Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Food Desert Project: Soft-boiled Eggs with Pimento Cheese Soldiers

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Sometimes, it's simple pleasures, right?  Back in the 1970s, everybody had egg-cups expressly for enjoying soft-boiled eggs and toast "soldiers" to dip in them, but somehow this dish fell out of favor.  People think, somewhat unfairly, that soft-boiling an egg and cutting toast into strips is too much trouble. (Don't have an egg cup these days?  No worries, we found that shot or cordial glasses are a perfect fit.)

I can't blame them, really: in researching soft-boiled eggs, I found no less than five "experts" claiming that even though it is called a three-minute egg, it should be steeped, boiled, simmered or steamed for seven, six, five-to-seven, or four minutes.  Vigorous discussion of the pre-cooking egg temperature is also included.  No wonder nobody wants to mess with it!

The problem is that you're working with several variables, but you only have good control of the water temperature and the cooking time.  Most people in the real world use refrigerator-temperature large eggs.  Add or remove time accordingly if your eggs are warm or an odd size.  The other, more important variable is YOU: exactly how "done" do you like soft-boiled eggs?  As shown, I prefer to err towards runny, but many people call eggs with a set yolk "soft-boiled."  Eggs are cheap: do a few, figure out what works for you.

So, bring a pot of water, enough to cover the eggs, to a vigorous boil.  Turn down the heat until it is a bare simmer (just a few bubbles barely breaking the surface.)  Lower the eggs in using a spoon (the less you jostle them, the less likely they will be to crack even if they are right out of the fridge.)  Adjust the temperature until you have a few bubbles again, and set a timer for four minutes.  Remove the eggs, shock them in some icewater to stop the cooking, and then put them in warm water until your toasts are ready.

Pimento-cheese Soldiers

Slices of lightly-toasted bread, as desired (about 1 per egg per person)
1 4oz jar of pimientos (will make about 2-3 toasts)
2-3 tablespoons of shredded sharp cheddar cheese (will make about 2-3 toasts)

"Soft-boiled" eggs, as above (refrigerated eggs placed in simmering water for 4 minutes then "shocked" with icewater)

001This couldn't be simpler.  Drain your pimientos and fry them lightly to remove some of the moisture.  Spread them on your toast, top with cheese, and run under your broiler for 3-5 minutes, until the cheese melts and browns slightly.  Cut into long, thin sticks.  Dip into the yolk of your soft-boiled eggs and enjoy!

I started this post by trying a version of ham-and-cheese soldiers, same method but with diced ham - and I used a combination of mozzarella and parmesan cheese.  Delicious.

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4 comments:

Karen Harris said...

I noticed some traffic coming from your site and popped over to take a look. I love your pimento cheese soldier variation and will be giving it a go soon. My daughter and I love eggs and soldiers for a light supper every now and then when my husband and son aren't around and this will be a nice change.I'm so glad you liked my crunchy ham and cheese recipe.

Michele Hays said...

So glad you're getting traffic, and thank you for the inspiration!

Leah A. Zeldes said...

I love soft-boiled eggs. I usually don't bother with soldiers, though. I just scoop the eggs out onto the toast.

Michele Hays said...

In the past, we'd have been right there with you - but being able to dip a flavored toast strip right in the yolk...it's worthwhile.

I suppose you could do a Croque Madame or its pimento-cheese analogue with your soft-boiled egg instead...

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