Return of the Coddled Egg

The healthiest ways of preparing eggs are said to be poaching and soft boiling, thus avoiding the high temperatures and exposure to fat that create unhealthy byproducts.   The not-so-humble egg is back in fashion, but many consider this depends very much on how it is cooked.

Those with British ancestry in particular may remember the egg coddler, a small porcelain container with a lid.  It’s been around for a couple of hundred years. Fill it with a cracked egg or two, seal and carefully lower into simmering water for a few minutes.  Take the lid off and voila, breakfast is served.  Eggs with a texture at least as good as poached and offering lots of culinary possibilities for a meal any time of day.  Usually it works well to cook two eggs (at room temperature) for around 6 minutes and leave for a few minutes before removing the lid.  A bit of experimentation may be in order.

You can make a heartier meal with the coddler by adding a dash of  crème fraiche to a couple of eggs, together with a couple of tablespoons of freshly cut herbs (parsley, chives, chervil, tarragon etc).  Tiny bits of cooked leftovers might be included (think diced potato, leftover mushrooms). They’re excellent on top of a salad nicoise or in Caesar salad dressing.  Coddling removes any fear some people might have about raw eggs and salmonella.

If you’re yet to rediscover the coddler, eggs simmered for around 15 minutes are similar in style, ie. somewhere between soft and hard-boiled.

Caution: Never put a coddler in a microwave.


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