Boiled eggs and soldiers. Redux

November 18, 2012

eggs with toast soldiers in ceramic egg cups

Carefully prepared, eggs with toast soldiers can remove the disappointment from your Sunday morning breakfast

During summer weekends, I’ve been beekeeping.
Each Sunday morning during winter I sit down to Match of the Day, with boiled eggs and toast soldiers to review the weekend’s Premier League football games.

Some people may think this post obsessive. I like to think of it as an exercise in continual improvement.

Boiling the eggs to ensure consistency

Bring a pot of water to the boil.
Once boiling, cut the heat altogether and leave the pot on the element.
Place the eggs in, pot lid on, and leave for 5 minutes.
The predictable drop in water temperature removes temperature as a possible variable when trying to reach the runny yolk nirvana. With a predictable temperature, and eggs arguably all being the same size, this allows the length of time to also become a constant.
Not only will the temperature drop be reliable, the water won’t be too hot and crack the egg. The lack of a rolling boil also removes the risk of a cracked egg against the pot bottom.
5 minutes, and you’ll have perfectly runny eggs, I can guarantee it.

Choose your toast wisely

toast cut into soldiers

Maximise your crust to soldier ratio

While the eggs are sitting in the hot water, make your toast.
I find Vogels the tastiest, and also strong enough to see you through the runniest, or toughest egg. Personally I am a Soya and Linseed fan, but all Vogels do the job well.

A thoughtful cut ensures an efficient crust to soldier ratio. An equal share of crust per soldier can be achieved, yielding 4 crusty sided soldiers per slice, rather than the usual 2 / slice.

Ensure you get some pointy edges soldiers to break into the yolk. You’ll lose the middle of the slice which this is too soft for scooping anyway, and you end up with twice the number of crusty soldiers.

Cups are more than they first appear

Choose a good egg cup, preferably with a hollow in between the inner and outer. The hollow area acts like a vacuum flask, ensuring the egg stays warm in the cup. The egg warms the inner, and the space in between. I haven’t yet gotten to warming the cups first, but they could easily be placed on the top of the espresso machine for pre-egg warmth.
I’m fond of Quail ceramics, particularly the Badger and Owl, but they’ve got some other awesome ones.
The warm egg will continue to cook in the cup, which will begin to harden the yolk. So once you’ve placed the 5 minute egg it the cup, remove the tops of all eggs quickly, to prevent further cooking – if the first one opened is still a little too wet you can leave the others capped for a short period to keep slowly cooking.

Never, ever underestimate the power of a good spoon

A good well rounded spoon will help scoop out the white in one smooth motion. Poorly shaped elliptical spoons can be fiddly, and wasteful of the precious white. Leave it to the Swede’s for efficiency, Ikea does a fine range of nicely rounded tea spoons.

I trust these weeks of stringent testing will see you too with consistent, reliable, and deeply satisfying runny eggs with soldiers.

Ashley Petherick is an expat kiwi living in the UK.

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