Let’s Talk Food: More about eggs

Iwrote about eggs in my column last week. There is so much information about the humble egg, and will continue with more about eggs, including poaching an egg and other recipes.

Boiling eggs

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I like the Cook’s Illustrated way to boil eggs. To make hard-cooked eggs: “Put the eggs in a saucepan, cover them with an inch of cold water, bring the water to a boil, cover the pot, let the eggs sit off the heat in the cooling water for 10 minutes and then transfer them to an ice bath for 5 minutes before peeling. You’ll get tender whites and uniformly opaque (but not chalky) yolks every time.” This also prevents your hard-cooked egg yolk from turning green, which occurs when eggs are cooked too long and at too high a temperature.

If you want other than a hard-cooked egg, here are the times for a softer egg:

• 5 minutes for a soft-cooked egg.

• 7 minutes to cut in half and place on ramen.

• 9 minutes to cut to top a nicoise salad.

Poached eggs

According to chef de cuisine Eli Kaimeh of Thomas Keller’s Per Se in New York City, the egg must be fresh. “As an egg ages, the white deteriorates, which is why some poached eggs go floppy, surrounded by jellyfish tendrils of whites.”

At Per Se, the raw egg is put in vinegar before cooking, which tightens the whites so it’s less likely to spread out instead of dropping the eggs into simmering water. In the boiling liquid, stir the water to form a whirlpool. The egg is placed in the vortex, creating a compact shape, then simmered for exactly 2 minutes.

The Perfect Poach

Serves: 2

1 cup distilled white vinegar

2 large eggs

Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Put 1/2 cup vinegar into each of two small bowls. Crack one egg into each bowl, taking care not to break the yolk. Let stand for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Using a whisk, vigorously swirl water until a vortex forms in the center. Slip one egg with vinegar into the vortex and continue to swirl the water with the whisk around the edges of the pan until it returns to a boil.

The egg white should wrap tightly around the yolk, forming an oval shape. As soon as the water returns to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and gently simmer the egg, frequently swirling the water, for 2 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, lift the egg from the water and use kitchen shears to trim any stray pieces of egg white.

Place egg on paper towels and gently blot. Transfer egg to a bowl or plate.

Repeat with remaining egg.

Season with salt and pepper.

If poaching more than the two eggs in vinegar, repeat using fresh water.

Baking eggs

Break eggs into ramekins or custard cups over garnishes such as caramelized onions and croutons or directly into the cups.

Spoon a little cream directly over the tops of the eggs to prevent them from drying out and becoming tough during cooking.

Pull them out from the oven before they are completely set, as they’ll continue cooking for a minute or two after removed from the oven.

Eggs are essential for making pasta carbonara. Here is a recipe for the silkiest carbonara:

Pasta Carbonara

Serves: 4-6

1/4 pound guanciale (salt-cured pork jowl) or pancetta, or thick cut bacon, cut into 1/3-inch cubes

7 large egg yolks

1 large egg

1 pound rigatoni

Kosher salt

1/2 cup finely grated Pecorino or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for garnish

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground green peppercorns

3/4 teaspoon ground pink pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper

Freshly ground black pepper

Put guanciale, pancetta or bacon in a large skillet and place over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until fat renders but is not browned, about 5 minutes. Pour into a fine-mesh sieve set over a small bowl, reserving drippings. Transfer meat to a large bowl and let cool slightly. Add egg yolks and egg to bowl; whisk to blend. Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta liquid.

To egg mixture, immediately add rigatoni, 2 tablespoons pasta cooking liquid and 1 teaspoon of guanciale drippings, toss to coat. Working in three batches, gradually add cheese, stirring and tossing to melt between batches.

Add peppers, toss until sauce thickens, adding more pasta water by tablespoons if needed. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Divide among bowls, garnish with cheese.

Foodie bites

Hawaii Community College’s Culinary Arts Cafeteria is open 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. today till Friday. Call 934-2559 for takeout orders.

Chef instructor of the Culinary Department Brian Hirata is unveiling his transcendent culinary concept, Na‘au, via two exclusive pop-up dinners, starting at 6 p.m. this Sunday, Oct. 13, at Anna Ranch Heritage Center and on Nov. 10 at Palms Cliff House Inn.

The multi-course degustation, featuring wild coveted and hyperlocal ingredients, will include complimentary pairings of nonalcoholic and alcoholic beverages for $265 per person, inclusive of gratuity and taxes. Each dinner accommodates only 12 guests.

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To check if there is still space available for the Oct. 13 pop-up, visit www.evenbrite.com/e/naau-restaurant-pop-up-tickets-69775868501, and for the Nov. 10 event visit www.evenbrite.com/e/naau-restaurant-pop-up-tickets-71932240267.

Email Audrey Wilson at audreywilson808@gmail.com.

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