I am not one of those people who can whip up culinary concoctions without a recipe. And once I get hungry, I'm pretty much useless at "whipping up" anything at all. When my husband's out and it's time for dinner, I usually end up smearing peanut butter on anything I can find...and there have been some questionable choices, I'll be honest (Cool Ranch Doritos, I'm looking at you). But now I will share with you my one culinary masterpiece: a perfectly boiled egg! An egg boiled at just the right firmness can class up any pantry snack. I once put a soft boiled egg atop a bowl of Rice-A-Roni, and sprinkled it with chives and Sriracha.
Boiling an egg is as basic as cooking gets...and yet there are a myriad of opinions about the right way to do it. Naturally, I think my way is the right way. And by "my way," I mean of course my mother's way, because where else does one learn to boil an egg. But it also is attributed to my brother Chris, who is a chef and used to make deviled eggs for a fancy-pants, trendy, NYC restaurant...the kind of establishment that requires only the most perfect of yellow yolk-iness. Chris swears by this boiling technique for achieving perfect hard-boiled texture and color. WHAM - there's my street cred.
But hard boiled isn't the only way to go. Soft boiled eggs are the upscale, gooey version. Medium boiled strike the perfect balance. So without further ado, here's my technique for all 3...
PERFECTLY BOILED EGGS
- Take your eggs out of the fridge to bring them to room temperature.
- Fill a pot with plenty of water to cover the amount of eggs you plan to boil. Be generous - you don't want them peeking out. Heat over medium-high heat and bring to a rolling boil.
- Gently lower the eggs into the boiling water with a large spoon, and set your timer.
- While the eggs boil, put out a large bowl with about a handful of ice and some cool water.
- For soft boiled eggs: Remove the eggs after 5 minutes and lower them into the ice bath.
- For medium boiled eggs: Remove the eggs after 8 minutes and lower them into the ice bath.
- For hard boiled eggs: Remove the eggs after 14 minutes and lower them into the ice bath.
To open, gently hit the egg against the counter and roll it under your palm to crack the egg all over without piercing the white. Use the side of your thumb or a spoon to gently (especially for soft boiled ones) press the egg away from the shell.
Aside from the obvious uses of deviled eggs (for the record, I make mine - under the strict tutelage of Chris - with equal parts yolk, mayo, and mustard and that's it) and salads, I really love making soft boiled eggs on toast. I don't have a real recipe, because I just, you know, whip it up...I'm kind of a culinary master like that. But here you go:
JAMIE'S FAVORITE TRUFFLED EGG TOAST:
- Drizzle a piece of toast or toasted English muffin with truffle oil, spread with avocado, top with a soft boiled egg, cut open, liberally salt and pepper, and then finish off with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
Put down the peanut butter and have yourself a classy snack, people.
(all photos, Jamie Grill Photography)