Monday, June 22, 2009

Poached Eggs and Hardboiled Eggs: Eggs Two Ways, No Yolking

It’s been five days, and the Husband-Elect and I have successfully polished off our haul from last week’s trip to the Farmer’s Market. (Friends helped.) While we appreciated the ground beef, liked the bacon very much, and freakin’ loved the bread, the highlight of our booty (heh) was undoubtedly the carton of eggs. The EGGS. Who knew?

Lemme explain.

Okay, you know how supermarket eggs are? Runny, pale yellow yolks with flimsy whites and shells that break if you look at them the wrong way? Farmer’s market eggs are not like that at all. They have bright orange yolks with a silky, almost syrupy texture. They have substantive whites you can actually bite into. They have thick, brownish shells that seem almost twice as hard as store-bought eggs.

But best of all, they’re not just eggs. They’re EGGS. They taste like the eggs you remember as a kid. Or like regular eggs, turned up to 11. Or like eggs on ‘roids. (Alex Rodregguez?) If supermarket eggs are regular humans, farmer’s market eggs are the X-Men – regular humans, but way better. Like with claws and telekinesis and stuff.

I prepared our EGGS two ways this past weekend: poached and hard-boiled. Neither method uses oil, butter or cream, which cuts down on the fat. And the techniques – one from The Kitchn, the other from Chocolate & Zucchini – are basically foolproof. I’m an idiot when it comes to hardboiling, and Clotilde’s way hasn’t failed me yet. I owe her something in return. Perhaps a really good egg?

I do need to mention: today I learned there may be an issue with pasteurization and farm-fresh eggs. If you’re nervous, you might want to avoid the poaching and skip ahead to hardboiling. Either way, you’ll feel eggscellent in the end. Eggstra special. Eggceptional, even. (Sorry.)

Whirlpool-Style Poached Eggs
Makes 1 serving
Adapted from The Kitchn.

1 egg
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/2 tablespoon white vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

1) Add 1 quart of water, salt, and vinegar to a medium pot. Bring it to a boil. Drop heat to medium-low and simmer, making sure the bubbles remain pretty low-key. Using a slotted spoon, create a gentle whirlpool in the pot.

2) Get out a teacup and crack your egg into that cup. Very gently, lower the teacup into the whirlpool and set the egg free. It should migrate to the middle of the pot. 

3) Cook the egg 3 1/2 to 4 minutes. (Try not to go over.) Gently remove egg with your slotted spoon, and let some of the water drip back into the pan. Stick egg on plate. Salt and pepper to taste. Eat.

NOTE: If you’re having multiple eggs, I might do this one at a time. Otherwise … collisions. Yolk everywhere. Dogs and cats, living together. Mass hysteria.

Hardboiled Eggs
Makes 1 serving
Adapted from Chocolate & Zucchini.

1 large egg
Salt and pepper to taste

1) Get out a medium pot. Gently place the whole egg in the pot. and "cover with cold water by a 1/2-inch or so." Put it on the stove and turn the heat to medium-high. Once it starts boiling, kill the heat and cover the pot. Do not touch it for 7 minutes. (No more, no less.)

2) While egg is sitting, fill a medium bowl with cold water and a few ice cubes. After 7 minutes, put the egg in the ice bath. Let it sit 3 minutes.

3) This is all from Heidi, and it's genius: "Roll egg lightly on cutting board, hard enough so shell will crack, but not so hard you mangle it." (Why did I never think of this?) Peel your egg. Add some salt and pepper. Serve. To yourself, presumably.

Approximate Calories, Fat, and Price Per Serving for Both Dishes
74 calories, 5 g fat, $0.50

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ashupe said...

I love a good Ghost Busters quote!

Teeny said...

I have to say my favorite thing to put on hard boiled eggs is Pearl River Bridge soy sauce, instead of salt and pepper. You can't just use any soy sauce, but since I tried what the really stuff tastes like, I can't go back to Kikkoman.

Scott Olson said...

One note on pasteurized eggs - not all eggs sold in the supermarket are pasteurized, in fact most americans still have to look pretty hard to find them. Free range eggs produced on a smaller scale have significantly lower risk for salmonella infection than large scale commercial farms, so I wouldn't worry too much about it... But there is still a tiny risk.

Megan said...

Mmm... I love poached eggs! I've not quite perfected my method yet, so I rarely make them, but whenever they come out right, I devour them! I've never tried adding vinegar but have heard that it works, so I might give that a try next time.

Joy Manning said...

You really do a great job of describing the essentially eggy-ness of farm fresh eggs, but as they say, pictures are worth a thousand words and your yolks in those shots speak for themselves. Beautiful! Farm fresh eggs actually have less cholesterol than their sad supermarket cousins. And while they are more expensive, even the priciest eggs are relatively cheap compared to other forms of protein, like steak.

Jaime said...

I second what Scott said.

Also, I just read In Defense of Food, and am seeing Food, Inc. this week. Either my head will explode or my life will be transformed.

Amiyrah said...

Another great thing to use when poaching is pickle juice instead of vinegar. In the summer, especially, everyone has pickles in their fridge and don't know what to do with the pickle juice.

If you ever want to have a scrambled-type egg without using butter or cooking spray, you can do a process called basting. Basically, you replace the butter with warm water. With a great farm fresh egg, this process will yield wonderful results.

Gwen said... is one louder, isn't it?

Stephanie said...

Does the second recipe yield a soft or hard-boiled egg? I use 10 minutes for hard boiled and just wondered if 7 minutes yields a softer yolk (which is also yummy).

Leigh said...

Jamie (and Kris), I saw Food, Inc on Saturday: transformational explosion with tears.

Kristen, these eggs are stunning. I have never mastered the poach, but I will give this method a go.

Kris said...

Leigh, SWEET. We must discuss.

Stephanie, that's definitely hard-boiled. Maybe 5 would produce a soft-boiled one?

Amy Green said...

I am, like others, still working on my poaching technique. For some reason my eggs feather way too much and there isn't much white left. I've not given up yet, though. Your eggs are gorgeous. I am going to have to pick up some eggs from the Farmer's Market and try this for myself.

meriel said...

My grandparents live in Puerto Rico and have an acre of property and about 15 chickens. My favorite part of the day when I am visiting is breakfast when I get to enjoy REAL, orangey yolky, delicious eggs, along with some avocado straight from the tree! Thanks for this great post!

Brendan said...

This step by step seems way more helpful than what FoodNetwork has to offer. I followed their instructions on how to poach an egg and ended up with egg water. I'll be sure to try out your instructions soon.

Allison Wendelaar said...

Fresh eggs are the best! My Mom lives in Pine Island NY, and there is a house nearby that you can drive up the driveway, honk your horn, and they come out and bring you the best eggs ever! Aside from being delicious, it's just so cool to experience the old fashioned country living thing.