Monday, March 12, 2012

Soft Boiled Eggs

Soft boiled egg in an egg cup
Every now and then my mother would make soft boiled eggs. She called them 3 minute eggs. How she made them amazed me, and scared me at the same time. I'll get into how to prepare soft boiled eggs in a minute. Cutting them open is really the tricky part. I watched her many times pull a very sharp knife from the drawer to crack open the egg. 
Crack the shell through in one motion into the palm of your hand
She would hold the egg in a cloth napkin in her left hand and without a second thought slam the knife blade into the egg shell in one swift motion. It scared the hell out of me. This is something that seemed extremely dangerous from a safety point of view.  She did it perfectly almost every time. My wife can do this as well as my mother. It never worked when I tried it. If you're going to try this at home, get a Kevlar® kitchen glove so you don't cut your hand by accident. I don't have a Kevlar glove so I had to look to a different method.  
Not exactly a soft boiled egg
Once the shell is cut open she would use a small teaspoon spoon to scoop the egg out of the shell, leaving the egg shells behind. She would serve the soft boiled eggs with toast points. You just dip the toast points into the runny yolk of a perfectly prepared soft boiled egg and enjoy. I preferred serving them with English muffins.
Slightly over cooked - you get the idea
My personal view is that poaching an egg is far less difficult than making a soft boiled egg. When do you add the egg to the pot? When do you start timing a 3 minute egg? Prep and timing seems to be the key. Finding the exact moment when the egg white and egg yolk are perfectly cooked without being able to see it is extremely difficult. None of this matters when you can't crack open the egg when it's done cooking.
To make soft boiled eggs, start with room temperature eggs. Place them into a pot and bring to a boil. Once the water boils, turn off the heat, remove pan from the hot burner, cover with a lid and let them sit for 3-4 minutes (your choice). My mother preferred 3 minute eggs with toast. I prefer them at 4 minutes with English muffins. Since peeling a soft boiled egg is extremely difficult, I needed a way to cut them open. Enter the "Egg Topper."  I don't know anyone who has one, or has ever used one, I was sailing into uncharted waters here. 
Traditional Egg Topper
The traditional egg topper has many teeth that cut through the shell. The one I tried did not work very well and seemed to crush the egg top when cutting it. It still was better than using a knife.  Egg shells should not be in your soft or hard boiled eggs.
Rösle Egg Topper
One day while looking at glass tile for our kitchen we noticed several very cool and functional kitchen tool and towel racks mounted on the tile walls. We asked the salesman if they sold these racks and kitchen tool holders. They did not, but he gave me the company name (Rösle) and suggested that I go on line to find them. When I went to their website I found what I was looking for. They also sold an egg topper. Their description of the topper said  it "Cleanly cracks the top of the egg shell so that it's easily lifted off by hand or with a knife (works on both soft and hard boiled eggs). Pull handle up and release, spring mechanism causes vibration and sharp edge in dome perfectly cuts shell. No more egg shells for breakfast! Fast, efficient and fun for Kids - one snap of the handle and then lift off shell top". I had to have it and promptly placed my order. 
When I received the egg topper I wasn't disappointed. It was a modern version of the toothy mid-evil torture device I purchased earlier. It worked! Now all I have to do is get the egg cooking timing right. If they're any soft boiled egg lovers out there please let me know how you make perfect soft boiled egg.
Off with their heads

© TMelle 1998-2011

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