A few weeks ago I read a novel in which a Mr. Ralph Truitt advertises in the newspaper for a “reliable wife.” He doesn’t specify what his definition of a reliable wife is but does say that he is “compelled by practical, not romantic, reasons.” So one might assume she didn’t have to be thin, young, beautiful or rich. Just reliable. Predictable. No surprises. Now if Mr. Truitt had consulted me first he could have saved himself a lot of grief. Because if there’s one thing I know after living in this old world for over sixty years, the human creature is anything but reliable and predictable. We seem to be swimming in a sea of random hormones, erratically firing synapses, flights of irrational fancy and sudden unexplained tangential interests – all of which make our reliability extremely unreliable. But an egg now, an egg is a much less evolved life form than your average human. I expect reliability from an egg. I expect the white to be firm but not rubbery. I expect the yolk to be runny and not at all solid. If I have to start the day facing an overcooked lump of an egg yolk . . . well, I’d just as soon go back to bed. Despite my expectations, the reliable egg eluded me up until about a month ago. It didn’t seem like it should be all that complicated but as often as not my whites were not firm enough (you know, that gross gelatinous sludge on the surface of the egg that hasn’t quite cooked through but you know if you cook it any longer your yolk is going to go solid.) Or the yolk had overcooked into that chalky pasty stage that sticks to the roof of your mouth. Most unpleasant. Enter the March 2010 issue of “Cooking Light” magazine. Page 38. Problem solved. Hoover Alexander of Hoover’s Cooking shares his egg cooking secret. A simple method that creates a truly reliable egg.
You take a small skillet and heat it over medium heat. Coat the pan with cooking spray or a brief swipe with a paper towel with a bit of canola oil on it (don’t burn your fingers.) Break two eggs into the skillet and cook for 1 minute or until the bottom of the whites are starting to set. Throw in about 3 ice cubes and immediately cover your pan and cook for two more minutes. Remove from heat and drain off any excess water. Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground pepper and serve. What you get is this amazing hybrid of a fried egg and a poached egg. You may have to tweak the number of ice cubes – your ice cubes may be larger or smaller than mine. You may have to tweak the heat setting – it took me two times to know exactly where to set the dial for my burner. You may have to tweak the time – some pans heat faster than others. In any event, within a time or two or three you should have mastered it for your particular ice cube/burner/pan and be able to produce A Reliable Egg. Satisfy yourself with that and just give up on the idea of the reliable human being.