4 Ways You're Making Eggs Wrong (And What To Do Instead)

07/09/2014 07:24 am ET | Updated Jul 11, 2014

Such a simple food; so many ways to mess it up. We learned a few rules for making delicious eggs from Michael Ruhlman, author of Egg: A Culinary Exploration of the World's Most Versatile Ingredient.

By Lynn Andriani

  • You're Boiling Eggs and Eating Them Warm
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  • Hard-cooking is probably the most basic way to prepare an egg, yet anyone who's laid eyes on a gray-green yolk and smelled that sulfurous odor knows basic does not mean foolproof. Ruhlman says the easiest and surest method is to put cold eggs in a pan, cover them with water by about an inch, put the pan over high heat and when the water comes to a full boil, put a lid on the pan, remove it from the heat and let it sit for 15 minutes. Now, here's the important part: Don't just drain the eggs and peel them. Instead, plunge the eggs into an ice bath for at least 10 minutes. Rapid cooling is key to preventing ferrous sulfide (and its accompanying weird colors) from forming.
  • You're Using Your Gorgeous Stainless-Steel Pan to Fry Eggs
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  • A high-quality stainless-steel fry pan might do a bang-up job with meats and vegetables, but if you try to fry eggs in it, you're probably going to end up scrambling them, even if you use butter or oil. Instead, nonstick pans (which do nothing to give meat and vegetables crisp and golden edges) are the best choice for frying eggs and keeping them intact, says Ruhlman. Use a good tablespoon of butter for two eggs to give the eggs the best flavor.
  • You're Doing That Vinegar Trick with Poached Eggs
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  • If there's one lesson Ruhlman wants readers to come away with, it might just be this: Do not add vinegar to the poaching water to help prevent flyaway egg whites. Yes, countless people advise doing so, but Ruhlman promises it only results in your having to rinse off a sour egg before eating it. Rather, strain the raw egg in a slotted spoon before placing it in water. This will allow any loose white to drain off. Then add the egg to water that's simmering, gently lift out, drain on a paper towel and enjoy.
  • You're Scrambling Eggs in 30 Seconds Flat
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  • For scrambled eggs that are light and silky and never dry, repeat after Ruhlman: Use gentle heat. Setting your pan over a low flame is the single most important thing you can do to make unbelievable scrambled eggs, because it allows you to control the cooking, since it goes so slowly (actually, Ruhlman advocates using a double boiler over simmering water for the first few times, until you get the hang of cooking over superlow heat). Aside from that, your eggs should be totally blended (i.e., no visible whites or yolks) before cooking. Once they're in the pan, stir them gently and often in the first 30 seconds of cooking time; then, incrementally, so curds will form. Continue to fold and stir; the eggs are done when about two-thirds of the pan is stiff and a third is slightly runny (they'll continue to cook in the pan).

  • An Egg -- and a Basket -- for Everyone
    David Kiang
  • This four-ingredient miracle recipe from The Auntie Em's Cookbook, by Theresa Wahl, delivers a gorgeous-looking dish with a tiny, how-is-this-possible amount of work. You simply line each cup of a muffin pan with a slice of ham, crack an egg into each and drizzle heavy cream on top. Salt, pepper and a sprig of thyme are the only seasonings needed, since the ham has a ton of flavor. After about 10 minutes in the oven, each person can enjoy his or her very own edible breakfast basket.

    Get the recipe: Baked Eggs in Ham Baskets
  • A Fun-To-Say 15-Minute Wonder
    Aliya LeeKong
  • Shakshouka -- a popular Israeli and Tunisian dish where eggs are poached in tomato sauce -- is speedy, delicious and a strong contender for edging out quiche as one of the best brunch dishes for a group. This recipe from Aliya LeeKong's Exotic Table can serve six, and includes an herby tomato sauce that comes together in 15 minutes (which you can alternately make ahead of time). You crack the eggs over the sauce, slide the pan under the heat and broil it for five or so minutes. Make sure you have some thick, crusty bread on hand for sopping up the juices.

    Get the recipe: Shakshouka with Chorizo and Bread Crumbs
  • An Asian-Flavored Breakfast Bake
    Leann Mueller
  • Anyone who's considered munching on last night's leftovers at 8 a.m. will see the beauty in this flavorful casserole. It starts with a layer of cooked brown rice. Next comes a healthy (and tasty) combination of sautéed Swiss chard, onion and ginger, mixed with coconut milk, soy sauce and a dash of sesame oil. On top of that, you crack the eggs and bake until the whites are set but the yolks are still runny. You can make this in one large casserole dish or in individual ramekins.

    Get the recipe: Sesame Baked Eggs
  • The Omelet For When You Don't Feel Like Making Omelets
  • We love a plate of fluffy eggs stuffed with savory fillings, but it can be hard to churn out six or eight omelets and still have everyone eat at the same time (and keep everything hot). Making a frittata solves that problem -- and they don't come much easier than with this recipe. You whisk the eggs, add canned, chopped tomatoes and herbs and pour everything into a skillet. The mixture cooks on the stove for about five minutes, and then in the oven for 15 more. Then, you spread tomato paste and grated cheddar on top and slide the frittata back into the oven for another seven minutes, until the cheese is melted and slightly bubbly -- so you've got a pizzalike take on a classic breakfast food.

    Get the recipe: Tomato Frittata

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