So this is what a really fresh egg tastes like

January 31, 2008 | By | Comments (2)

by Margo True, Sunset food editor

Several days ago, chicken Ophelia wowed us all by laying our flock’s desperately awaited first egg (we’ll need many more for our end-of summer feast). Of course we were itching to eat it right away, but it was awfully small. It could not serve all of Team Chicken. So we waited a few more days—and Ophelia obliged. Eggs three had we!

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Jim McCann, leader of Team Chicken, with eggs.

After five months, we were finally going to eat our own fresh eggs. How fresh? One of them was actually still warm. Hah!

We wanted to save the First Egg somehow, though, so we decided to blow out the contents the way you do for Easter eggs.  Here is how we did it, step by step, while managing to avoid hurting our eardrums. (Remember in grade school, when you’d have to put your lips to the egg and blow? Ouch.)

SUNSET’S KITCHEN-TESTED METHOD FOR PAINLESS EGG BLOWING

What you will need:

Washed and dried eggs
1 tack
1 hatpin or darning needle
1 ear syringe (we found ours near the pharmacy counter of our neighborhood Safeway)
1 bowl
Running water
1 folded paper towel

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Washed and dried eggs.

Step 1:  Make first (small) hole. Poke a hole in the larger end of the egg, which is where the air pocket is, with a good sturdy tack. Make the hole twice as large as the tack’s tip (to allow more air in for easier blowing). Hold the egg in your hand so you don’t smash it to smithereens on the table what with all the pressure of the poking.

We discovered that Ophelia’s pretty little eggs have surprisingly thick shells, like unglazed porcelain. Firm drilling worked better than gentle scratching. “I used a lot of pressure,” said Sunset researcher Elizabeth Jardina, who turned out to be an excellent egg driller. “More pressure than I actually felt comfortable with.”

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Drilling the first hole.

Step 2:  Scramble. Stick a darning needle or a hat pin in the hole and wiggle it around to scramble the contents. It’ll be hard to get the yolk out unless you do this.

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Step 3: Make a second (larger) hole. Put a finger on the hole you’ve just made, flip the egg over, and make another, bigger hole in the small end.

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The second hole (bigger than the first).

Step 4: Expel the egg. While holding your egg over a bowl, put the ear syringe against the first (smaller) hole and gently squeeze the syringe. In a moment, the white and then the yolk will stream out of the egg into the bowl.

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Step 5: Rinse the shell. Fill the eggshell partway with water and shake it up to rinse thoroughly. Then use the syringe to blow the water out of the shell. You might have to repeat the rinsing and blowing a couple of times to get it completely clean.

Step 6: Dry the eggs. Let them drain on paper towels for a few days until they’re completely dry. Store in a cool dark place.

You may notice that we began with three eggs, and now have only two eggshells draining above. Yes, dear reader, we lost a shell. Too small an exit hole, too vigorous a syringing. We learned the hard way.

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The yolks were a deep yellow-orange, almost the color of marigolds,
and the whites very firm and bouncy. It was actually kind of hard to
get them to combine with the yolks because they resisted the whisk.

To do justice to our first eggs, we chose a slow-scrambling method that makes the eggs so tender they’re practically like custard. It’s from a wonderful new cookbook called My Bombay Kitchen, written by our friend Niloufer Ichaporia King.

Here is her recipe (we adjusted the amounts to suit 3 little eggs):

Creamy Scrambled Eggs (Charvela Ida)

It’s not hard to make scrambled eggs voluptuously creamy the French way, with lots of butter, but it’s good to know that there’s an alternative. You can make equally creamy eggs using a small amount of butter and a little slug of milk, about a tablespoonful per egg.

The high-heat, short-order cook’s approach to scrambling eggs doesn’t work here because the goal is creamy softness. You’ll be surprised by how many lovers of firm scrambled eggs are converted by this approach. You need to use a saucepan for the best results. Nonstick pans are fine, although I’ve seen cooks in Bombay use thin aluminum pans with great success. Serves 4 generously.

8 large eggs
1/2 cup milk or half-and-half
1 to 2 tablespoons ghee [Indian clarified butter], clarified butter, or butter
4 pinches (about) salt

Whisk the eggs and milk lightly together in a small 1-quart saucepan. Add the ghee and about 4 pinches of salt. Over low heat, stir the eggs constantly with a wooden spatula, keeping contact with the bottom of the pan. In 5 minutes or so, the eggs will be creamy, soft, and ready to serve.

Best eaten with a spoon.

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I scooped the eggs, so bright yellow they almost looked dyed, out onto a plate and we stood around and spooned them up. They were velvety and tasted rich and deep—like eggs, only squared. They were better, even, than the pasture-fed hen eggs I have bought for many dollars per dozen at farmers’ markets. I know, I know, I’m maybe a little bit biased. But really—they were the best eggs ever.

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Team Chicken member Elizabeth Jardina

COMMENTS

  1. Sunset

    Congratulations on your new eggs! It really makes you stop taking eggs for granted, doesn’t it. Especially when the ones you get are so good. Thank you for writing.

    Best,

    Margo True
    Sunset Food Editor

    February 19, 2008 at 1:45 am
  2. suann

    I just found your blog today. I was originally looking up a recipe. But wanted to congratulate you on your project, especially Team Chicken.
    We have a backyard garden and a small chicken yard with 2 chickens (all legal in a central valley town). The chickens are now 31/2 years old and just started laying for the season TODAY! We love our chickens and have learned so much about their care and behavior. They molt and do not lay in the winter due to the short day length. We usually have to buy one or two dozen from the grocery store in the winter. Our friends and family love our chickens (eggs), too. They have been asking for weeks if they are laying yet, as they know they will get a few when production speeds up. As you described so well in previous posts, fresh backyard eggs are completely different than store bought.
    I look forward to reading more.

    February 16, 2008 at 2:02 am

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