A few weeks ago I awoke to the thought of soft boiled eggs. Perhaps it was my anticipation of the return of Downton Abbey and all things British (including the fabulous array of egg cups to choose from–see below), or my stomach subconsiously telling me it was fed up with over easy. The only time I’ve ever eaten soft boiled eggs was at Le Pain Quotidien on the Upper West Side. I remember the Sunday quite fondly and felt thoroughly and equally sophisticated and satisfied while eating my softies and soldiers.
I rarely think to recreate at home what I enjoy while dining out, but when I awoke to the craving of softies on that early January Sunday I decided to make them mine. Now, I am not in the habit of making new year’s resolutions, but perhaps coincidentally, around that same time this year I decided to try on a new attitude: if I want to do something, I can make it happen. I no longer want to make up a million reasons why not to do it, and more importantly I no longer need to make it a bigger deal in my head than it is. It’s SO cliche, but I need to just do it. In my mind, soft boiled eggs were something only fancy people ate at home or what one orders at a snooty brunch spot. Who knows how I concocted such a silly notion but I decided to break it.
Turns out, softies are just hard boiled eggs cooked a few less minutes. I’m sure all of you already knew that but this was news to me. I searched the Google machine for soft boiled egg how-tos and used a recipe from theKitchn. Full disclosure, the first time I made them I half-followed the recipe and the eggs came out beautifully–custard-like whites and runny yolks, buttery rich and sweet. The second time around I followed the recipe to a tee and I wound up with hard boiled eggs. I live at 7,000 feet so boiling points are not on my side and I’m certain the first time was pure luck.
I find the trial and error an interesting exercise and I’ve been buying these wonderful eggs from Lucky’s Market called Chicken Track Eggs. Each crate of eggs comes with a code. I enter the code on ChickenTrackEggs.com and I can literally see photos of the farm my eggs came from and a story about the farmers. How’s that for transparency?
Here’s what you need and how to make the softies:
Toast, sliced length-wise
Egg cups (I used shot glasses because I have yet to indulge in proper egg cups)
Salt & pepper
Bring a pot of water to a boil, lower to a slow boil and gently place the eggs in the water with a slotted spoon. Cook the eggs for 5-7 minutes depending on how runny you wish the yolks to be. Remove from heat, rinse under cold water, and place on egg cups. Gently tap the top to break the shell, peel back, sprinkle with salt and pepper, then dip your toast soldiers inside.
Perhaps the infusion of sophistication in the flavor adds to the experience and if so, I’ll take a taste of that in my DIY softies.