How To: Cook Eggs Perfectly
Here’s how to poach, scramble and fry your eggs to perfection
Eggs are a breakfast staple, but they can be surprisingly difficult to get right sometimes. Fried eggs sometimes end up with broken yolks, while our poached eggs sometimes end up looking like deep sea creatures! Luckily, help is on hand from Bruno Pires, Executive Chef of egg-led restaurant eggslut. Here’s his instructions on cooking poached, fried and scrambled eggs.
The Perfect Poached Eggs
What you need:
1 egg, we use Clarence Court Burford Browns
A dash of white vinegar
If you want your egg to have a spherical shape, one top tip is to begin by cracking it into a mesh strainer. The runnier part of the egg white will drain away, leaving you with firmer whites. This will reduce the amount of white wispies when cooking. Also, make sure you use the freshest eggs you can! The older the egg, the more liquid white it has (and the bigger likelihood of white wispies).
Add water to a pan and put it on a medium heat. It does not need to be boiling; just a few bubbles visible at the edge of the pan.
Add a dash of white vinegar and mix the hot water. This will result in a gentle motion which will help the egg to remain in one piece; the white will rise over the egg yolk while cooking.
Create a whirlpool with a spoon or rubber spatula.
Crack the egg into the middle of the pan and leave it to cook for a couple of minutes. Make sure you only poach eggs one at a time.
When the egg is fully cooked, use a large spoon to pick the egg from the poaching water, and gently angle the spoon to drain the water away.
Place your egg on a plate. The white should be fully cooked and the yolk should be runny.
We like our poached eggs served over English muffins with avocado.
The Perfect Fried Egg
At eggslut, all eggs are cooked with perfectly white edges and a runny yolk. Eggslut uses Clarence Court Burford Brown eggs which have a golden yolk with a rich, buttery flavour.
What you will need:
1 small frying pan
Oil, we use rapeseed oil
Use a small frying pan to cook your egg on a medium heat.
Add a small amount of oil to your pan so that the egg will not stick (make sure you use a nonstick skillet too).
Crack the egg into the pan and fry for about a minute and a half or until the whites of the egg are fully cooked but not crispy.
When the egg white is fully cooked it will be easy to move around in the pan you are ready to flip the egg.
Angle the pan down so that the egg moves towards the edge furthest away from you.
Thrust the same edge upwards in a smooth fast motion, so the egg flies up in front of you.
Softly catch the egg in the pan, letting it land gently with the yolk facing downwards.
Once flipped, cook the other side of the egg for 10-15 seconds and then flip the egg again.
Using the same small motion, thrust the edge of the pan upwards to flip your egg again so the yolk is facing upwards.
Serve with your favourite breakfast foods, such as hash browns, baked beans or breakfast sausage.
Pro Tip: If you want to practice flipping an egg before you start cooking, try flipping a bread roll in a cold frying pan away from the oven!
The Ultimate Scrambled Eggs
What you need:
3 eggs, ours are Clarence Court Burford Browns
Pinch of chopped chives
Knob of butter, room temperature
Option to add a pinch of salt
One large non-stick pan
Start with a cold pan using the largest, nonstick skillet or pan you have.
Crack your eggs straight in and throw in a nub of butter. Stir the eggs and butter together before turning on the heat.
When the yolks and the whites of the eggs have created a uniform colour, it’s time to put your pan on the heat.
Using a spatula to turn the eggs will not agitate the proteins, this creates a deliciously creamy texture.
When mixing your eggs, scrape the bottom of the pan to fold your eggs over almost as though you’re creating layers. Shaking the pan whilst mixing helps loosen the eggs.
When the eggs are no longer loose, and they start to stay together they’re ready! Do not let the eggs become solid.
Add a sprinkling of chives on top of your eggs and season with salt.
Take your eggs out of the pan so that they won’t continue to cook.
Need Recipe Inspiration?
Try out your new poaching skills with this recipe for courgette pancakes and crispy bacon, topped with a poached egg. Meanwhile, this buck rarebit recipe is topped with a fried egg. We also adore this bacon, egg and tomato breakfast tart!
Bruno answers your most common egg-related questions!
Q: How do I get the perfect soft-boiled egg (runny yolk and firm white)?
Place the cold eggs in a saucepan. Cover with cold water and boil on a high heat. As soon the water boils remove the eggs from the heat and leave for 2-3 minutes (depending on the size of the size of the egg) in the hot water. Remove the hot water and add running cold water to stop cooking for another 2-3 minutes. The result is a firm white and a gooey yolk.
Q: How can I stop my hollandaise sauce from splitting?
To avoid splitting hollandaise sauce, the best technique is to use a blender. Some of the old school chefs are probably having a heart attack reading this but we just want an easy, failsafe sauce. Blend the egg yolks for 30 seconds; this will heat up the egg yolk and give body. Heat up the butter at a low temperature so that the water in the butter doesn’t evaporate, also add a few drops of water to the butter to help it emulsify. Add the butter to the yolks in a thin stream. Once the butter is integrated with the yolks, finish the sauce in a pan on a low heat for a few minutes whisking constantly to emulsify.
There is trick to save a split sauce if you do it manually. You can rescue it by starting the process again, with an egg yolk in a bowl over a bain-marie which you whisk until it starts to thicken a little. Then incorporate a little warm melted butter into the egg yolk. Once this is incorporated you can slowly start to add the split hollandaise and this should then incorporate into the new base, unsplit.
Q: Why isn’t my egg peeling smoothly?
That’s a great problem to have; it means that the eggs are fresh! This is due to the lower pH of the eggs. The proteins in the egg white bind tightly to the keratin in the membrane during the cooking process. This makes the process of peeling almost impossible to have an smooth eggs. There are a few tricks to make a the job a little easier: peel still hot/warm, crack the shell in small pieces and use old eggs 7-10 days old.
Bruno Pires is the Executive Chef at eggslut, the popular gourmet-egg concept that launched in the US and came over to the UK in 2019. The eggslut signature dish started as a staff meal at a Michelin starred restaurant in Los Angeles, before launching as a food truck on Fairfax Av. in 2011, and this chef-driven quality remains at the core of each dish.
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