Eggs are quite possibly the ultimate food: they’re cheap, easy to prepare, full of healthy, lean protein, and, when consumed whole, can even increase HDL, or good cholesterol. If you’re an institute-trained chef, feel free to skip this article. For the rest of us, read on to learn some things you may be doing wrong when hard-boiling, soft-boiling, and poaching eggs.
How to Hard Boil an Egg
Carefully place the eggs in a saucepan in a single layer. If there’s not enough room for all the eggs, use a bigger pot, or cook them in batches. Cover them with an inch of warm water, add a pinch of salt, and bring them to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce the water to a simmer, and let boil for another minute. After that, remove them from the heat source, cover them, and let stand for 10-12 minutes, depending on their size. Once they’re done, cool them with baths of fresh water.
Use for: breakfast, a quick protein-packed snack, to garnish a salad, or in egg salad.
How to Soft Boil an Egg
Soft-boiling eggs is a little trickier, since it’s difficult to overcook hard boiled eggs. Start by bringing a pot of water to a rolling boil. Reduce to a simmer, then use a large spoon to carefully place eggs into the pot in a single layer. Boil them for 5-7 minutes, depending on your yolk preference. When finished, run them under cold tap water for 30-60 seconds.
Serve them in egg cups, which hold the egg in place for easy cracking. Once they’re cracked, scoop them out with a spoon, dip toast into them, or both.
How to Poach an Egg
Poaching an egg is not unlike soft-boiling an egg without its shell. Start by bringing a pot of lightly-salted water to within a few degrees of simmering. Crack the eggs into a small bowl, as it will be easier to transfer them into the pot. Using a long utensil, create a whirlpool in the water, then gently slide the eggs into the whirlpool. Use a wooden spoon or rubber scraper to fold any lingering egg white back toward the eggs. After 3-4 minutes, remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and serve immediately.
Serving suggestions: fold drained eggs onto buttered toast, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and enjoy. Or, if you’re feeling especially inspired, make Eggs Benedict: a split English Muffin topped with ham, bacon, or lox, poached eggs, and Hollandaise sauce.