Sunday, 23 October 2016

Eggs. Coddled? Coddled.

I first became aware of coddled eggs in the 1980s, when they were offered to a passenger in an Air Canada TV advert. The stewardess asks a business class flyer how he’d like his eggs.

"You can have them boiled, poached, fried or coddled," she says.
“Coddled?” he says, in wonder.
“Coddled,” she replies.
And that’s what he has.

I never really knew what they were, and thought that they might the same thing as oeufs en cocotte, eggs cooked with butter and cream in a ramekins, in a bain marie , as described here

Recently, on a visit to the antiques village in Battlesbridge, in Essex, I came across a pair of Royal Worcester egg coddlers, in a box, with instructions. Which I duly purchased.

It turns out that coddled eggs are not the same thing as ouefs en cocotte.

This is how you do it:

Fill a pan with enough water so that it comes up to the neck of the coddlers, and bring to the boil. Butter the coddlers, put an egg into each one, season with salt and pepper. I add extra butter. Screw the lid onto the coddlers. Lower them  into the pan, and simmer for 6 minutes, then remove them carefully.

Cooked gently in this way, the whites are just set, and the yolks are runny. The results are delicious, especially if you use good quality eggs. Eating them out of coddlers adds to the enjoyment.

We enjoyed them so much that we though we ought to get more coddlers, so that we could have 2 eggs each. Royal Worcester started making egg coddlers in the 1890s, but I'm not sure if they still produce them. However, they are easy to obtain online from eBay and Etsy, so we bought a few more.

According to Wikipedia, coddled eggs can also be prepared by pouring boiling water over the eggs and leaving them to stand for 10 minutes. This is in fact more or less the technique used in Singapore and Malaysia for half-boiled eggs, which are eaten for breakfast with soya sauce and buttered toast, as described here. It turns out that the eggs I had eaten for breakfast as a child were also coddled.

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