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"How would you like those eggs cooked?"


IndyRob
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I had no idea that was called "basted" ... I frankly never had any idea what "basted" meant, WRT eggs, actually. So is that terminology actually common enough to use at a diner?

I remember a family care giver waxing euphoric over the bastard eggs her mother used to make. Whaaaat? Yeah, she says, they were fried eggs but she used to spoon the fat over them to lightly cook the tops. :blink:

That is what I thought basted eggs were. My grandmother would fry them in the same pan that she'd fried the bacon in and baste the hot bacon grease over them with a spoon, no flipping. Am I wrong?

That is how my mom and grandmom cooked eggs. They had a stamped steel skillet, cooked bacon first then added the eggs and spooned ( with a spatula) over the tops of the eggs until they were white. When someone asked for basted eggs, that is what I thought they meant.

I agree. Basted eggs are different than steamed eggs. Adding a liquid to a flattop or pan and then covering the eggs so the steam will cook the top surface of the eggs is steaming. Basting is the spooning of hot fat over the egg which cooks the top surface of the egg.

When making omlettes, my mom would use the steaming method to cook the little bit of egg left on the surface of the omlette that hadn't cooked, yet. Saint Jacques would not be happy with her. If you steam it too much, the omlette get puffy and doesn't taste as good, in my opinion. Sorry, Ma! :laugh:

All correct, AFAIK. It was the slippery slope from "basted" to "bastard" that delighted me. The care giver was wide eyed, saying that she always wondered why they were called bastard.

eGullet member #80.

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So in that spirit, I ask "What are all the breakfast egg preparation options? And what what should be one's expectations for each?"

(There is, of course, EGCI's All About Eggs - Cooking With the Pros, but I'm thinking about a more concise guide to ordering.

And relevant diner slang is always fun, as well as any "stump the breakfast guy" type preparations.

[ETA] Note that, unless anyone is bursting at the seams to display their encyclopedic egg knowledge, I'm not asking that any one person define the whole compendium. Just pick your own preference and expectations. The compendium will come.

Great question. My omelette request: Please don't brown it or turn it into a Frisbee®-like substance. Years (decades?) ago, when I regularly visited Toronto, I discovered this wonderful civilized restaurant that specialized in omelettes. (Does anyone remember its name?) The waiter actually knew the term baveuse. Sigh.

Edited by Alex (log)

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I can't claim that what I said is universal, obviously it must not be if so many are unfamiliar with it, but if you eat in a restaurant anywhere within a large area around where I live you will get eggs steamed under a lid. All of the breakfast places I've been to do basted, none that I've been in whip up a pan of bacon grease to do it in. I'm pretty sure that's almost entirely a home-cooking thing. I do it at home too if I'm having bacon with my eggs.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Since I am the guy from the restaurant adventures post, I'll elaborate as much as I will serve. We will do scrambled from soft to hard. Over easy to hard e.I. fried; poached soft to hard boiled, soft and hard, sheered, basted. I also will do a poached scrambled(a la Daniel Patterson from COI). We are using farm fresh eggs for our scrams and omelettes. We will crack them individually and blend them with a touch of buttermilk. I love soft scrambled and we are technically a diner. Working breakfast at a five star resort taught me the best way to make a scrambled egg is by low heat and lots of whipping. If you guys are ever in Rock Hill, SC come by the YOLK and we will give you the best scrambled eggs you ever had. Or will duty try.

What are sheered eggs? I've never heard that term, I guess.

My rather large family all go to a diner/breakfast spot in my town every Sunday after church with my grandpa. When the majority of people decide to order breakfast, it gives our waitress the shakes. No one orders their eggs the same way. Generally, I go over easy or with a veggie omelet. Their omelets are really great. Mostly no browning (except maybe on some thin edges), creamy interior, perfectly cooked veggies, perfectly melted cheese. Mom likes over medium, sis likes scrambled, grandpa is poached or hard fried, my uncles change their orders every time.

My dad is the only one who never orders eggs. I think the waitress would kiss him if she thought she could get away from it. Every week he has the fried chicken special, instead!

"Life is a combination of magic and pasta." - Frederico Fellini

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I wonder if he's talking about shirred eggs? I have no idea why they're called shirred, but they're baked. Assorted garnishes or cheese shows up in some but the basic shirred eggs are seasoned, splashed with a little cream and tossed in the oven to desired doneness.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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I wonder if he's talking about shirred eggs? I have no idea why they're called shirred, but they're baked. Assorted garnishes or cheese shows up in some but the basic shirred eggs are seasoned, splashed with a little cream and tossed in the oven to desired doneness.

This certainly sheds no light to origin.

eGullet member #80.

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Shirred eggs are simply baked eggs, usually with another ingredient.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Okay, so to try to enumerate, we have...

Over Easy/Medium/Hard (I assume Hard is an option although it seems, like a well-done steak, something that should be eschewed).

Scrambled - Easy/Medium/Hard? I'm not sure what Hard would be.

Sunny Side Up - Almost always I've found this to result in a lightly cooked cook egg with a very running yolk. Is the Easy/Medium/Hard qualifier accepted here?

Steamed/Braised/Covered - Some clouding of the top of the yolk? Pepin's preferred preparation.

Boiled - Soft/Hard - Is there a Medium?

Poached - Usually, the instructions found for poaching eggs are very precise without any guidance for variation. Poached is poached?

Shirred - Again, are there degrees?

Omelettes - Maybe I'm wrong, but I think these tend adopt their own personalities and are less adaptable to be done to individual preferences. Usually, when I cook an omelette it's in the Julia Child tradition. But I also do another hearty rustic American lumberjack sort with ground sausage and cooked in the sausage grease. These have a browned exterior.

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"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Boiled eggs are best not boiled but steeped in very hot water so the term many cooks use is hard or soft cooked eggs rather than boiled eggs. As I mentioned before, hard or soft cooked eggs can be cooked with steam as well. Steam cooked eggs usually peel more easily and run less risk of that green ring around the yolk.

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Let us not forget Toad in the Hole - wherein you cut a circular hole in the middle of a slice of (preferably) rye bread, then butter the bread, flap it onto the griddle, and crack the egg into the hole. Flip when it's solid enough to do so. This is the only way that I can eat an egg on its own. Unfortunately, outside of one or two diners in northern Canada, it's not a common enough thing to order it in North America - last time I tried in a cafe in Toronto, the waitron looked at me like I had asked for some exotic delicacy. I had to explain to the cook what I wanted.

Rob, are you also interested in the Latin American egg preparations as well?

Several years ago, when my husband worked in a restaurant that served brunch, he made eggs this way but used a portobello mushroom cap instead of bread, then served it over spinach or over a sauteed tomato-onion-jalapeno mix, topped with any one of a number of sauces. It was divine!

Barb Cohan-Saavedra

Co-owner of Paloma Mexican Haute Cuisine, lawyer, jewelry designer, glass beadmaker, dessert-maker (I'm a lawyer who bakes, not a pastry chef), bookkeeper, payroll clerk and caffeine-addict

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My work colleague told me that once he ordered a '3 egg omelette' at a cafe, and was served an omelette with 3 fried eggs on top.

Laughter aside, it never occurred to me to ask for a specific number of eggs in an omelette. Is it acceptable or simply pretentious?

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Over Easy/Medium/Hard (I assume Hard is an option although it seems, like a well-done steak, something that should be eschewed).

Hard would be cooked through. Also some people prefer a broken yolk, which results in a mind of "medium-hard."

Scrambled - Easy/Medium/Hard? I'm not sure what Hard would be.

There is no such designation as "scrambled eggs easy." There is soft (or wet), medium and (usually) dry, although one could also say hard. Dry would be the more accurate description, and pretty much explains what you're getting.

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