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Recipes: Eggs for dinner? of course

How to prepare eggs for saucy dishes

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When I was nine, I came across a dish in a cookbook my mother had recently purchased that was a type of beef roulade. Outer layer of beef, then stuffing, and smack in the middle of the stuffing was a hard cooked egg, the yellow yolk gazing blankly.

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I had never seen this before and it filled me with a vague feeling of unease. I liked eggs and ate them fried, scrambled, soft and hard cooked, but never ever wanted to eat them à la roulade after that point.

In the early 1980s, I immersed myself in the delectable prose of MFK Fisher whose words on food and life inspired me to find my own footing in the culinary world. In An Alphabet for Gourmets, she describes making a dish called “Hindu Eggs” for her and her sister de ella while their parents were out for the evening. It was hard-cooked eggs in a white sauce flavored with a pinch of curry powder, served on toast. If a pinch of curry powder was good, then a few spoonfuls was better, she reasoned. The two girls spent the rest of the evening trying to soothe their burning mouths.

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This reminded me of my own childhood cooking experiments. I never burned anyone’s mouth with the liberal application of curry powder but some of my creations definitely edged into the inedible category. Even though Fisher’s attempt could be filed under failure, it was a triumph on two counts. Experimentation and celebrating things that didn’t turn out the way you imagined was good. And hard cooked eggs — when not stuffed into something else — are great for dinner.

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Cooking the Eggs

My method leaves the eggs with a slightly soft yolk to compensate for being heated in the sauce. Feel free to cook the eggs by your method of choice.

Start with older eggs as they’re easier to peel. Let them come up to room temperature. Bring a pot of water to a boil that is large enough to hold the eggs comfortably with water to cover by at least two inches (5 cm). Gently slip in the eggs and set a timer for six minutes. When the times hits zero, immediately remove the eggs to a bowl and keep submerged under cold running water for 10 minutes. If you wish to serve the eggs warm, cool just until easy to handle. To peel, gently tap the bottom of the egg on a hard surface to get it started then carefully crack the rest to the shell. Peel the egg from the bottom up under cool water.

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German Style Eggs in Mustard Sauce.
German Style Eggs in Mustard Sauce. Photo by Claire Barnaby /PNG

German-style Eggs in Mustard Sauce

Boiled or mashed potatoes go well with the eggs and a green vegetable rounds out the plate.

2 tbsp (30 mL) unsalted butter

1/2 cup (125 mL) finely diced onion

3 tbsp (45 mL) flour

1 cup (250 mL) vegetable or chicken broth or water

1 cup (250 mL) milk

1-2 tbsp (15-30 mL) Dijon mustard, smooth or grainy, or to taste

1/4 tsp (1 ml) salt

6 large eggs, prepared according to the directions above

Melt butter over low heat in a pot or frying pan that will hold the eggs snugly in a single layer. Add onion and cook until translucent. Whisk in flour until smooth then add broth in small increments, stirring constantly to form a smooth sauce. Whisk in milk and bring to a simmer. Add mustard and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. If the sauce seems too thick, add a touch of water or milk. Add the eggs and simmer for 2 minutes longer to heat them through. Stir in dill, adjust the seasoning, and serve immediately.

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Makes 2-3 servings

Turkish Style Eggs.
Turkish Style Eggs. Photo by Claire Barnaby /PNG

Turkish-style Eggs

Delicious with soft flatbread, pita or naan to scoop up the yogurt, add a salad and hummus for a great dinner.

1 cup (250 mL) plain 10% yogurt or Greek yogurt, at room temperature

1 small clove garlic, minced

1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt

1/4 tsp (1 mL) ground black pepper

4 tbsp (60 mL) unsalted butter

1 tsp (5 mL) sweet paprika

1/4 tsp (1 mL) ground cumin seed

pinch of cayenne pepper

4 large eggs, cooked and peeled while warm according to the directions above

In a bowl, combine yogurt, garlic, salt and pepper. Melt butter in a small frying pan over medium heat. When it bubbles, add paprika, cumin and cayenne; stir a few times and remove from the heat.

Cook eggs according to the instructions above. When eggs are almost ready, divide the yogurt between two shallow bowls and shape it with the back of a spoon into a round nest, ready to receive the eggs. When eggs are ready, peel and place on the yogurt. Quickly reheat the butter and pour over the eggs. Serve immediately.

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Makes 2 servings

Egg and Cauliflower Curry.
Egg and Cauliflower Curry. Photo by Claire Barnaby /PNG

Egg and Cauliflower Curry

A simple and mild curry, serve it with rice and your favorite chutney.

2 tbsp (30 mL) neutral flavored vegetable oil

1 cup (250 mL) finely diced onion

2 tsp (10 mL) grated fresh ginger

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp (5 mL) each, ground cumin, sweet paprika and coriander seed

1/4 tsp (1 mL) turmeric powder

1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) ground black pepper

2 medium tomatoes, finely diced

1 400 mL can full-fat coconut milk

1/2 cup (125 ml) water

2 cups (500 mL) bite-sized cauliflower florets

1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) salt

6 large eggs, prepared according to the directions above

coarsely chopped cilantro for garnishing if desired

Heat oil in a medium-sized pot over medium low heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently until lightly browned. Add ginger and garlic, cook for a minute. Add dry spices, give a few stirs, then add the tomato. When the tomato breaks down, add the coconut milk, water and salt. Bring to a boil and add cauliflower. Cook at a lively simmer until the cauliflower is barely tender. Slip in the eggs and cook for 2-3 minutes to heat the eggs through. Adjust seasoning and serve immediately.

Makes 2-3 servings

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