Gastronomy 101, a blog about food and Los Angeles restaurants

INFO: How to Cook Eggs

Eggs--can you think of a greater foodstuff? If you have enough chickens, then you have a steady source of eggs, so they are a renewable food source. In addition, they come in their own packaging and are chock full of protein and nutrients. But most of us don't have our own chickens in the backyard providing us with a regular supply of the things. Instead, we have to buy them at the store. And at the store, they come in dozens, or may half-dozens.

Unless you're making something for a whole lot of people, you're going to have some eggs left over. And eggs don't last forever. You have to use them while they're fresh. So if you find yourself with a carton of leftover eggs and limited days to eat them all up, here are my top five ways to cook eggs. These mostly make a good breakfast, but I wouldn't be afraid to eat them for any meal.

1. Omelette/Omelet: Whether your eggs are boys or girls, you can make them into an easy and endlessly variable meal. An omelet is something that once you get the hang of, becomes incredibly easy and as long as you have eggs and butter, you're ready to make an omelet. An omelet was the first thing I learned how to make without a recipe and now, as then, my omelets don't win any prizes for beauty, but they certainly taste good. I'm not going to waste a lot of space telling you how to make one, since it is best explained by a master, so instead I am directing you to Jacques Pepin's instructions which come with helpful pictures.

2. Breakfast Sandwich: I have to admit that I'd much rather eat my eggs with meat and bread and cheese than by themselves, and the breakfast sandwich is a pretty genius way to pull that off. It's compact and portable and contains three of the four food groups. The only reason an omelet beats it is it's greater ease of preparation and easier availability as a dish to be made anytime. Although one instantly thinks of the Egg McMuffin (TM) when thinking of such a breakfast sandwich, one can easily pull of a much tastier and more wholesome homemade version. You could just get one of these contraptions, which will allow you to make your own breakfast sandwich easily, but unless you have lots of space and money and eat egg mcmuffins daily, then why bother? Making your own pretty much involves frying an egg and then popping it on a toasted English muffin with your meat of choice and/or cheese of choice. Easy peasy! If you want to get fancy go international with prosciutto, basil and mozzarella (Italian) or salsa, cilantro and cotija cheese (mexican), or stay all-American gourmand with a fancy cheddar cheese and some gourmet bacon.

3. Scrambled Eggs: Number three is scrambled eggs. Now, on their own, I can't think of a more boring side dish. Scrambled eggs made only out of eggs = bleh. However, add some special ingredients, like goat cheese, or lobster, or herbs, peppers, whatever strikes your fancy. But first you need to know how to make your eggs well. For basic recipes, I love to look to my TV boyfriend, Alton Brown, who of course has a basic recipe for scrambled eggs.

4. Fried Egg: Come on, you knew a fried egg had to be coming up soon. Everything is tasty fried. I'm not so much a fan of the sunny side up version pictured above, but you have to admit it's a pretty iconic vision of an egg. Frying an egg is pretty much just dropping your egg into a frying pan and letting it go, but how do you make it great? Opinions differ, which is why you may choose your own perfect method from the many possibilities at MetaFilter.

5. Poached Egg: The number five way to cook an egg is to poach it. Poaching an egg is not that hard once you've practiced. The hardest part is getting the egg to go together into a nice little package, and there are tricks to that which will make it easier. These can be part of a very fancy recipe, or you can throw it on a piece of toast for a quick and delicious breakfast. All you need is an egg, some bread, a pot or pan, and a toaster and you're set. And to make it really easy, there is a whole lovely website devoted to poaching eggs, which will show you how to do it.

That's my top five eggs, but I like my blog to be interactive, so please tell me your favorite way to prepare an egg, or your favorite variations or added ingredients to the above methods. Extra bonus points if you invite me over for breakfast.

Photo Credits:

Egg and omelet: Me!
Breakfast sandwich: U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services
Scrambled Eggs: The American Egg Board
Fried Egg: David Benbennick
Poached Egg: Australian Egg Corporation


kt - thanks for the poached egg recipe... made 'em this morning along with some toast and sausage.. amazing! now i have to learn how to make hollindaise

said by dhp at 1:07 PM Delete

Oh wow, that sounds delicious. As soon as you figure out the hollandaise I'm coming up and invading your place for weekend brunch.

said by KT at 4:12 PM Delete

AB taught me to rely on carryover when scrambling my eggs. Really raised my game.

said by Vaguely Urban at 11:28 PM Delete

Yes! V. important. Glad to hear you are staying competitive with the scrambling despite the high-level litigation duties.

In case that comment is too cryptic, Ms. Urban is talking about the fact that if the scrambled eggs look done in the pan, then they are overcooked. You have to shut off the heat before they are done and the "carry-over" heat, which is the left-over heat, will finish cooking the eggs.

Totally makes the difference between fluffiness and little rubber pellet eggs.

said by KT at 10:27 AM Delete

I bought two cartons of eggs at the farmers market this weekend because of you.


said by Chubbypanda at 6:06 PM Delete

Poached eggs. Icks. They look and taste funky.

Personally my grammy always scrambled them into the pan (no milk) and used smoked paprika and a bit of garlic powder. Yum.

said by Garrett at 12:09 PM Delete

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