The Perfect Egg

March 04, 2009

The value of eggs is rising like a soufflé.

The pair of cardinals that mate every spring in our yard are back singing love songs. I know this because the lusty singing starts very early in the morning and wakes up the chicks before it’s barely light. By the time I trudge out to the coop the girls already are cackling at top volume telling me the day is half gone.

The girls must also feel spring is on its way because they’ve been nesting. Not sitting over eggs in their nest, but rather creating nests wherever they feel like it. Lulu is developing quite a skill. In spite of having a clean nest box every morning, she has lately decided to play “Find the Egg” with me. She’s laid eggs in the straw at the end of the run where I can’t reach them. She’s laid eggs under the evergreen tree next to the coop and she’s laid eggs in the snow to create a frozen variation. I almost stepped on one the other night because it was dark and I had no idea it was there.

Nesting Under the Evergreen

Maybe the girls are trying to hide their precious eggs. The latest news shows that the value of eggs is rising like a soufflé. New studies point to evidence that eggs not only lower blood pressure but are good for the heart. Even dieticians are recommending one egg a day as a great way to add protein to your diet at little cost. (On a side note, with the economy sinking, the value of backyard chickens appears to be rising. There was a local theft of five hens this past weekend causing all of us to rethink our coop security.)

When I want to truly savor the fresh taste of these precious eggs I opt for something simple. Lately I’ve been on a quest to find the best soft-cooked eggs. Perfecting the soft-cooked egg is a bit of an art form. The whites should be firm but still very tender. The yolk should be creamy on the outside and soft and runny in the center. Unlike other egg dishes, there is no way to tell if you’ve got it right until you slice off the top and slide your spoon in—then it’s too late to make any changes.

I’ve tested numerous methods by chefs and home cooks alike and have had success with two very different methods. Choose your favorite.


Perfect Soft-Cooked Eggs
Print This Recipe

Tips: Start with cold large eggs.
Choose the smallest saucepan that will fit the number of eggs in one layer.
Use gentle heat, never boil the eggs rapidly.

Method #1: Gentle Simmer
Bring a small saucepan of water to a full boil over high heat.
Gently lower the eggs into the boiling water and immediately turn the heat down to medium-low keeping the eggs at a very soft gentle simmer.
Cook the eggs for 5½ to 6 minutes, adjusting the heat as necessary.
Run the eggs under cold water for about 30 seconds to stop the cooking and serve.

Method #2: Off the Heat
Place the eggs in a small saucepan and barely cover with cold water.
Bring the water to a full rapid boil over high heat.
Immediately remove the pan from the heat and let stand, uncovered, 4 minutes.
Run the eggs under cold water for about 30 seconds to stop the cooking and serve.

2 Responses to “The Perfect Egg”

  1. March 05, 2009 at 7:15 pm, barbara1760 said:

    It will be nice when snow isn’t the background for your photos!
    How may eggs do you get a day, on average?


  2. March 06, 2009 at 8:05 am, Janice said:

    Lately I’ve been getting about 1 egg a day, two on a great day, but there are days I don’t get any. Lulu and Cleo are the only hens laying right now but Roxanne squatted and let me pick her up yesterday. That’s usually a sign they’re ready to lay again so the egg count should pick up.


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