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The Runny Egg Yolk Experiment

Posted May 26 2013 1:38pm

“You know, we really should eat this bread today.  I made it a while ago.”  Dave pulled the bread keeper towards him and brandished the loaf in my direction.  There wasn’t much left, maybe one-fourth, but he was right – it had been sitting there for a while.

“French toast?  Um…maybe Toad in the Hole?”

Before he finished speaking, I was waving my hands at him in excitement.  “How did you know I was going to say that?!  Oh my God, I was totally going to suggest that!”  The weird thing is, we’ve never ever had Toad in the Hole for breakfast (or Egg in the Hole, or whatever else it’s called – where you cut a hole out of the middle of a piece of bread, warm some butter in a skillet, then crack an egg into the hole in the bread and let it cook on both sides).  Dave has talked about it before, so I assumed it was something he’s eaten in the past, and I’ve seen my mom make it (and seen it featured on Pioneer Woman’s cooking page).  But I’ve never had it in my life, and it was just so strange that we both happened to be thinking of it this morning.

Turns out that Dave has never made (or eaten) it either, which kind of shocked me.  It just totally seems like the kind of thing he would eat.  So I glanced quickly at Pioneer Woman’s page to make sure we had the right idea, we grabbed the biscuit cutter to cut the holes, and we had enough bread for me to have one slice and Dave to have two.  Then we discussed strategy.

“Now, I want you to cook mine long enough so the yolk isn’t runny.  Just leave it so that it cooks all the way through,” I instructed.  I’ve always been completely grossed out by a runny yolk.  Partly because it just looks like an uncooked egg, which makes me think salmonella.  Partly because the texture thing is just icky…you have this solid section and then a totally liquid section and ewww.  Dave knows this is one of my food quirks so he wasn’t surprised by my request.  He regularly makes fried eggs with runny yolk for himself and he knows if he’s making me an egg, I like it cooked all the way through.

He used the cast iron skillet which can be tricky temperature-wise – it really holds the heat once it gets hot and it’s easy to overcook things if you don’t turn the flame way down.  He started my bread and then cracked in the egg; I added some salt and pepper to the top and also tossed my circle of bread into the pan because I wanted it toasted too.  Dave shook his head at my ‘goofiness’ and then went to flip over my toast circle.  It was already dark brown on the one side, so he flipped my Toad in the Hole and started cursing because he thought it was overcooked.

He turned down the flame and kept cooking until things were starting to get a little smoky.  He was sure he’d burnt the second side (he didn’t) and started offering to make me another one, but I reassured him that it was fine.  It’s kind of like when you make that first pancake and it takes a while to get that groove going between a little too brown/burnt and just right.

So we sat down to eat, and as I cut into the middle of my egg, the yolk started oozing out.  It wasn’t like a gushing river, it was kind of thick, but it was definitely not set.  “Hey look, I have a runny yolk!”  I held up my plate for Dave to see.  I could see the look on his face; he thought I was going to start freaking out, and he was getting ready to apologize and say he’d make me another.  Before he could speak, I added, “I’m kind of excited…I’m going to try it!”

We watch a lot of cooking shows, and at some point almost all of them feature someone cutting into a poached egg and raving about the yolk as it runs all over the food it’s served with.  I’ve seen this enough times that it started to make me curious, wondering if I’ve been missing out on something amazing.  I wasn’t curious enough to deliberately make myself an egg with a runny yolk, but since I’d been accidentally presented with one I decided to make an adventure of it.

So I dipped my toast circle into the yolk, dragged it around and took a bite.  And it was good.  I mean, my eyes weren’t rolling up into my head in ecstasy, but I also wasn’t gagging and regretting my decision to be adventurous.  It was fine and pretty yummy, kind of like having a little gravy or something.  Not a gross, slimy texture the way I imagined it would be.  Not a super strong flavor, either – definitely nothing offensive.  I ate it all, happily, and gave Dave a high five over my “tried something new today” accomplishment.

I’m still a picky eater, but I’m slowly making advances.  On Mother’s Day we were at my mom’s for dinner, and she ordered a few pizzas.  Plain cheese for the kids; for the adults, she got one with half pepperoni and half sausage, and one with fresh spinach, mushrooms, Roma tomatoes and a mixture of mozzarella, Romano and cheddar cheese.  I had one piece from each of the ‘adult’ pizzas on my plate and my brother could not believe I was eating the spinach/mushroom/tomato pizza.  He’d been traumatized by my pickiness on family vacations, having to pull over and wait at Burger King or McDonald’s while they made me a plain hamburger because I wouldn’t eat one with anything other than ketchup.  (Actually, I still eat my hamburgers that way.)  The look on his face when I told him I actually like fresh tomato, spinach and mushrooms on my pizza (as well as onions, green peppers…pretty much anything but anchovies) was priceless!


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