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In The “Kitchen” – The Perfect Breakfast

28 April 2010

So, taking a break from my mom’s trip, I thought I would post about my most recent culinary adventure. I have spent the past 2 or 3 weeks trying to perfect an elusive culinary challenge; the holy grail of cookery; the one thing every cook needs to know. What is this monument to foodie stardom? The ever-elusive, the looong contaaaained (shout out to all my Disney-fan peeps out there, kudos if you have ANY clue what I’m talking about), the one, the ONLY:

The Boiled Egg, ta-daaaahhh…?

OK, I know what you’re thinking, anyone can boil an egg. And if you’re going for hard-boiled, you’d be right – although many, myself included will contest there is a right and a wrong way to hard-boil an egg, and there is such a thing as a “good” hard cooked egg versus a bad one; ever get that green film around your yolk? Yeah, that would be the wrong way, which incidentally means the fundamental wholesomeness of the egg’s protein has been compromised, however, I digress.

No, friends, what I am discussing is the perfect soft-boiled egg. That perfect specimen of eggy-ness with a nice, soft, custardy center, and a perfectly set white (because NOTHING is worse than runny white, it’s like slug slime, or boogers, or something equally slimy, and bland as a polar bear in a snowstorm is white).

On to the process; this is more than a recipe, you see. It’s a process, a fine art. And after 3 weeks of attempts, and a few dozen eggs later, I feel I am now qualified to share this with you.

Sherri’s Perfect Breakfast

Equipment Needed – Pot, 1 sm skillet (or toaster, or broiler), slotted spoon


Eggs – 2 per person, more or less to taste
Bread – Your favorite, I prefer whole grain wheat myself
Butter – About 1-2 TB per person should do you, but hey, I’m not your cardiologist…
Salt – Figure about 1-2 tsp per person, more if your butter is unsalted

Making The Meal:
1. THIS IS CRUCIAL!! Make sure your eggs are at ROOM-TEMPERATURE. I cannot stress this enough. This was the critical step I kept slacking on, then wondered why my white was still running when my yolk had set to medium-cooked consistency. There is an easy way to cheat though (I mean, as opposed to setting them out for 2 hours, then having a bowl of cereal because you’re too hungry to wait, and putting them back in the fridge cause you’re not hungry anymore…) This will also avoid cracking and subsequent egg leakage – we’re making soft-boiled eggs, not half-in-the-shell poached!

Run your tap until the water is really hot. Place your eggs in a container (mug, bowl, bathtub, whatever you need for however many eggs you’re cooking) and cover with hot tap water. Let them sit while you do whatever your morning routine is (make coffee, walk the dog, shower, whatever). If possible, change the water when it cools off – and it will, it’s physics, just ask my husband!

2. While your eggs warm up (or after, whatever), bring enough water to a boil in a pot to cover your eggs. NOTE: The eggs are NOT in the pan yet.

3. Once your water comes to a boil, gently place your eggs into the boiling water. Slide your pan about 1/3 off the burner, making sure your eggs are on the side hanging off the edge, and turn the temp down so you have a low rolling boil. If you have en electric stove, you could honestly turn your heat off altogether (add about 30 seconds to a minute to final cooking time though). Once your eggs are in, start a timer for THREE MINUTES. That’s right folks, just 3 minutes (between the time it will take you to get them in, set the timer, then get them out after the timer rings, you’re looking at about 3 ½ minutes total cooking time. (Take the butter out of the fridge at this point and scoop everyone a small portion onto their plate – I’ll explain later)

Many people say to get the perfect egg, you want to go a full 4 minutes. I have found 3 ½ to be sufficient – amazingly enough, that 30 seconds can make or break your gooey yolky perfection. (This is also taking into account what would be considered “large” eggs in the states. If you buy medium, bring the time down a bit, maybe 30 seconds. If you are in Europe where there are no preset sizes – at least here in Germany, my eggs are all different sizes in the same carton – try to get 2 eggs about the same diameter.

4. Make yourself some toast. I toast my bread in a small skillet over medium high heat, because I have no room for a toaster. The first slice is usually about 3-4 minutes, the second about 2 minutes, therefore I start toasting while waiting for the water to boil. If you have toaster, well, use your judgment. What’s important about the toast it this: make sure you let it cool either IN he toaster, or on a toast rack or similar device. If you plop the hot toast onto your plate right of the heat, it will create condensation and get soggy on the bottom. DO NOT spread butter on your hot hot hot toast!

So you have your beautifully cooked eggs, your nice warm (hopefully dry, un-soggy) toast, your salt, and your butter. If the butter’s unsalted, mix a little salt into it with your knife. Cut your toast into a few long pieces (called “soldiers”) before you butter them. This will ensure you don’t smoosh your bread, but get nice, crisp strips. Cut the top 1/3rd off an egg (with your spoon, or a dinner knife) and take a moment to marvel at the beauty before you. Then take a strip of toast, slather on some of your now soft (but not melted) butter. It will stay nice an opaque, then melt a little when you dip it into the hot egg yolk. I know it doesn’t sound like it should make a difference, but believe me, if you take the time to let your toast cool to a crispy god-like state, then your butter won’t get greasy, and it’s like night and day. When the yolk is gone, scoop out what’s left and top your toast slices with the white – a little messy, but freakin awesome.

Lather, rinse, and repeat until you’ve finished off your eggs and toast, and can relax in a haze of egg-induced euphoria.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. 29 April 2010 3:35 am

    This is the BEST recipe I have ever read!!!!! I really thought I might die laughing, since I could not breathe for several minutes. My hubby hankers after the perfect soft boiled egg, and he is getting one in the morning. Thanks for the laugh. I am going to print this post out in it’s entirety for my personal recipe file.

  2. Kevin permalink
    29 April 2010 6:42 pm

    I did not know anyone else cooked eggs like this, your recipe is almost like mine (best one I think-who would have thought that some of the best meals are the most simple; preparation makes such a difference some times). People always thought that it was weird that I didn’t just take the egg shell off and break the egg over a piece of toast, but the meal is just so much more enjoyable, for reasons unknown to me. My setup is slightly different from yours though. I have my egg in the holder, cut the bread and “behead” my egg like you described, but I take a spoon and dig out a nice mix of white and yolk and place it on the soldier and then I have a salt and pepper mix in a small bowl and season the egg/toast as needed (if you’re not careful you can suffer from yolk/salt and pepper fingers mess). Same concept-great results. If I am going to have two eggs I cook one at a time, so that the second egg isn’t overcooked. Great post.

    • 29 April 2010 9:57 pm

      Yeah, definitely have suffered from messy finger syndrome, I usually go through 2 napkins, but it’s definitely worth it!

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