So, you think you should skip this short tutorial? Go right ahead. But first know that the Belfast (UK) Telegraph reported earlier this week that three of every four students there cannot properly boil an egg.
Neither can a lot of older Americans.
For starters, there’s no such thing as properly boiling an egg. Sure, you can do it if you wish — and many of us do. But the proper way to cook an egg in its shell is to simmer it.
I read tips from numerous reputable sources — most of whom offer different directions — and then set out to come up with my own methods. After several cartons, plenty of taste tests and an extra few doses of cholesterol medication, I found what works in my kitchen.
When boiling eggs, put them in the pan and cover with cold (tap) water. Bring the temperature up to a hard simmer, about 175-180ºF. Then, start your timer.
When the timer goes off, run cool water over the eggs for a couple of minutes to stop the cooking process. Then, get busy peeling.
I regret to inform you that there is no magical way to quickly peel an egg. Before you mention it, I’ve seen the video of the guy who blows off the shell. I’ve read the old wives’ tales about adding salt and other concoctions to the water. The best way? Just tap the egg with something heavy (a spoon, knife butt or sledge-hammer) to create cracks. Then start peeling under running water.
Did you know? An older egg is easier to peel than a more recently laid egg because of the pH. The inner membrane of an egg is tougher when the pH is lower (acidic). Eggs are most acidic when they are at their freshest, but head toward alkalinity the longer they sit.
OK. That headline doesn’t sound good. But I think you know what I mean.
You’ll find in cookbooks, magazines and on the Internet (where it must be true) that adding vinegar to the water prevents the white from leaking during the boiling process. I have a better idea.
Use eggs that aren’t cracked, and don’t act like a bull in a China shop when you’re placing eggs in the pan. Easy enough.
This past weekend marked the official start of Autumn. Though our overnight temperatures here in northeast Texas dropped into the upper 50s, the daytime highs are still into the low 90s. Still, it’s soup season and we dove in headfirst.
Tortellini Soup w/ Sweet Italian Sausage is one of those ‘Sunday’ dishes that cooks like a ‘Tuesday’ recipe. The taste, no matter how quickly the soup comes to the table, is pure comfort. (No boiled eggs required.)
Tortellini Soup w/ Sweet Italian Sausage
1/2 lb – Sweet Italian sausage
1 – Small onion, diced
3 – Garlic cloves, minced
1 TB – Extra virgin olive oil
28 oz can – Diced tomatoes
2 quarts (8 cups) – Chicken stock
1 cup – Fresh spinach, chopped
4 – Summer squash (about 3 cups), thickly sliced
2 TB – Fresh Basil, chopped
1/2 tsp – Red pepper flakes
8 oz – Fresh or frozen Cheese Tortellini
Kosher salt and freshly ground Black Pepper
If using Italian Sausage links: Brown on each side, then simmer in water for about 10 minutes. Slice into half-inch pieces. Set aside to drain.
If using bulk Italian sausage: Shape into 1-inch meatballs. Brown on all sides. Set aside to drain.
In a large stock pot, heat olive oil to medium. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until limp — about 4-5 minutes. Add garlic; cook for another 2 minutes.
To onion/garlic mixture, add tomatoes (w/ juice) and chicken stock. Raise heat to high until mixture comes to a boil, then lower heat to medium (to maintain a light boil/simmer). Add cooked sausage and cook for about 10-15 minutes, skimming any fat that rises.
Add spinach, squash, basil and red pepper flakes. Bring mixture back to a light boil and cook for another 10 minutes.
Add tortellini and cook until tender (length of time depends on whether you’re using frozen or fresh).
Season to taste with Kosher salt and freshly ground Black Pepper. Top with freshly grated Romano and serve with hot Italian bread, if desired. Makes about 4 quarts.