10 Days of Sous Vide: The Perfect Sous Vide Egg (Day 5)
Welcome to day 5 of the 10 Days of Sous Vide series. In our last post, we discussed the purpose of brine and if it’s necessary for sous vide. Today, we’ll talk about the perfect sous vide egg.
One of the best uses of the sous vide is for the sous vide egg. Arguably, this should have been my first post on the 10 Days of Sous Vide series because of how simple and successful this application can be.
The “sous vide egg”
When cooks refer to the sous vide egg, they are usually talking about an egg that has been poached within its shell in a sous vide water bath. However, that certainly isn’t the only application of sous vide for eggs. You can get a perfect hard or soft boiled egg; you can even “scramble” your eggs in sous vide. However, neither of these alternate applications seem worth it whereas the poached egg is certainly worth it.
Poaching eggs is an art which eludes many home cooks. How to get a perfectly runny egg without having a stringy egg-white mess or–even worse–a soggy, waterlogged or tough egg requires that one observes a long list of rules. I’m not just rebellious about rules because I believe they are made to be broken, but merely because I have a hard time remembering them all! With the sous vide method, all you need to remember is temperature and time.
Vacuum sealers need not apply
The egg poaches quickly in its shell which serves as a natural vacuum-sealed barrier. The shell also means that you don’t have to babysit the egg whites swirling about in a pan.
Additionally, thanks to the nature of the sous vide, you don’t need to worry about whether you have the pot at the right slow simmer. The sous vide egg seems foolproof, right? Well, that’s mostly right.
You make up the rules
My fiancé is the type of person who gags at the sight of eggs over easy and likes his eggs scrambled hard. I, like most normal people (love you, honey), love an oozy yolk but require a firm white. I have messed with egg temperatures and timing to try to figure out my perfect egg. If you cook these low and slow, you will have a runny yolk (check!), but you’ll also have a slightly runny white (NOT check!). It turns out, the best way to get my perfect egg is to cook it at 167 °F / 75 °C for just 13 minutes. For the fudgy-like yolk, as I got in my matzah egg toast, you’ll do the same temp but for 20 minutes. You also need to consider the size of your egg. Smaller eggs need less time than their larger counterparts.
A wonderful resource for helping you achieve the sous vide egg of your dreams is found at the Food Lab. The guide is not all-inclusive, as you will see my perfect egg isn’t included as an option, so it’s a method that begs for your experimentation. The nice thing about my egg is that 1. it’s faster and 2. it allows you to avoid the finishing step of simmering your egg on the stove pot.
**Update: thanks to A Jew’s Bouche (an incredibly clever name, I must say) who introduced us to The Egg Calculator by Chef’s Steps for figuring out the perfect cooking temperature and timing for whatever egg texture you prefer!
Sous vide egg and simple pasta
Because the sous vide egg is so personal, I will leave the temperature and timing up to you to decide. Once you find your perfect egg, use it anywhere you would use a poached or soft boiled egg. You can even use the egg to add richness to sauces.
No sous vide, but don’t want to miss out on the fun?
LifeHacker posted a method using a plastic bag to poach eggs a few years back. I’ve never tried it, but this is your time to shine and perfect a new method. A lot of the same principles apply in this method. If you try it, you have to let me know how it worked in the comments!
We’re officially halfway through the series! Today we shared the perfect poached egg via sous vide. In our next post, we’ll talk about how to use sous vide juices to prepare a sauce. We’ll also share a chicken burrito-filling recipe. We’ll see you then!
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