How To Cook the Perfect Egg
Get it right every time
How good are eggs? These oval-shaped goodies are packed with vitamins, minerals and protein, and they make for a perfect quick and easy meal. But that's only if you know what you're doing when it comes to cooking them. Chef Miguel Maestre has the tips you need for egg-cellent eggs, every time. No yolk.
How to boil eggs
1. Use room-temperature eggs; take your eggs out of the fridge an hour or so before cooking. If you’ve forgotten to do so, take the chill off the egg by running it under warm water until it’s no longer cold to the touch; if they’re too cold, the shells may crack.
2. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil, and then turn it down to a rapid simmer. If the boiling is too aggressive, the egg may hit the bottom of the saucepan and crack, causing the white to seep out and water to seep in.
3. Use a slotted spoon to gently lower the egg into boiling water instead of dropping it in by hand. "Using a spoon means the egg won't break when you pop it in," says Miguel.
5. If you’re cooking up to four eggs, it’s recommended that you add a few extra seconds to your timing. If you’re cooking more than four eggs, do so in batches.
6. Once the timer goes off, transfer the egg to an ice bath to stop the cooking process before peeling carefully.
How to poach eggs
1. Use fresh eggs. They not only hold together better and are easier to poach, but they also taste great.
2. Poach in shallow water. Ensure the egg is just covered in water as this helps to keep the egg contained in a neat shape.
3. Use a gentle simmer. An aggressive boil will tear the fragile egg white before it has time to set. Bring the water to the boil then turn it down to a gentle simmer before adding the egg.
4. A dash of vinegar, or even lemon juice, helps the egg whites set more quickly, reducing the wispy bits. Don’t go overboard, or use a coloured vinegar, as it will flavour or discolour the egg.
5. Swirling the water in a whirlpool action will also help the egg hold its shape, and reduce the risk of white wispy strands spreading through the water. "Make a mini-tornado," says Miguel.
6. Break the egg into a cup then pour it into the simmering water; it’ll help keep the overall shape of the poached egg.
7. Have a timer on hand; two minutes should give you a perfectly runny yolk and cooked white. Another 30 seconds will give you a yolk that is just starting to set. Another 30 seconds again gives you a set yolk that is still custardy and soft.
8. Before serving, be sure to drain the egg on a paper towel to remove any excess water; you’ll avoid puddles on the plate or diluting the flavour.
How to fry eggs
1. Use room temperature eggs. If you start with a cold egg, you’re more likely to overcook the yolk while trying to get the white to set.
2. Very fresh eggs are best for frying, because the stronger proteins will give you a neater shape.
3. Always use a non-stick frying pan.
4. Crack your egg into a cold fry pan and allow it to heat with the oil. This will help it hold a nice shape. "Never start with a hot pan," says Miguel. "Bubbles will go everywhere." The underside of the egg is also likely to cook before the top, leaving the white translucent and wobbly.