So this is a simple dish I know, that really does not have a recipe per se, but I think it’s certainly worth sharing with you.
First of all, I did not grow up in a soft boiled egg serving home, my folks never served me soft boiled eggs, poached yes-but not soft boiled. I first had soft boiled eggs with my in-laws, who are European; German and English respectfully.
You don’t need to be a European aristocrat to eat soft boiled eggs however, they are common food for common people.
What is critical to soft boiled egg enjoyment is the quality of the eggs first and foremost and the special little cups to serve them.
Eating a soft boiled egg that just rolls around on a plate or in a bowl does not a good breakfast make. You have to have the special egg cups which you can find at the link I just shared, not an affiliate link by the way.
The last piece of the soft boiled egg puzzle is good bread. White toast stuffed into a long bag is not good bread. A rustic, crusty, naturally fermented loaf is the way to go.
If you choose to ignore the last bit of advice your experience will NOT BE the one I am trying to craft for you here by writing this article at 6:07 am.
So to recap:
The real joy in this dish is the eggs, duh. So you MUST have eggs from chickens who are not confined and who can roam and eat the natural diet a chicken was meant to eat…duh.
I don’t have to repeat the last sentence now do I ?
I get my eggs currently from a local farm market and there are two folks with roaming hens that “usually” have eggs. The eggs have been a tad small lately, but they look and taste amazing with deep, rich flavored yolks that make the soft boiled egg experience that much better.
I make a fermented sourdough pullman loaf...very simple yet it does take time. This is perfect for the toast points I use when eating soft boiled eggs.
I toast the bread rather crisp, then slice it into “soldiers” or straight erect pieces. The shape of these soldiers is important, if too big they will not fit inside the egg shell. Too small and they will fall apart instead of being able to grab the goey egg yolks inside.
To butter or not to butter ?
Are you seriously thinking about not buttering? What the heck? I always butter the toast….the butter flavor, combined with the egg is magic.
After the eggs are cracked open I season them with freshly cracked black pepper and sea salt. A dash of Worcestershire sauce is a nice touch too!
Are you wondering when I will mention the cooking or recipe instructions?
Here you go…place eggs into a slow boil of water..too rapid you risk breaking the eggs. Leave for the right amount of time to soft boil your eggs…yes that’s it. I cannot be expected to tell you how long that is, too many variables at play.
The size of the eggs, your altitude, the temperature of your eggs and water, the cooking vessel etc. Be prepared to make some undercooked eggs and some overcooked eggs. You will quickly figure out what time is needed, but a good starting point is 5-7 minutes. I like 7.
I hope you can experience the true joy this dish can bring when the proper ingredients are used and they are cooked correctly.
Chef Keith Snow