The last time I ate a soft-boiled egg was over 25 years ago when a particularly gooey drop of yolk decided to befriend my $150 Hermes tie. Thanks to a botched job at the dry-cleaner, they have become inseparable friends and, as such, I decided then to give up both expensive ties and soft-boiled eggs.
Nevertheless, our daughter has insisted that I share a recent recipe that appeared on Cook’s Illustrated that explains how you “steam” rather than “cook” an egg to achieve a soft-cooked egg “that delivered a set white and a fluid yolk every time.” Before caving into our daughter’s request, I have decided to share the highlights of Cook’s Illustrated “science” required to achieve the perfect soft-cooked egg.
Science Class: According to America’s Test Kitchen, the traditional way of cooking soft-cooked eggs is to add eggs to boiling water. Sadly, this lowers the temperature of the water and makes for uneven cooking results depending on when eggs are added, how many, and how quickly the water reaches the boiling temperature again after each immersion.
The folks at America’s test kitchen have found that “steaming” eggs in a small amount of water achieves consistently perfect results.
How to Cook Perfect Soft-Cooked Eggs
Note: This recipe works for any number of eggs. Use large eggs that have no cracks and are cold from the refrigerator.
- Bring 1/2 inch of water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Using tongs (or better yet a steamer basket), gently place the refrigerated eggs into the boiling water. The eggs will not be submerged. Cover the saucepan and cook the eggs for 6 1/2 minutes.
- Remove cover, transfer saucepan to sink and place under cold running water for 30 seconds. Remove eggs from pan and serve, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste
This is a simple and foolproof way to cook perfect soft-boiled eggs.