Eats and Drinks
Published: February 27, 2013
Remember when egg yolks were evil, heart-killing, and unwelcome in any sane person’s omelet? Thankfully, federal food scientists pulled one of their trademark 180s a decade or so ago, concluding that the health benefits of egg yolks outweigh any potential detriment. Which is great, since the yolk is where all the good shit is, not least of which is lecithin, which is the fat that allows for emulsions like mayonnaise. And if you’ve never had homemade mayo . . . well, you’re welcome in advance.
For perfect hard-boiled eggs Every time:
-Start eggs in enough cold water to cover.
-Bring to a boil and boil for two minutes.
-After two minutes, turn off the heat, cover, and allow to cool thoroughly (about 20 minutes).
Protip: To tell if an egg is cooked or raw, place egg on counter. Attempt to spin it. If it spins nicely, it is cooked. If it just kinda wobbles around, it is raw.
There is no effective way to get around hard-to-peel eggs. Baking soda, salt, vinegar, cold-water shock—none of those tricks work. The only way to ensure an easy-to-peel egg is to use older eggs. Fresher eggs are always hard to peel.
This is a low-temperature roasting method of cooking eggs (pronounced “HA-mean”, not “ham-n,” unfortunately). Traditionally it was done in the ashes of an open fire, but a toaster oven will suffice. Use the lowest possible temperature setting, which is typically 200 degrees F. Ideally, the cooking temperature should be around 160 F, so if you can manage that, even better. Roast eggs for about five hours. Tiny brownish droplets or spots will form on the shells, indicating doneness. Eggs cooked this way will have undergone the Maillard reaction—the whites will be tan and possess a subtle savory flavor, as opposed to the completely neutral flavor you’d find in a standard boiled egg white.
Perfect scrambled eggs
The trick to rich, fluffy, beautifully yellow scrambled eggs is low heat and gentle turning. Adding heavy cream is an option as well, and while definitely not the healthiest way to go, it will result in a very luxurious texture. As for the cooking itself, using a low flame and constantly folding the cooked surfaces of the egg back into the liquid will form large, soft curds, which is what makes great scrambled eggs great. There’s also the matter of when to add the salt. Some suggest that adding salt to raw eggs “tightens” them up, resulting in tough eggs. But I’ve never found this to be the case, and I prefer to add salt before cooking, as adding it after cooking changes the overall flavor.
Traditional way: Tap egg on a flat surface to crack the shell. Holding the egg so it’s on its long axis, push your thumbs into the initial crack and pull the shell apart into roughly equal halves, catching the yolk in the rounded end. Transfer the yolk back and forth between the halves, letting more and more of the white run out each time, until you’re left with just the yolk. Oh, and do all of this over the sink.
Easier way: Crack egg into a bowl. Using a slotted spoon, a fork, or just your fingers, lift the yolk out, separating any attached white. If using your fingers, it’s helpful to imagine your hand as one of those stuffed-animal crane things. This makes for the most effective finger configuration and motion.
Although the yolk alone is sufficient to make a proper emulsion, it can be tricky to get the mixture and timing right, and it’s not uncommon for homemade mayo to “break,” i.e. have the oil separate back out of the yolk emulsion. Thus, some recipes will call for mustard—not for the added flavor necessarily, but because mustard itself is an effective emulsifier. Also, adding plain cold water helps mayo maintain structural integrity and lightens the overall texture. Note that using very good and/or extra-virgin olive oil will make a mayo that tastes very olive-y. If you’re looking for a more traditional mayo, use a more neutral oil, like sunflower or corn. You could also mix in olive oil to taste, as long as there is one cup of total oil.
1 egg yolk
1 cup oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice or white vinegar, and more to taste
1/2 teaspoon salt
-In a bowl, use a fork or whisk to break up yolks.
-Add the salt and vinegar or lemon juice.
-Add a tablespoon of oil and whisk.
-Continue to whisk, adding oil in a very slow stream. About halfway through, add 1/2 teaspoon of cold water. Incorporate the remaining oil, adding it in very gradually and whisking all the while. An extra set of hands is helpful if this is your first time.
Protip: Placing your mixing bowl on a moistened dishcloth helps keep it stable while whisking.
If the mayo begins to break, add a few more drops of cold water and whisk very vigorously.
Things you can add to your mayo (gently mix in after you’ve made the base mayo):
-1 teaspoon finely minced garlic (at which point you will now have made aioli)
-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper or hot paprika
-1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
-coarsely ground black pepper
-finely chopped scallion and garlic, a couple dashes of hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce, cayenne pepper (Cajun remoulade)
-finely chopped sweet pickles and onion, lemon juice, black pepper (tartar sauce)
For stomach aches
My grandmother used to rub a cold raw egg on my stomach when it was upset. Works like a charm.
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