Cooking Eggs - Some Victorian Recipes
From 'The Dictionary of Daily Wants' - 1859
EGGS BOILED. The boiling of eggs demands a certain degree of care.
If they are brought from a cold place, and suddenly plunged into boiling water, they will
frequently break, and a large portion will often escape from the shell. When this
accident does occur, a little salt put into the water will prevent the further escape
of the egg from the fracture. In winter, eggs should be held for an instant over the
steam from the saucepan before they are laid in. When they are introduced into the
saucepan they should not be dropped in from the hand, but gently deposited by the aid of
a spoon. The time required for boiling eggs is regulated by the degree of firmness
required. Three minutes will boil them sufficiently for persons who like the
whites in a partially liquid state; four minutes will harden the whites only, and leave
the yolks still liquid, and five minntes and upwards will render both the yolk and white
hard. Eggs are frequently underdressed or overdressed through forgetfulness or
miscalculation. A certain way to avoid this ia to put the eggs into cold water, and by
the time the water boils, the eggs will be cooked to a medium degree. They may continue
boiling beyond this point to any stage of hardness desired.
EGGS BROILED. Lightly butter a small oval dish, upon which break two,
three, or more eggs without disturbing the yolks, season lightly with a little white
pepper and salt. Put a few small pieces of butter here and there upon them and then
place the dish in a small oven, where let it remain until the whites become set, but by no
means hard, and serve hot; if the oven is moderately hot the eggs will take about ten
minutes. They may also be cooked on a dish before the fire; turn it round now and then
until the eggs are regularly set.
EGGS BUTTERED. Beat up six eggs thoroughly in a basin; set two ounces of
fresh butter to melt in another basin placed in boiling water. Stir the eggs and butter
together; add pepper and salt, and a finely minced onion, if liked. Pour the mixture into
a small saucepan, and toss it over a slow fire for a few seconds, then pour it into a
large basin; and continue pouring it backwards and forwards several times, setting it on
the fire occasionally, and keeping it briskly agitated till it thickens. Serve on toast
or as an accompaniment to salt fish, or herrings.
EGGS COOKED WITHOUT BOILING. Put some boiling water into a large basin and
let it remain for a few seconds; then turn it out, lay in the eggs, and roll them over, to
take the chill off the shell, and to prevent their cracking. Pour upon the eggs boiling
water from the kettle, until they are completely immersed; cover the basin with a plate
instantly, and let it remain upon the table for twelve minutes; the eggs will then be
found to be perfectly cooked, free from all flavour and appearance of rawness, and yet
so lightly and delicately dressed, that persons will be tempted by them who cannot eat
eggs boiled in the usual way.
EGGS FRICASSEED. Boil eggs hard, take out a portion of the yolks whole,
cut the remainder into quarters with the whites. Make some good gravy boiling hot, put
in minced thyme and parsley, and add it to the eggs with a little grated nutmeg; shake
the whole up with a piece of butter until it is of the proper consistence. Garnish with
eggs boiled hard and chopped up fine.
EGGS FRIED. Have ready a frying-pan containing hot fat, drop the eggs in
separately, let. them fry for one minute, then drop some more hot fat over them; three
minutes will cook them. They do not require to be turned.
EGGS POACHED. Have water gently simmering in a stewpan, place in carefully
each egg, previously broken, with a cup, without disturbing the yolk; when the white is
coagulated, which it will be in fourteen minutes, the eggs will be done. They may be
served in various ways; on bread slightly toasted, or with spinach. In these cases, the
bread should be cut into squares, and an egg placed on each square. The spinach, after
being boiled, must be pressed, and cut into triangular pieces; upon one of each of which
an egg must be placed. Serve with melted butter.