Eggs are a very versatile ingredient with many benefits.
- They are nutritious.
- Easily digested.
- Egg dishes are quick to prepare.
- Eggs have many different uses.
- They can be prepared in many different ways.
Cooking And Eating Eggs
Eggs can be cooked in a variety of ways.
Boiled Eggs – Eggs can be soft or hard boiled.
Soft Boiled Eggs can be cooked in a number of ways.
You can plunge the eggs (still in their shells) into a pan of fast boiling water and cook according to taste and size of eggs: 3 minutes = very soft, 3.5 minutes = soft, 4 minutes = medium hard or 4.5 minutes = firm. When cooked, put into egg cups and cut the top off the eggs.
A second way to cook soft boiled eggs is to cover the eggs (still in their shells) with cold water and bring slowly to the boil. The moment the water boils remove from the heat. Put into egg cups and cut the top off the eggs.
Hard Boiled Eggs – Put the eggs (still in their shells) into boiling water and boil for 10 minutes. Try not to over cook for more than 10 minutes as the eggs may be discoloured. Put the eggs immediately into cold water to cool as this prevents a dark colouration around the yolk. When cool, crack the egg shell and peel it from the eggs.
Fried Eggs – Heat some fat (sunflower oil is high in unsaturated fat) in a small frying pan. Crack the eggs into separate cups and then slide the eggs into the pan and draw off the heat for a minute. Then replace over a low heat and fry until the eggs are set. Shake the pan slightly to prevent sticking. A plate over the pan can sometimes help the top to set. Remove from the pan and drain any excess fat before serving.
Poached Eggs – Break the eggs carefully into cups, unless using a special poaching pan. Put a teaspoon of vinegar and a pinch of salt into a pan half full of water. Slide in the eggs, keeping the white together with a spoon. Simmer gently spooning water over the eggs, until they are set and the whites are opaque. Remove from the pan and drain well before serving.
Scrambled Eggs – Use half an ounce of margarine or butter and 1 tablespoon of milk per egg. Crack the eggs into a bowl and add the milk. Beat the eggs and milk together and season with a little salt and pepper. Melt the margarine/butter in a saucepan and add the beaten egg mixture. Stir with a fork until the mixture is nearly set. Remove from the heat and serve.
Steamed Eggs – Grease an oven-proof dish and break the eggs into it. Stir the yolk and white together, add a pinch of salt and then put the dish into a saucepan with enough boiling water to come half way up. Steam the eggs until they are set and then serve.
Omelette – Crack the eggs into a bowl and add a little milk and seasoning. Beat the mixture together. Heat some oil in a frying pan and then add the egg mixure so that it spreads out and covers the whole of the bottom of the pan. Cook until the egg mixture has set. The omelette can be turned or flipped over so that both sides are evenly cooked but this is not always necessary.
Using Eggs In Cooking And Baking
Eggs have many benefits when they are used with other ingredients in cooking and baking.
- Enriching other foods
Whisking – Eggs hold alot of air and are used to make meringues, souffles, mousses and swiss rolls. The ingredients are whisked together and the air held in the mixture by the eggs makes the meringues and cake very light.
Setting – Eggs enable a liquid mixture to set for example in a quiche, a baked egg custard and lemon curd.
Binding – When you add an egg yolk to a fish cake or beefburger mix, it helps the ingredients to stick together.
Coating – Beaten egg can be used to coat fish, chicken portions and other food before they are coated in breadcrumbs and fried.
Emulsion – When an egg or egg yolk is used to make mayonnaise, it helps the oil and vinegar to stay blended together.
Glazing – Pastry topped pies and scones are brushed with beaten egg and milk to give a shiny golden brown appearance when cooked.
Enriching other foods – Adding beaten egg to mashed potato, fried rice or milk pudding can help to improve the flavour and food value of the dish.