolk still runny. it was perfect. until then, my mother had always hard boiled my eggs, but from then on, i wanted eggs the way aunty peggy cooked them. i don't know whether i've mentioned this before, but my mother was never interested in cooking, so when she first cooked a soft boiled egg for me, it was too hard. the yolk was still liquid, but the albumen was hard. next time she did it, the albumen had a very thin layer of cooked hard white albumen and the rest of the albumen was clear and liquid. it wasn't very nice, and i'm being polite (cos this is a family friendly site). i think i had a few more of my mother's eggs, then that was it. a little girl could only take that much......actually, now that i think about my mum's cooking....actually, i don't want to think about it, she could even cook an egg.
as i said before, with boiled eggs, i like the albumen to be opaque and creamy, and the yolk still runny and liquid. to achieve this, i find it easier to start with the eggs at room temperature. then i like to pierce a small hole in the broad end of the egg. i do this with a pin. having tried to stick the pin into the shell in the past, i know this is close to impossible. what i do these days is hold the pin to the broad end of the egg and use the kitchen bench to tap the pin into the egg. usually one tap is all that is required.
bring a sauce pan of water to the boil, take it off the heat and gently lower the egg into the water. the length of time you leave the egg in the water depends on how you like your egg soft boiled.

if you want the thin albumen (the albumen closest to the shell) set, and the thick albumen (the albumen closest to the yolk) clear and liquid, your egg should be ready after 2 minutes.

3 minutes will give you an egg with a soft outer albumen with the thick albumen starting to turn white while still being liquid.

a 4 minute egg will have opaque albumen which is still soft.

the whites will be more solid after 5 minutes

it depends on how softly boiled one wants the egg.

you'll have to take into consideration the size of the eggs, the number of eggs being cooked and the amount of water you use as to how the the eggs turn out as well. alot of variables, aren't there?

even hard boiled eggs don't just happen - can't over boil them otherwise you get the dark circle around the yolk, but that's another story for another day.

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