COOKING THE PERFECT EGG


SOFT BOILED EGG
NEVER boil an egg. Eggs must be cooked slowly. Cook eggs in water below the boiling point. Soft cooked eggs, with firm whites and runny yolks, take 2 to 3 minutes, depending on the size of the eggs. To prevent the shells from breaking start in cold water and bring slowly to a simmer. At this point, the whites will be just firm enough and the yolks runny. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes longer for a very firm whites and yolks that hold their shape.

HARD BOILED EGGS
Hard-cooked eggs take 10 to 12 minutes in water at the simmering point. Turning them four or five times during the cooking helps to set the yolks at dead center, which is important if the eggs are to be stuffed. Cool hard-cooked eggs by plunging them at once into cold water. This action prevents the formation of the familiar greenish ring around the yolk

SCRAMBLED EGGS
Cook over low heat in a heavy copper or cast-iron skillet. For 4 servings, break at least 8 eggs into a bowl and beat them with a fork sufficiently to blend the whites and yolks thoroughly without whipping up a froth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. In a skillet melt 2 tbsp [25 mL] butter and, before it begins to bubble, pour in the egg mass. As the eggs coagulate on the bottom and at the edges of the pan, pull the solids to the center to let the parts that are still liquid reach the bottom of the pan. Keep moving and blending liquid and solid until all has become firm but is still moist. Remove the pan from the heat and while the heat retained by the pan does the final cooking, scramble the eggs rapidly and serve them immediately. The eggs will be firm, soft, and custardy, not dry and leathery.

POACHED EGGS
If ever you needed fresh eggs, you need them here! In a deep saucepan or large deep non-stick skillet bring water to a boil. To help the egg keep a round shape, add 1 tbsp [15 mL] white vinegar. Lower the heat to just below the simmering point. Break one egg at a time in custard cup or saucer and slip into barely simmering water, keeping eggs as separate as possible. Cover skillet until egg whites coat over yolks. Remove cover. Poach the egg for about 3 minutes or until whites are firm but yolks are still soft when touched with back of a spoon. Remove the egg from the water with a slotted spoon, rest on a folded paper towl to absorb excess water, trim away the loose thin white , and serve at once. If necessary, the egg may be kept for a few minutes in warmed salted water.

BASIC OMELET
For each serving, mix 3 eggs lightly with a fork and add 1/2 tsp [2 mL] salt. Heat heavy pan or omelet pan over high heat and in it melt 1 tsp [2 mL] butter. The pan should be hot enough so that the butter sizzles at once, but not so hot that it browns. Immediately pour in the eggs and stir them briskly with a fork, shaking the pan constantly. When the fork makes a visible track through the eggs, the omelet is set. The omelet will set in a minute or less. Remove the pan from the heat. Each omelet can be kept warm in a slow over until the others are finished.

STUFFED EGGS
To prevent discoloration plunge hard boiled eggs quickly in cold water. Remove the shells and cut each egg in half lengthwise. Carefully remove the yolks , leaving the whites intact. Mash the yolks or force through a fine sieve. Combine them with equal amount of mayonnaise, some finely chopped chives and parsley, and salt to taste. Fill the whites, pile the filling high or for decorative results, use a pastry tube. Sprinkle with paprika.

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