Perfect Soft-Cooked Eggs

soft boiled eggThe last time I ate a soft-boiled egg was over 25 years ago when a particularly gooey drop of yolk decided to befriend my $150 Hermes tie.  Thanks to a botched job at the dry-cleaner, they have become inseparable friends and, as such, I decided then to give up both expensive ties and soft-boiled eggs.

Nevertheless, “Drama Queen” Abigail has insisted that I share a recent recipe that appeared on Cook’s Illustrated that explains how you “steam” rather than “cook” an egg to achieve a soft-cooked egg “that delivered a set white and a fluid yolk every time.” Before caving into Abigail’s request, I have decided to share the highlights of Cook’s Illustrated “science” required to achieve the perfect soft-cooked egg.

Science Class: According to America’s Test Kitchen, the traditional way of cooking soft-cooked eggs is to add eggs to boiling water. Sadly, this lowers the temperature of the water and makes for uneven cooking results depending on when eggs are added and how quickly the water reaches the boiling temperature again after each immersion. The folks at America’s test kitchen have found that “steaming” eggs in a small amount of water achieves consistently perfect results.  (Note to Langston: They probably don’t teach this in Texas as evolution is still not part of the school curriculum.  Langston, I too am still trying to figure out which came first:  The chicken or the egg?)

How to Cook Perfect Soft-Cooked Eggs

Note:  This recipe works for any number of eggs.  Use large eggs that have no cracks and are cold from the refrigerator.


  1. Bring 1/2 inch of water to a boil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat.  Using tongs (or better yet a steamer basket), gently place the refrigerated eggs into the boiling water.  The eggs will not be submerged.  Cover the saucepan and cook the eggs for 6 1/2 minutes.
  2. Remove cover, transfer saucepan to sink and place under cold running water for 30 seconds.  Remove eggs from pan and serve, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.


Note from International Travel Correspondent:    Sadly, I will be writing more frequently for our sister commercial website Gourmet Living which will soon be introducing its own line of balsamic vinegar from Modena, Italy to be followed by Mediterranean salts and olive oil.    For those more interested in food than theatrics, you may find something useful on the new site.  Cheers.

More Ramps: Ramps with Poached Eggs

bon appetit poached eggsThey say that getting to like ramps is an acquired taste, but for me it was love at first smell. Short of a nice cup of coffee, there is nothing better than the smell or ramps gently sautéing in butter in the kitchen. This delightful recipe for Ramps and Poached Eggs served over toast comes from a recent Bon Appétit.   The recipe is quoted in its entirety below, but just follow the hyperlinks and you can see how they do it on an embedded video:

Poached Eggs on Toast with Ramps


  • 1 pound ramps
  • ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 slices ½”-thick country-style bread
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 4 oz. fresh goat cheese, room temperature
  • Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)


  1. Cut dark-green leaves from ramps and slice crosswise 1” thick; slice bulbs and red stems crosswise ¼” thick.
  2. Heat butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add bulbs and stems, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring often, until beginning to soften, 5–8 minutes. Add tops and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 3 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, bring 2” water to a boil in a large saucepan; reduce heat so water is at a gentle simmer and add vinegar. Crack an egg into a small bowl, then gently slide egg into water. Repeat with remaining eggs, waiting until whites of eggs in water are opaque before adding the next egg (about 30 seconds apart). Poach until whites are set but yolks are still runny, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer eggs to paper towels as they are done.
  4. Toast bread, brush with 2 Tbsp. oil, and season with kosher salt. Spread toasts with goat cheese and top with ramps and eggs. Drizzle with more oil and season with sea salt and pepper.

Editor’s Note:  If you have issues with goat cheese, you can substitute it with something more to your liking, however, the goat cheese is a nice counter-balance to the ramps.  Also, we generally use Ezekiel bread which is lower in carbs and can generally be found in the frozen goods section at most Whole Foods.

Ramps and Gruyere Omelette

rampsI know for sure that Spring has arrived when I am served an omelette with ramps (wild baby leeks) and Gruyere cheese for breakfast.    Now, I have eaten hundreds of omelettes, but springtime ramps make all the difference in the world.  For those unfamiliar with ramps, they grow along the Atlantic seaboard from April through May.  

Generally hand-picked, ramps can generally be purchased in most specialty/organic groceries in the early part of Spring. They have a distinctive taste that is somewhat of a cross between a new onion and a mild garlic.  Found below is a rather ancient recipe from the New York Times for a ramps and Gruyère omelette.

Ramps and Gruyère Omelette

Ingredients (Serves 2)

  • 4 large eggs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbs of butter
  • 1/2 cup of chopped ramps
  • 1 ounce Gruyère, grated


  • Crack the eggs into a bowl, season with salt and pepper and beat lightly with a fork
  • Heat an omelette pan over medium heat and add the butter.
  • When the butter begins to sizzle add the chopped ramps and cook for 30 seconds or so until softened.
  • Pour the eggs into the pan and gently incorporate the ramps
  • As the eggs begin to set, tilt the pan and and lift the edges of the omelette to allow any of the uncooked egg to settle to the bottom of the pan.
  • Cook for another minute or so and sprinkle the grated Gruyère over the omelette
  • With a spatula, fold the omelette into thirds and tip the omelette onto a platter seam-side down
  • Serve immediately

Great way to kick off spring with this delicious omelette