Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I. Am. STEAMED!

Way back last year I made a big batch of potato salad for a family party.  I decided to write up a little post on my alternative (thanks to Alton Brown) method of cooking eggs.  I baked them.  I pinned my post to Pinterest HERE and went on my way.  Well...last week someone, or should I say, LOTS of someones began pinning and pinning and re-pinning my post.

Baking eggs is a marvelous way to cook LOTS of eggs.  For me, it is the ONLY way to cook lots of eggs.  However, there is another way to cook eggs that can accomplish the same result, perfect eggs, in half the time of baking.  (Also described by Alton Brown in his book I'm Just Here for the Food)  If you only need a few eggs cooked quickly...try STEAMING them!

Alton Brown's Steamed Eggs

Prep time: 5 min.
Total time: 17 min.

Ingredients:  less than a dozen eggs - do not overcrowd your pan

Special Equipment: A saucepan with a metal steamer basket and a snug lid. 

Directions:
1.  Fill a saucepan with 1" of water.
2.  Place the steamer basket into the pan.
3.  Bring the water to a boil over high heat.
4.  Place the eggs in the steamer basket.
5.  Cover the pan and lower the heat to medium-high.
6.  Cook the eggs for 12 minutes.
7.  Use tongs to remove the cooked eggs from the steamer basket.
8.  Place the eggs in a bowl of ice water.
9.  Peel the eggs when they are cool enough to handle.

Here are the steps  - in pictures!

You need three things:  A saucepan, a metal steamer basket, and a lid.  These pieces are all part of the same set, but I have used a vegetable steamer basket to steam eggs in the past.  You just need a snug fitting lid for the saucepan. 

1" of water in the bottom of the pan.
Bring the water to a rolling boil.  This takes approximately five minutes.
I made eight eggs.  I have a stockpot with a larger steamer basket that holds more, but if I need more than a few eggs I bake them.  Again, this process is best for cooking a few eggs.

Place the eggs over the boiling water.

Cover the pan, lower the heat to medium-high, and steam for 12 minutes.

Remove the eggs from the pan with tongs and place in ice water.  Peel them as soon as they are cool enough to handle. 

You don't need to stir the eggs, but I had a helper that wanted a job. 
Now it is time to PEEL the eggs...

This is VERY hard to see, but crack the egg on both ends and roll it around to put little cracks all over the shell.  This will help the shell to come off in a long roll like an orange peel.

Like this...
Steamed eggs are faster to prepare and easier to peel than the Baked Eggs, but there are a few trade-offs.  The yolks of steamed eggs are not as creamy and delectable as their baked counterparts.  Also, steamed eggs give off a more sulferous odor than baked eggs.  However, both Baked and Steamed eggs are vast improvements over improperly boiled eggs.   

Once you have your eggs you can slice them up over chef salad, eat them with a little salt and pepper as a snack, or whip up a to-die-for egg salad sandwich.  Like this one...

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...
 Check back in a few days for the recipe.

In other news:  I just received the April 2012 issue of Food Network Magazine today in the mail.  To my amazement Alton Brown was featured on the cover with his guide for cooking...you guessed it...EGGS! ( To find his recipes that are included in this issue, type "Alton Brown" in the search box.)  In it he gives a new third way to prepare hard cooked eggs!  Pick up your copy today!
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