Copyright © 25 December 2015 by Bob Hurt. All rights reserved.
Yesterday, I decided to test the slow-cook egg theory (sous vide) without a thermal immersion circulator. Pressure cooker 2/3 full of reverse osmosis water, upside down bowl on bottom, small dish on top of that, digital thermometer probe lying on the dish between the eggs.
I set the pot on the medium electric range burner and turned the heat to high until the thermometer showed 120 °F, then I turned the heat down to 2. I swirled the water around with my tongs. The temperature went up to 130 °F. A few minutes later the heat had risen to 152 °F. I turned the heat down to 1.5, the temp came down to 146 °F, my target temperature. I turned it up to slightly less than 2. The temperature stabilized.
I lowered 3 eggs onto the dish using tongs, leaving them submerged a couple of inches. I swirled the water again, and set the lid firmly onto the pot, as though I planned to twist-lock it, but I did not twist-lock it.
I let the eggs cook for about an hour. I removed them from the water. I used my kitchen knife to chop off the pointy end of each shell about 1/4 down from the point so as not to pierce the yolk. I up-ended each shell and the contents slid out onto a softened dollop of butter. The whites and yoke seemed a little loose, but not runny. With a little salt and pepper on top, I had a perfect dish of 3 eggs.
For an eating comparison, I point out that I normally feel still hungry after eating 2 pan-cooked eggs, but sort of sicky, bored, or over-worked when not quite finished eating 3 pan-cooked eggs. That explains why I normally eat only 2 pan-cooked eggs at a sitting.
Now when I compare the slow-cooked egg eating experience to that of 3 scrambled eggs, or the 3-egg Chef Pepi-style French omelet, or 3 eggs over-easy, or soft-boiled eggs, I honestly prefer my slow-cooked-in-the-shell eggs to any of the other pan-cooked eggs. The slow-cooked eggs have a perfect, creamy texture in the mouth and a sumptuous, non-raw flavor. Plus, I didn’t feel bored, or hurry-up-and-get-done, or sicky feeling as I do when working my way through three pan-cooked eggs.
I know what you think: “That fool drug out a huge pot, dishes, and thermometer, and spent at least an hour and a half cooking 3 eggs the sous vide way without a fancy expensive circulator that keeps the water at a constant temperature surrounding the food. He had to watch that temperature like a hawk the whole time, and had no clue about what burner temperature would keep the water at 151 °F. He went to all that trouble for 3 eggs!??. He must have a lot of time on his hands. What a waste of life!”
Really, I do see your point. But we’re talking Egg Heaven here, not just garden-variety boiled, scrambled, fried, or omelet eggs. I imagine that the inventor of the cooking circulator (a standard chemistry laboratory item) for cooking purposes went through the same ordeal as I before deciding to make that circulator. And you
guessed correctly. I do have a little time on my hands.
Maybe someday I will buy a circulator when the retail price drops to 50 bucks.
Meanwhile, I shall use the above technique to cook a couple of 2-inch thick strip, rib eye, or tenderloin steaks at 130 ºF (medium rare, the perfect doneness) for 5 hours. I shall put each steak in its own Ziploc bag and use a drinking straw to suck all the air out before sealing, the cheap-man’s vacuum sealing method. I shall finish them by grilling them at medium-high temperature for 30 seconds per side.
Right, we’re talking Steak Heaven.