Fed up with stringy, watery poached eggs? Rubbery, chewy scrambled eggs? To celebrate Breakfast Week this week, we asked chefs all around the UK to reveal their secrets to the perfectly cooked egg. Best get the toast on…
There’s an art to the perfect runny boiled egg. Get the timing just half a minute wrong and you could end up pointlessly stabbing (rather than dipping) your toast soldiers into the solid yolk.
And what about trying to peel a boiled egg? Ever end up peeling great chunks of egg white off, with the shell?
Yep, we’ve been there too. Good job our chefs are ready to offer their advice. Urban Rajah, Indian chef and author, says:
“For the perfect runny boiled egg, boil enough water in a small pan until it reaches a rolling boil. Now pop in a room temperature medium/large egg and cook for one minute. Remove the pan from the heat and leave to stand in the water for 3 minutes. Crack open, dust with some harissa flakes and dip in those toast soldiers.”
And Matthew Briddon, head chef at The Old Manor Hotel near Bath has another tip: “add a little oil and salt to the water,” he says. “Helps with peeling.”
We love them, but it’s so easy to mess up scrambled eggs. They should be soft, tender and fluffy - not shredded and rubbery and stuck to the pan.
So, come on chefs, how do we do it?
Vince Millar, head chef at Menzies Irvine Hotel in Ayrshire says that for the best scrambled eggs, “always use a small non-stick frying pan and a wooden spoon. This reduces the risk of the eggs sticking. Also, melt a knob of butter in the pan before adding your egg mixture. This will ensure they have a soft velvety texture.” Sounds dreamy.
Matthew Briddon steps in, too: “use a medium to low heat, and be careful not to over-stir. For taste I add cream and a little butter.”
Cracking an egg into simmering water might seem easy enough, but we’ve all had poached eggs go wrong at some point. Waterlogged, spidery egg whites. Detached yolks. Solid centres. Sound familiar?
Jeff Kipp, chef owner of Saltwood on the Green says you need “really fresh eggs and a pan 6” or deeper.” The whites of fresh eggs will cling more easily to the yolk, giving you a head start before you even start cooking.
John Lake, breakfast chef at The Welcombe Hotel, Stratford-Upon-Avon also says to drop in a “splash of white wine vinegar to help the white wrap around the yolk and form the rounded shape. Stir the water so there is momentum and gently crack and open the egg, but be quick to let it drop in the middle of the pan (in the whirlpool created by stirring) keeping the height just above the water but not in direct contact with your fingers.”
If you don’t want to be juggling fiddly egg shells over boiling water, Gary Wheeler from The Montpellier Chapter in Cheltenham says you can crack them into a cup or ramekin first. Our chefs are divided over whether the water should be rapidly boiling or at a simmer - but just cook until the white is set and the yolk is still runny - about 3 minutes in boiling water should do it. So. The formula for restaurant-standard poached eggs? Very fresh eggs, deep (hot) water, vinegar and a whirlpool. Delicious.
OK, so there’s also an knack to the perfect fried egg. Who knew? Well Hrishikesh Desai, for a start. He’s head chef at Lucknam Park Cookery School and thankfully has a few tips for us. “Make sure the egg pan is a good, non-stick pan and heat the pan before you add butter.”
Oh yes, we’d hoped there would be butter. “Allow the butter to melt and go frothy, crack the egg over the melted butter and then season with salt and pepper.” He tells us to fry the egg until the white is almost set and the yolks firm but still runny, and recommends finishing the egg quickly under the grill.
But it doesn’t end there. We also asked Jeff Kipp for his tip for the perfect fried egg. His response? “Bacon fat.” Sounds wonderful.
Now that you’ve mastered the perfect eggs, visit Shake Up Your Wake Up to try out some delicious breakfast recipes.
How do you like your eggs? Do you have any other top tips? Let us know in the comments below!
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