Coddled: The Perfect Egg

“How would you like your eggs?” Now that’s not a simple question. Over-easy? No, that’d be too easy. Poached? No, that’s too much work, and then they’re too runny. Scrambled? Why not let a butcher come hack them to death!? No, I prefer my eggs coddled.

“What’s a coddled egg?” you ask.A coddled egg is perfection in a porcelain cup, an egg “treated in an indulgent and overprotective way,” delicately positioned and precisely brought to perfection by being cooked in water, right below its boiling point.  It is neither poached nor soft boiled, but a perfect medium by itself, dressed with a sparkle of truffle, atop a soft bed of greens, or simply as I have it most often, alongside toast and olive oil.  When prepared correctly consumption of the coddled egg is nearing a state of orgasmic bliss.

“Now, how do I get my eggs to this blissful state?” you ask. There is but one true method–the egg coddler.

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Now the egg coddler is true a mark of British ingenuity, a porcelain device created precisely for containing and cooking the egg.  The coddler was most likely invented by the Royal Worcester porcelain company that made dishes sometime 1890s, when they started producing it.  Now people hoard and collect them in a sort of occultish way. Whomever thought of this contraption deserves an award. Egg coddlers were never that popular in the US, but are available through antique stores and various shops. I got mine from this company, which keeps original replacements for dishes and various other items. But newer versions are also available on Amazon. Coddlers come in many different designs, and each one is quite unique, taking on a life of its own over time with age and usage. It takes trial and error to reach the perfect coddled state, but you’ll know it once you’ve found it. It’s like getting the perfect pitch in tuning, You find it and you just know.  I always start by dapping olive oil inside my egg coddler (rather than butter which overpowers the egg).  Then I add the egg, close the coddler and place it in a light saucepan over medium heat (atop a gas stove) for 11 minutes. Every stove top is different so it takes experimentation.

The Process:

(1) Start with an egg and some olive oil–Some folks like to use butter and heavy cream, but that seems to defeat the purpose of attaining a beautifully delicate egg and flavor:

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(2) Keep water just below boiling for app. 10 min (or until reaching that state of perfect, coddled bliss).

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(3) Remove and Serve

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