The Egg & I

Last week I whined and complained for 600 words about Chef Anne Burrell’s misuse of eggs.  The original plan was to limit myself to 50-75 words of grousing, then use the rest of the time to talk the magnificence that is an egg.  But it was me hitting those keys—the girl who’s made griping an Olympic-level performance art.

So, here’s the praise portion of the ovum program.And, eggs are pretty darn wonderful.  At 17 cents per, they are cheap nutrition bombs.  First of all, unlike say, Cap’n Crunch, Eggos, or even buttered toast, the ingredients list of an egg contains only one item—egg.  No need to fret over processed chemicals, refined sugars, or artificial flavors and colors.

One large egg contains 6 grams of protein, which makes it one of the least expensive proteins available. That amount is 12% of the RDA (Food and Drug Administration’s recommended daily allowance) of 50 grams.  Eggs also contain vitamin A, iron, and calcium (and even more calcium if you enjoy munching on the shell).Within a healthy diet, eggs contribute to muscle strength, healthy pregnancy, brain function, and eye health.

Eggs are the jeans of the food world.  Pants originally worn by miners because of their toughness are now worn by inmates in prison and socialites at formal functions.  The versatility of an egg is phenomenal.  They can be used to make Swiss meringue buttercream (one of my favorite egg incarnations), and on the other end of the scale can be drunk raw as my father used to do when he was running too late to have his customary bowl of Raisin Bran.But the trait that makes eggs a food above and beyond all those other things in your grocery cart is just how many different ways an egg can be cooked—not as an ingredient in a dish, but the dish itself.  You know those tall pleated hats chefs wear?  The theory is that’s how many ways an Escoffier-level chef can cook an egg.  My own culinary-school educated child can make 35 different preparations.

There can be both elegance and complexity in the simplest of egg preparations.  As an example: one of my childhood favorites: soft boiled.As a kid when I was sick and home from school, my mom used to make me soft-boiled eggs.  I honestly don’t remember eating them not on a tray, in bed.

These days people don’t really eat a whole lot of soft-boiled eggs.  The name sounds like a mistake; like you were making egg salad and messed up, or the power went out. My mother served them in a pastel-colored Tupperware bowl, salted, dressed with a dollop of margarine, and speckled with a liberal sprinkling of pepper.  It might not have been fancy, but it was delicious, and always made me feel loved and nurtured.

Soft-boiled eggs2 large eggs

2 tablespoons butter

Salt & pepper, to taste

In a heavy saucepan, boil three inches of water on high.  When it comes to a boil, lower temp, and bring to heavy simmer. Gently lower eggs into water and cook for six minutes.  Remove from water and run under cold tap water until just cool enough to handle.Remove from shell into a small bowl, dress and eat.  Or, leave in shell, leave out butter, and dip toast fingers into egg.  Serves 1. 

Next week I dive into one of the most contentious egg dishes in the culinary universe.  It’s a Duke/Carolina, Eastern/Western Barbecue, Chevy/Ford-grade dispute.

Capable of igniting Hatfield-McCoy level acrimony; it’s the recipe for and preparation of scrambled eggs.Thanks for your time.

 

 

 

The Egg & I

Katey and Jim

Petey and The Kid

I am grateful to Petey for many reasons.

He appreciates my humor.  On an unrelated note, he’s pretty smart.  He’s always on my side, no matter what crazy scheme I’m percolating.  And when it comes to spouses, his standards are kinda low.

But specifically, I’m grateful that my ever-loving husband loves eggs.

I know that doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it really, really is.

Pound for pound, eggs are just about the most nutritious protein out there.

And eggs are cheap.  A dozen can be routinely purchased for $1.  That dozen can feed four adults.  With eggs, the protein comes in at $0.25 per.  That kind of fiduciary skill is flirting with magic.In eggs, as in much of life, simpler is better.  And the simplest, tastiest, most satisfying way to cook and eat an egg is scrambled.

When I was really little, like kindergarten little, I was having breakfast with some other kids that were a little older than me.  I don’t remember who the kids were, it’s all a little fuzzy.

But one thing I do remember all too well.

My dining companions told me they ate their eggs sprinkled with sugar.  They told me that once I tried it, I’d never eat them any other way.To this day I don’t know if that’s how they really ate their eggs, or it was all an elaborate, egg-wasting hoax, but those sweetened eggs were terrible, horrible, no good, very bad food.

Decades later, I perfected extremely tasty and insanely easy scrambled eggs.  It turns conventional egg scrambling on its head and takes less than ten minutes from carton to plate.

I normally cook three eggs per person, plus one extra “for the pan”.  Butter is mandatory and so is both salt and pepper, but no salt until the eggs hit the pan.  The eggs cook very quickly, so if additions like herbs or cheese are desired, put them right on top of the eggs at the very beginning.

egg tools

As for tools, you’ll need a non-stick skillet, a silicone spatula, and a blender; either the immersion type or standard style.

They’re very good plated over sautéed spinach, or with some lightly dressed baby greens on top.

Easy Creamy Scrambled Eggsscrambled eggs7 large eggs

2 tablespoons butter

Salt & pepper

Break eggs into a high-sided bowl if using immersion blender, or into blender bowl.  Blend on high until the eggs have lightened in color and thickened up a bit (about 1 minute).

Put skillet on burner on medium-high (7 on 10 point scale).  Add the butter and let it melt.  When it foams, pour in eggs.  Season, then turn down burner to about 5.5.  Gently stir the eggs, scraping the center of the pan frequently to get the cooked eggs up, and the uncooked onto the pan bottom.

Continue slowly turning down the burner as they cook, (it should be about 4 when the eggs are done), and stirring the eggs until they’re soft and very moist (their residual heat will finish cooking the eggs on the plate).Serves 2.  

Eggs are so darn delicious. I know there are folks out in the world who would rather be eaten by crocodiles than eat an egg; heck my own child is one of them.

But they’re wrong.  And The Kid actually loves one of the best egg dishes in the history of egg dishes—a cheese omelet from Waffle House.

So even the most egg-phobic can find something to love in an ovum.Thanks for your time.