Ellen Silverman’s Video Ode to Soft Boiled Eggs with a How-To

(Video links HERE and HERE.)  Recently, photographer Ellen Silverman borrowed the Laboratory to shoot Girl + Egg, her whimsical 1-minute video of…just that. Although Ellen brought a variety of egg cups she had bought or borrowed, she ended up using one we’d hacked (the hack is THAT good.)

The video gives a nice glimpse of the Laboratory’s kitchen in action, and its general feel (a far cry from it’s unrenovated state.)

If the video and our recent toast post makes you hungry for soft-boiled eggs, we recommend our tried-and-true method for making them below (we used it to make the egg in the video).

Ellen Silverman

Ellen Silverman

Method: Soft-Boiled Eggs 

This is the best way to cook a real, truly fresh egg if you’re lucky enough to get hold of some and want to experience the pure flavor of egg. I recommend accompanying the eggs with toast soldiers, buttered toast that is sliced into 1-inch rectangles for dipping into the yolk. The next best thing is popcorn.

Making a perfect soft-boiled egg, with a firm-but-tender white and runny yolk, is one of those cooking processes that eludes absolute consistency and perfection every time. Since eggs are a really sensitive substance, differences in temperature, altitude and egg size can throw calculations off a bit. If you follow this method, however, you’ll have a high record of success. Once you’ve done it one or two times, you’ll figure out the perfect timing to achieve the consistency of egg you like.

You can do this with as many eggs as you can fit roomily, in one layer, in the bottom of a saucepan, though more than 4 eggs may require slightly longer cooking time.

Put the eggs in a bowl of hot tap water for about 5 minutes to warm them. Use this time for slicing bread for toast soldiers and getting the other elements ready, such as butter and a knife for spreading it, as you’ll want to need to move quickly once the eggs start cooking.

Fill a saucepan with enough water to cover the eggs by about one inch and bring to a boil.

Set a timer for 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, carefully lower the eggs into the water as you turn the flame down to a simmer or very low boil. Start the timer. (Do not allow the water to boil as it toughens the white and jostles the eggs so they crack).

When the eggs are done, remove them from the water with a slotted spoon and run cold tap water briefly over them to stop the cooking. Blot each egg with a tea towel as you place it point-side-up in an egg cup. You’ll have about 30 to 40 seconds once the eggs are in their cups before they’ll start to overcook. Butter and the toast soldiers if you haven’t already. Arrange some around each egg and serve at once.

To eat a soft-boiled egg, use a dinner knife to cut off the top 1/2 inch of shell. Add sea salt and pepper to taste and eat with a teaspoon.

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