When you hit a certain age, your body doesn't really cope with the sorts of abuse that you would have ordinarily thrown at it. For me, I start to deal pretty badly with oily food... which means that my favourite of bacon and fried eggs for my morning breakfast is now a once in a half year treat... which I generally regret throughout the day!
I have often thought about replacing the eggs (the source of some of the oil when they are fried) with boiled eggs (poached are too difficult for me!), however, I've always had great difficulty getting them just right. By just right, I mean that the whites are cooked nicely and the yolk is still nice and runny! There is nothing more disappointing than a hard boiled egg... or one where the whites are still raw!
So, I've pretty much given up on having this sort of breakfast... however, last week, my wife came across a video from Jamie Oliver (I think it was...) who suggested a method for getting those perfect eggs every single time! In hindsight, it is pretty obvious... you just need to control the initial conditions of the cooking, and given that egg size variability is relatively small... well, it is just a matter of sticking to the plan then!
My wife did it once, and it worked perfectly... and I tried it again by myself this week, and again it worked! So, I'm back to eating eggs again... in a slightly healthier form!
So, part of the trick is that the eggs need to be roughly at room temperature before cooking. This means that you have a known temperature for the eggs, and then it is just a matter of physics with known parameters for how the eggs cook. Of course, there is still some variability with the concept of "room temperature" depending on where you live... but generally, the variance isn't too big.
Next, the water needs to be boiling... before the eggs go in. Again, a matter of controlling the input variables, the water will be roughly 100 degrees Celsius (if you are American, it is about 26 on the pain level when you stick your finger in). Again, there is some variance depending on your particular height above sea level as to when the water will actually start bubbling... but again that variance should be relatively small unless you are living somewhere pretty unusual!
Now, when the water is boiling and bubbling away (known temperature!) you add in the eggs slowly with a spoon. Cracked shells means weirdly partly poached egg bits all through the pot... yuck! Now, in the past, I have just dumped the eggs in at the start... before the water was boiling, so that I didn't need to be careful with the eggs in lowering them into the water! Bad move... taking shortcuts always results in unexpected costs elsewhere... in my case, crappy eggs.
Now, the critical part... Set a countdown timer for 5 and a half minutes! AND STICK TO IT! Don't doubt yourself... when the timer goes, get the eggs out! Remember, all the input variables are pretty well controlled, so this timer should be pretty spot on!
Tada! Nice firm and runny yolk... for that ever awesome feeling of popping it in your mouth!
So there you have it... a predictable method for getting those eggs cooked right without breaking them open, or reading one of about a million different methods online! Now you have a million and one different methods... but this one works!
Of course, the next day... my wife and kids were out, and so I treated myself to the old version of fried eggs with the leftover bacon bits and mushrooms. Damn it... I can't fool my body anymore. Back to the perfect boiled eggs....