We've all heard of boiling, scrambling and poaching — but have you ever roasted an egg? From coddling to scrambling it inside its shell, we try out some of the less common ways of cooking an egg.
Scrambling inside its shell
Scrambling an egg still in its shell is thought to have originated in Japan. And, according to an article on the Instructables website, you'll need a pair of tights to make one. Push a raw egg down one of the 'legs' of a pair of fairly thick tights, holding the foot end firmly. Twist both ends so the egg can't escape and then spin the egg by twirling it in front of you in a circular motion. Be careful not to hit the egg with anything as you spin it, and continue spinning in both directions for about 2 minutes. The egg will sound gloopy. Carefully remove the egg from the tights and boil for 8-10 minutes. For some reason these eggs are more likely to crack on boiling and so they often don't come out as perfectly formed as a boiled egg. But we think they're kind of cool.
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This method cooks the egg very gently so that the yolk is runny and the white is just set. You can use an egg coddler — a small device that resembles a tall egg cup with a lid, which is then immersed in simmering water. But you can also coddle eggs in the oven. Just butter a small ramekin and crack in the egg. Drizzle in a teaspoon of cream and sprinkle over some salt and pepper. Place in a roasting tray and pour boiling water into the tray so that it comes just over half way up the side of the ramekin. Bake at 180°C for about 8-10 minutes or until the egg is cooked to your liking. Some people like to add a trickle of white wine, some herbs and chopped ham into the ramekin before cracking in the egg, for a truly indulgent snack.
Obviously you can't crack an egg onto the bars of a grilling tray, so you need to find an edible container to grill it in. A scooped out tomato, large flat mushroom, a halved red pepper or a halved, toasted bread roll will all work. If you're using bread, just push down on it slightly in the centre to make a little hollow and place under the grill for a minute, to firm it up. Crack the egg into the bread roll and slide back under the grill for a few more minutes until it's cooked. It's a bit of a gamble whether the egg will set before the outside of the toast burns, and while it doesn't set the white as firmly as a fried egg it does give the yolk an unusual toasted flavour.
This method is a bit like coddling, but you don't use any water. Butter a ramekin, and scatter in some chopped ham, chorizo, chopped tomato, mushrooms or whatever else you fancy. If you're using raw chopped bacon, cook it first. Crack in an egg, season and sprinkle over a tiny grating of cheese. Place the ramekin on a baking tray and cook in the oven for 12-15 minutes at 180°C or until cooked to your liking.
Roasted eggs are important during Jewish Passover, where they represent birth, mourning and sacrifice. Although these symbolic eggs aren't normally eaten during Passover, in some countries they are. For example, in one African recipe eggs are slow-roasted for around 5 hours, giving them a smoky, caramelised flavour. Raw eggs placed in the oven can have a tendency to explode however, so for safety and to save time, boil the egg for 6-7 minutes first and then transfer to a 180°C oven for another 10 minutes. It's very easy to overcook the eggs to a rubber-like consistency when roasting, but ours had started to develop a sweet, slightly nutty flavoured yolk and a yellowish white after a hard-boil and a quick spell in the oven. If the egg is bound for the Seder plate however, many people just hold the boiled egg in a pair of flameproof tongs over a flame, to burnish the shell slightly.