You may have heard me mention before that I’m a bit obsessed with the geniuses behind Cook’s Illustrated and America’s Test Kitchen. Every recipe and technique I’ve tried from them has been fantastic. My recipe for banana bread muffins was adapted from one of their cookbooks as was my slow cooker meatballs and marinara recipe. Cook’s Illustrated is the most valuable cooking magazine in so many ways. Each issue is an absolute treasure trove of knowledge. They share not only recipes but tips, product reviews and extensively tested techniques. Last week I tried their technique from the January/February 2013 issue for making perfect oven-roasted shrimp and they were perfection.
The same issue had several pages dedicated to the challenge of preparing perfectly soft-cooked eggs.
How do you get perfectly set whites while achieving runny yolks? And is it possible to create a scalable recipe that will have the same instructions regardless of whether 1, 4 or 6 eggs are used? The reason this is complicated is because egg whites must reach 180 degrees F in order to set while the yolks must stay below 158 degrees F in order to stay runny. This presents obvious challenges because it’s very easy to either overcook the yolks or undercook the whites.
After soft-boiling more than 1000 eggs in their test kitchen they discovered the perfect technique. The key is steam. The problem with the traditional method is that cold eggs cool down the boiling water. So the more eggs you add, the longer it takes to cook them properly. But steam will stay at 212 degrees F regardless of how many eggs are added to the pot! Kind of genius, right? It works like a charm every time; fully set tender whites and rich, runny yolks. You can use a steamer if you have one but it’s also easy to apply this technique with a standard saucepan and cover. I like to serve these eggs sliced lengthwise on salads or in an egg cup with toast or steamed asparagus.
5 minPrep Time
6 minCook Time
11 minTotal Time
- large or extra large eggs
- salt and pepper
- Add 1/2 inch of water to a saucepan and bring the water to a boil on medium-high heat.
- Take the eggs directly from the refrigerator. Use tongs to VERY gently lay the eggs in the bottom of the pan.
- Cover and allow the eggs to steam for 6 1/2 minutes.
- Run cold water into the pan for 30 seconds. Peel and serve.
This technique was shared in the January/February 2013 issue of Cook's Illustrated