Friday, November 30, 2012

Dip-in eggs

This is the second of two posts on food. The previous was a traditional recipe ; this one is something common for me growing up, and that Matilda and Tessa now eat regularly for breakfast: the dip-in egg. I have no idea if 'dip-in' egg is the correct culinary name, but it is what my parents and grand-parents called it, and it works. A dip-in egg is soft boiled so that the yolk is runny, and it is accompanied by strips of toast termed 'soldiers' - because if arranged properly the strips of toast are lined up like soldiers.

Ready for dipping - well, almost, as soon as the top is knocked off.
I have strong memories of sitting at the end of the table in our little open dining/kitchen area in Belfield patiently waiting for my egg to be 'ready' while dad stood around watching the clock. Because I now understand that making a dip-in egg takes genuine timing. Not boiled long enough, and you have runny egg-white. Boiled too long, and you have a hard, undippable yolk. But just like Goldilocks, if you get it jut right it's an incredibly simple but yummy breakfast.

The critical device needed for this to work is an egg-cup. Matilda now uses my child-hood egg cup - a footed egg cup from Carlton Ware. Sadly, CW is now defunct but I'll be sourcing a second one for Tessa from Ebay or such, as all need to be treated as equals! I believe that my Aunt Liz gave me the egg cup when I was young, and my brother Chris also holds one.

After much experimentation and guidance from my father (and, believe it or not, confirmation from a Martha Stewart magazine), here is  how I make  them.

- Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil
- Place in requisite number of room-temperature eggs (just immerse the eggs in a bowl of warm water for a few minute to bring them to room temp from the fridge)
- Boil in water for exactly four minutes
- While the water is boiling, make once piece of toast per egg, butter it, and cut into strips
- Remove eggs into egg cups
- Place on table, and using a butter knife, whack the top off the egg.
- Eat!

The egg white will appear cooked (just like a hard-boiled egg), but if not already visible a jab of the knife into the white should reveal the runny yolk.

Matilda will now demonstrate how it works:
Firstly, dip your soldier into the yolk. If you dip too deep, you'll overflow the yolk and lose valuable dipping material. Which Matilda has done.

Bite off the yummy eggy toast, and repeat. The beauty of a one-egg-per-person ratio is that double-dipping is completely acceptable. Enjoy!

As a final note, I always recall a little bit of runny white floating around, and still eat mine that way. I believe that there is now much concern about salmonella poisoning and such, but I've never had an issue!

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