Eggs: five ways I like them

2019-08-21 09.19.53I’m prompted to write this because I’ve got to think about my diet post stent. My cholesterol is a little high and I need to think about how I can reduce it and that means less fat in my diet. But at the same time I need good sources of protein and that’s where eggs come in.

Boiled eggs: these must be everyone’s first experience of eggs and they must rank amongst everyone’s favourites. For me they must be soft boiled, but that’s soft as meaning a runny yoke because the white must be cooked through, and they must be eaten standing up in an egg cup and with soldiers.

Some people say you should boil an egg for 3-4 minutes. Only f they’re very small eggs. Any self respecting large egg needs 6 minutes. Remember to pock a hole in the end to stop it cracking.

Fried eggs: you can’t ignore them but maybe they’re generally not the healthy option any more because of their association with guilty pleasures like bacon and fried bread. Too often you come across fried eggs on breakfast buffets where platoons of them slowly over-cook.

Fried eggs like boiled eggs need to be cooked so that the white is cooked through and the yolk reminds runny. The Americans ensure this by having them ‘easy over’ but really that shouldn’t be necessary. All it needs is that the egg should be well basted.

Poached eggs: I discovered, or maybe I just re-discovered, poached eggs on holiday last month at a hotel with one of those breakfast buffets. However they offered poached eggs to order and they came quickly and perfectly cooked (see the photo above). As an alternative to fried eggs they tick the important box of healthy preparation and they go perfectly with a slice of toast.

The purists would say that you should poach eggs by letting them float free in the boiling water. I’ll go with that. Eggs that are poached in some sort of device are just a little too industrial.

Scrambled eggs: good scrambled eggs are difficult to beat but they do demand some expertise in their cooking. They need to be served just sloppy and stirred to the last minute otherwise they come out as a failed omelette. Of course they’ll have been cooked with a knob of butter so they’re not the totally healthy option but they’re excellent with toast.

I eat scrambled eggs with toasted ciabatta every Saturday morning at Don Pasquale in Cambridge. They are consistently good.

Omelettes: when you’re on holiday and staying at a hotel with a breakfast chef on duty you’ve got the luxury of an omelette at breakfast. That’s a great start to the day and you’ve got the advantage of being able to exercise quality control by watching it being made. As with scrambled eggs an omelette should not be over cooked and remain sloppy inside.

There’s often an impressive array of ingredients to add to your omelette but these must be fresh, firm and flavoursome otherwise they’re a waste of time. And if you’re in Asia you’ll get the option of a little added chilli. Be careful!

You’ll note that I like my eggs on their own. The only exceptions I’ll make are the supporting toast, bacon and hash browns with a fried breakfast and the ingredients of an omelette. I see no point in adding an egg to an otherwise complete dish and certainly never add one when its yolk will mix with other fluids on the plate.


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