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OTHER ITA SITES:
It's All About the Egg
Eggs are one of the most nutritious and versatile foods that there is. They can be eaten fried, baked or as an ingredient in everything from main dishes to desserts. Eggs can be either brown or white - the color does not change the quality or the flavor.
Store eggs in their own carton in the refrigerator. The carton protects the eggs from absorbing other food flavors through their shells. Fresh eggs are best for poaching or baking while older eggs are better for beating egg whites.
Most recipes call for large eggs which are about 2 ounces each. When cooking with eggs, bring them to room temperature before cooking. Eggs are sensitive to temperature. They will continue to cook if they are left in a hot pan so move them to a serving dish immediately after cooking.
Some recipes may require the use of either egg whites or egg yolks. The best way to separate eggs is by using their own shells. Avoid touching egg whites with your fingers or greasy surfaces, especially if they are going to be beaten.
Beaten egg whites are used in souffles and mousses. A pinch of salt added before starting to beat them will help them stiffen faster. Don't over-beat or they will become too stiff. Egg yolks are often beaten separately with or without sugar. This helps increase volume and lightens sauces such as Hollandaise or adds air for cakes or batters.
Older eggs are easier to peel than fresh eggs. Plunge the cooked egg into very cold water immediately after cooking. This helps loosen the shell for easier removal. It also prevents the greenish ring around the yolk. Hard-boiled eggs may be refrigerated in their shells up to a week.
Folding egg whites is one of the more important cooking techniques. Because beaten egg whites contain so much air, they are difficult to add to a batter mixture without losing volume. Do not over-beat egg whites or they will not mix smoothly and will deflate. Begin by adding about one-quarter of the beaten whites to the batter and stir them in thoroughly. Then, spoon in the remaining egg whites and gently fold them in, using a rubber spatula or metal spoon. Cut down into the center of the mixture to the bottom and scoop under and up along one side of the bowl, turning the bowl as you work.
You will often hear about boiling eggs, but they should never really be boiled. They should be gently simmered. The eggs should be at room temperature before cooking to avoid cracking.
Poached eggs are cooked in simmering water. Use the freshest eggs possible; the fresher the egg, the better the egg will hold its shape. Only cook one or two eggs at a time in a wide saucepan with 3 inches of water. Break egg into a small dish and using a wooden spoon, stir the water vigorously to form a swirl. Quickly slide the egg into the swirl. Simmer for 3-4 minutes and lift the egg out with a slotted spoon.
Baked eggs are sometimes called "shirred eggs." They are usually baked one to a dish (a ramekin) with salt and pepper and dotted with a small amount of butter. Put the ramekins into a small casserole filled with boiling water and bake for 5 to 6 minutes until the white is just set and the yolk is still soft. Serve immediately.
Eggs can also be scrambled, fried, and used to make omelets, custards, crepes and souffles.
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