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the coddled egg

October 1, 2011

Waking up on a sunday morning at Grandma’s house always meant that breakfast would be a treat.  My sister and I would be overwhelmed with exciting choices: pancakes, apple fritters, sugary cereals that mom would never buy for us…the list went on.    But no matter how enticing the options – my choice was almost always the same:  a coddled egg.

My grandma’s egg-coddler is old and porcelain with a bird painted on it, and sits by a lazy susan in a corner kitchen cabinet in her house.  I think there is something magical about this specific egg-coddler, because no matter how many times I had her walk me through the cooking instructions, my own coddled eggs have never quite been as good.  Not as buttery.  Not as satisfying.  Not as perfect.  Some people say that atmosphere accounts for half of our perception of quality when enjoying food.  I think that is probably true in this case.  Something about watching my grandma in her kitchen cracking the eggs and flashing loving smiles my way while she works.  It cannot be matched.

Nonetheless, I ambitiously continue to coddle eggs on many a saturday.  I make them for K, who prefers the yolks almost fully cooked (lame).  I’m going to tell you how to do it, but I also want to note that people are doing all kinds of fun things in egg coddlers these days.   If you find my version (Grandma’s version) to be a little plain…. then go jump off a cliff – KIDDING – No really, then consider adding pieces of chopped herbs, veggies or bacon to the bottom of your pot to jazz it up.  As for me, I’ll stick to the way Grandma taught me.  Like Tevye always said, “TRADITION!”

To make a coddled egg: Use your fingers to thoroughly coat the inside of a porcelain coddler with butter or cooking spray.  Carefully crack 2 eggs inside.  Tighten cap just until it stays closed when you lift by the looped hook (too tight and it will be difficult to open once boiled).  Gently lower into a pot of boiling water.  Water should not go above the line separating the bottom from the top.  Boil for 8 and a half minutes (I did ten for K’s egg because he likes his well-done).  Remove from heat using the handle of a spoon or fork.  With a towel, unscrew the top.  Run a knife along the edges to help loosen the egg.  Use a spoon to gently coax the egg out.  Serve on toast with salt & pepper.

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