Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A Perfect, yes Perfect, Egg

There are many things at which I am OK. There are a few things I do well. And there is one thing at which I excel. Making the perfect egg. And I mean fried, scrambled, or hard boiled for egg salad. There is no explanation for my having developed this expertise except I love eggs, even loaded with horrible things like cholesterol and the possible abuse of the chicken.

Let me begin with fried eggs. There is nothing worse than wanting a fried egg over easy and when you try to turn the egg it sticks to the pan and the mildly runny yolks you craved become over cooked. Well, maybe a famine is worse or cholera but in my house it’s a toss up. What can you do to avoid this disaster? Without actually trying to be helpful David discovered the secret. You baste the egg. When we would go to a diner for breakfast David would order basted eggs. I guess everyone in Utah knows what that means, but 90% of the diners we frequent are not in Utah nor do they know what that means.. So you ask, is it like basting a turkey or a brisket? Not really. First of all eggs are a wee bit smaller and don’t take hours and hours to cook. It’s a different kind of basting. Supposedly you spooned water over the top until they were firm, but that’s simply too much trouble What you do is get a good non-stick pan. Not one from a discount store where the non-stick peels off the pan in about three days, but one that will take a beating (get it) from the egg. Like Silverstone or something French.

thus.... a perfect Pair of Eggs

To cook the perfect egg you put a little butter, margarine or Smart Balance in the pan and let it heat till it is obviously melted, but not burnt. Put the eggs in the pan – I use a small pan so the eggs just fit snuggly. Then cover the pan and let it cook until the white is solid but the yolks are still runny – or however you like it. When I’m making fried or scramble eggs I like to put some cheese in it. I do this before I cover the eggs so everything melts together.

one egg, after you have eaten the first one

My Aunt Helene taught me how to make scrambled eggs, plain or with cheese ( aka “cheesey eggs”). It’s an art. Millions of people think they can scramble an egg but not like us. Ask anyone who has eaten at my Aunt Helene’s or any of Jordan’s friends. To make perfect scramblies you break the eggs into a bowl add a little cream or milk depending on if you are on the Weight Watchers or Atkins diet, salt and pepper to taste. Heat whatever lubricant (sounds a little kinky doesn’t it?) you choose but don’t use olive or canola oil to be healthy. It just doesn’t taste the way it should. If you want to be healthy, eat oatmeal or Grape Nuts. When the grease is hot gently put the beaten eggs (and if you want cheesey eggs) cheese in the pan. Let it sit for a minute until it starts get firm. Then with a wooden spoon gently move the egg away from the sides of the pan so they start to scramble. Do this until they are the firmness you like. If you use cheese they will seem looser but beware of overcooking.

A dish of long-ride-in-the-car-to-keep-us-going Egg Salad

The secret to great eggs salad is to boil the eggs. You may think this is easy but for years I would call my friend Sidney in tears and wail about the fact that my eggs would never get hard. Sidney makes a terrific hard boiled egg. Once the eggs boil you let them cook for 6 minutes and plunge them into cold water. If you are making egg salad I like them to go 8 minutes. But the real secret is to mix the eggs and mayonnaise while the eggs are warm. For whatever reason, it does make a flavor difference. We use only Hellmans Mayo either the lite or regular; the fat free is just a way to kill the salad.

If you would like additional information or other recipes you can e-mail us or go to “GefilteFishChronicles.com” But I’d start easy and develop your own personal perfect egg. We’re just sayin...Iris


Walt said...

If you only knew my New Jersey born and raised mother, she would have taught how to baste an egg by the time you reached 8 years old.

I could not get to 9 years old without her dragging me into the kitchen to teach egg skills. It's not just for Utah anymore.

If you want fluffier, airier scrambled eggs, don't use milk or little cream. Use water blended with the eggs. The water evaporates while the eggs cook leaving behind only air.

Never liked egg salad - but perhaps I would if I ate yours.

Is David now working for Bon App├ętit Magazine? Or Cooking Lite?

Anonymous said...


I haven't had your scrambled or fried eggs (maybe thanksgiving?) I have had Aunt Helen's scrambled with onions - they were good but I do have to say that my Dad makes the best in the world...in fact, I was there this morning in between meetings and he made me scrambled eggs - with cheese of course, I can't do them like that with Seth, so it is always a treat to get my Dad to make them...and if you ever need a deviled egg recipe my Mom is the woman to talk to!



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bjorke said...

Your scrambling sounds like a stronger version of the Escofier recipe for omelette-cooking, where one gently runs a tool (I use a cake scraper, it's thin) around the edge of the pan to cycle a new layer of liquid, uncooked egg under the orginally-lowest, now-cooked layer (though not breaking the shape, as you would do when scrambling). Grind-on a little black pepper and if you use little triangles of Brie, then the runoff as they melt is essentially equivalent to clarified (French-style) butter and adds a nice end-of-the-process flavor to the pan.

(Eat this 3 times a week, easy)

Anonymous said...

I consider myself an egg expert... it might come with the Dubroff blood,I don't know.Roger and I have debated using milk/cream (my choice) or water (he says they're fluffier).My son has been trained to prepare his eggs with milk...

Nana Fritzi used to make her scrambled eggs with lox and carmelized onions and soft boiled eggs eaten only out of a tea cup...a true gourmand !

I do recall Aunt Helen's scrambled eggs...her secret-sour cream.


Susan said...

I always order basted eggs and have never had a problem getting them in Seattle. It's my favorite way to eat an egg. If I go out with friends, inevitably someone will ask me what it means. I've actually converted a few of my friends to the basted egg.

And you scramble you eggs the exact same way I scramble mine.

We must be related in some way...

- Susan in Seattle

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Anonymous said...

Definitions from the Larousse Gastronomique:

Baste: Lightly moistening food by spooning over melted fat or the cooking juices from the dish itself.

Steaming: the saucepan or steamer is covered and the item is cooked gently in the steam from the water or stock, which must be kept topped up.

Your basted eggs? You are doing them wrong. Maybe do some research before you start posting things.

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Anonymous said...

No egg salad is complete without adding some mustard to the mix and some finely chopped onion. MMmmmm.