If music is the universal language (although nowadays one may think it is English), then eggs are the universal food. Chicken and eggs of some sort exist in every corner of the globe. What changes is how they are eaten and prepared. They can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Whether wolfed down by athletes for solid protein, or noshed on for a late night nibble in an illuminated train car diner at 2am, eggs are eggs are eggs. They are baked, shirred, fried, scrambled, boiled and coddled. In China eggs are boiled, removed from the water, the shells lightly cracked and then put into a pot with spices, soy sauce and black tea, thus giving the eggs marvelous flavor and a marbled look. In France they sit on the counter in every brasserie in egg stands awaiting a tap on the counter to be peeled and sprinkled with a pinch of salt and eaten throughout the day.
Omelettes are eaten in a variety of forms anytime, anywhere.The perfect omelette is made from one egg to three eggs, contains no milk, does not stick to the pan, and is a little runny on the inside. We recommend a non-stick 8″ pan, a silicone spatula, and a generous amount of butter. Watch this classic video of Jacques Pepin making an omelette (we do not advocate for quite so much banging in the kitchen, but the technique is impeccable). One of our favorites is an Omelette au Confiture. Simply add a tablespoon of jam as the filling for your omelette. We used apricot in this one, as blueberry turns the eggs green.
In the Middle East one will find eggs nestled in rich tomato sauces with spices. Look for an egg dish Shakshuka to show up on brunch menus throughout the country. Melissa Clark’s recipe for Shakshuka wth Feta has become a favorite in our kitchen. And this one also from Melissa Clark, is by our Indian cooking instructor Julie Sahni, for Eggs in Spicy Tomato Sauce.
Omelette, frittata, quiche, stracciatella, egg-drop soup, egg salad, egg mayonnaise, Scotch eggs, huevos rancheros, tomago-yaki, egg curry, custard, no matter what you call it the egg-list is never ending. But our ultimate favorite and made the world over is a scrambled egg. Serving one or the masses, scrambled eggs are quick, easy, flavorful and so, so simple to make. Fluffy, creamy, and moist with a delicate flavor that no other food can replicate — it does not get more perfect than that. From what one of the Bleuberet team calls Garbage Eggs (everything but the kitchen sink), to eggs scrambled with chives (Saveur has a perfect recipe). And if you really want to make “green eggs,” add some blueberry jam or blueberry juice, the color will delight the youngsters in the house.
And finally the most difficult egg making experience of all — boiled eggs. Soft boiled eggs are hit-miss-hit-miss. To make soft boiled eggs, the amount of cooking time will change if the eggs are straight from the fridge or have come to room temperature. On many farms, eggs are not kept in the fridge until they have been washed. Eggs have a natural protective membrane that when left intact prevents air from permeating the shell. Eggs in the grocery store have been washed and the protective coating removed, thereby requiring refrigeration. Eggs left out at room temperature for several hours are fine to cook and eat in our experience (we cannot advocate for what you do in your kitchen, and will leave that up to your discretion). The second note beyond the temperature of the eggs, is the size. If you have a room temperature small egg, it will cook much faster than a jumbo egg that is straight from the fridge. Third note always start your eggs in cool water. If you put them into hot water, they are more likely to crack and leak some of the white out.
Hard boiled eggs are a little easier, the one trick here is not boiling the daylights out of them or the result will be the outside of the yolk turning to a green hue. The key is that once the water starts to boil, set a timer to 2 minutes. Do a hard boil for the two minutes and then turn off the heat and leave the eggs in the pot for 10 t0 12 minutes. The water will remain hot enough to continue cooking the eggs without overcooking them. And then comes the removal of the shell.
To produce a hard boiled egg that does not leave half of the white caked onto the inside of the shell, place the hot eggs in icy, cold water or run it from the tap into the pot. In this photo the shell has separated from the hard boiled egg.
Ok, so eggs take some time to master, but the practice runs are usually edible and well-worth the time. Eggs!