How to cook a soft-boiled egg

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Soft-boiled eggs are most often eaten at breakfast but they can also form part of the dressing in salads and can act as a sauce on top of poached or grilled fish. The classic french salad with eggs and lardons depends on a delicately poached egg but you can use a soft-boiled egg instead. Here’s how to make them at home.

How to make a soft boiled egg

1. Make sure the eggs are at room temperature.

2. Place the eggs gently into a saucepan full of cold water making sure the eggs don’t strike the bottom of the pan as they may crack.  Bring the water to the boil, and when it boils, cook the eggs for exactly 4 minutes.

3. Drain and rinse under a cool tap. Crack the egg shells very gently with a teaspoon so you don’t dent the egg white and peel off the shells. You can also roll the eggs gently across a cutting board to crack the shells and peel. Use immediately when they are still warm.

Recipe Variations and Tips

– Appearance is usually important when you soft-boil an egg as it may be used on top of the dish so don’t whack the shell with the spoon or you will end up with a deformed egg. Worse still, as it is so soft, you may puncture it.

– Soft-boiled eggs are used in a classic French salad with mixed leaves and bacon lardons. It makes a delightful brunch dish. Fry bacon lardons until crispy. Wash and gently dry mixed leaves and arrange on plates. Make a simple french vinaigrette with 3 parts olive oil to 1-2 parts vinegar, add a little mustard and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper (taste to see if it is balanced, if it is too acidic add more oil; if it is too bland, add more vinegar). Make the dressing a little more acidic than you like it as it will soften out when you add it to the salad. Dress the leaves lightly with the vinaigrette, add the bacon and toss, and top with a soft-boiled egg. Season with Maldon salt.

Recipe tip

If you can’t make a poached egg successfully, use a soft hard boiled egg in the recipe instead.

 

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