How to Cook a Shelled Soft Boiled Egg

Over the holidays I picked up a cookbook I've been wanting, "I Know How to Cook" by Ginette Mathiot.  The book is basically the Bible of home cooking in France, with over 1400 recipes and subsequently the gift one gives to anyone setting up a new home there apparantly. Called Je sais cuisiner in France, it was first published in 1932 and now has since been adpated in English by French food writer Clotilde Dusoulier. It was on my wishlist this year for Christmas, but I somehow forgot to tell anyone, so sadly, it never came.  Happily though I was in the neighborhood bookstore over the holidays and found it for a steal at $5.25!  Crazy! It was meant to be! 

I was super stoked and all the way home I was dreaming up delectable French dishes I would whip up immediately for my much deprived family!  Like an aromatic Bearnaise Sauce, maybe a Beef Bourginon, or perhaps a simple pan roasted pork chop (without it ending up too tough)? Dreamy. Just so you know, I have a confession; I really don't know how to cook (gasp)! I can fake it to a point to get by, and do have my specialties, but when it really comes down to the basics I pretty much fail. Yep, I was that girl in school who never really paid much attention to Home Ec., and that daughter who basically could take or leave the household duties.  My mother and sister were the cooks, the homemakers; I was the music lover, the dreamer, the youngest. Hence, I never really learned the basics all that well.  Also I, along with my family (who are too kind to say anything) are getting rather bored with my cooking repertoire I think. Things like how to make a beautiful pie crust or poach an egg, would be a total welcome change for us all, and maybe learning a few new techniques might even help us to eat a little more healthfully along the way.

So I thought I would share a few of the recipies here.Today it's a soft boiled egg.  And not just any soft boiled egg, friends.  This is one you can actually shell, you know, the ones that you slice open afterwards, and the yolk runs onto your veggies?  Yep, there is a technique! And we are going to learn.  It's all rather simple once you know how, but there are what I think, a few magic tricks along the way to make it successful.  This is serious stuff folks, seriously.  If you don't follow the instructions exactly you may end up with a hard boiled egg, a cracked egg, or literally no eggs! Take it from me.  I've tested this recipe over and over really well before I present it to you.  I've tasted, served it, I've learned and accomplished it. Here's my adaptation, and hopefully guaranteed success!

Shelled Soft-Boiled Eggs
Adpated from I Know How to Cook by Ginette Mathiot.

Use medium sized eggs.  (If larger you'll have to boil longer, if small, boil time will be less, of course). Boil time for a medium egg to make it perfectly soft (where the yolk runs, but the whites are completely cooked), is approx. 5 minutes.  I know, I always thought it was 3. But if you want to shell them, it's 5.

Bring a small pan of water to a boil, adding a pinch of salt.  Make sure the water is gently boiling  otherwise if it's too rapid of a boil, the eggs might get tossed around too much and crack upon entry (did that). Gently lower the eggs into the water (I used a slotted spoon to do this, and placed them down ever so slowly).  Gently boil for 5 minutes, then remove with a spoon and plunge into cold water.  Have a bowl of cold water waiting to do this. Immediately take out of the cold water and peel and discard the shells.  You'll have to do this rather fast, to keep the eggs warm to eat. Serve eggs over vegetables or maybe even with a sauce.  I love mine on avocado slices with a lot of pepper and a dash of salt. So yum!

So that's it! Thanks for learning with me! Let me know how it goes! Bon Appetit!

Jan Halvarson


gabricci said...

Made your egg recipe this morning and got a perfect soft boiled egg. I was always putting the eggs in cold water and of course the eggs cooked too long! I'll be following along for more recipes.


Patti B said...

yum! thank you, this is fun. i'm going to look for this cookbook.

Jodi said...

Fabulous tips! One other one: If you try to peel eggs that are too fresh, like only 1 - 4 days gathered from your chickens, they are impossible to peel. Better to scramble those or use in cooking or baking. Older eggs peel much easier. Learned that the hard way with my sister's fresh eggs from her chickens.

Jan Halvarson said...

Gabricci - i'm so excited you tried! yay!

Patti B - thanks, can't wait to accomplish a few more to share!

Jodi! - awesome tip - thanks i never knew that - so good to know! :)

emdot said...

Yea! I love that you are doing this. And I want to do it, too. To eggs and beyond!

blightybird said...

apparently if you add bicarb to the water it increases the PH and makes them easier to shell (going to try it now to see if it works!)

Kim Vallee said...

Your beautiful pictures make me wish I had eggs in my fridge right now. You will become a great cook in no time, if you continue like that.

If I may add a little bit to the cooking lesson, boiling for 5 minutes gives, what we call in French, oeuf moellet. They are way better than an oeuf à la coque, which is ready in 3 minutes.

If you worry that the eggs might crack upon entry, you could add a spoon of vinegar to water. it will prevent the white from running out.

Jan Halvarson said...

emdot - to eggs and beyond! love that - wished i had written that in!

blightybird - cool to know, thanks might just experiment with that

Kim - yes oeuf moellet - that is what it says in the book! and i never knew that. adding the vinegar makes sense, since that is what i've learned since about poaching!!! merci!!! :)

Debi said...

I was looking to find out the mystery to this! It's spooky but....thank you! Very Grateful in northern Canada....xoDebi

frk F said...

What a great idea! Really like this "Learn with me". And the egg looks perfect, now I know what to do with that avocado in the fridge tomorrow. Thank you!

Unknown said...

this new feature sounds great, I will definitely be learning along with you!
I loved soft boiled eggs as a kid, but was useless at cooking them as an adult. Know what I'm having for dinner tonight ;)

JanB said...

I used your method this morning on extra large eggs - cooked 6.5 minutes. They were perfect! Thank you!

Stella Pearl said...

Thanks so much for this post! My husband is training for a marathon and needed just a little bit more to eat after dinner tonight. I followed your directions and made the first perfect soft boiled egg in all my years of cooking. Until now, they've always ended up overcooked. And your pictures are wonderful :)