Right Tool for the Right Job
by: Lisa Henning
One of the things we seem to have a glorious abundance of here on the South Shore is fresh eggs. Thanks to our backyard farmers, neighbors and friends who care for handfuls (or more) of chickens, we have the luxury of driving down the street to purchase a dozen or two fresh eggs any time we like. I do this almost weekly, preferring the small green eggs from Arucauna hens because of their bright, orange-yellow yolks.
I l love eggs, their versatility, the way they stave up cakes and breads, add richness to sauces and airy goodness to mousses. Eggs are the go-to food for breakfast, and often the star of the brunch menu with wonderful add-ins at the omelet station. One of my first professional cooking gigs was actually that of omelet cook at an event, a job I took at a whim, thinking, “Hey, how hard can this be?”
After arriving and helping to set the stations, preparing my mise en place and getting the bacon cooked, I went over to the omelet tent (yes, it was a tent) and my two hot plates to prepare my station. My employer for the day had supplied me with two small omelet pans, which were not of the non-stick nature. Now, this should not have been an issue- but it was a crazy hot day and my burners were quite temperamental and uneven–turning out a beautiful omelet, despite my best test runs, was seeming impossible. In fact, it was worse than that, here I am at a very high-end function, with very high-end patrons and they seemed to have quite a hankering for omelets. I found my employer and let her know of my dilemma, and we scrounged around in the homeowner’s kitchen, for something, anything, that I could cook an omelet in without it looking like it had been through a war. We found two candidates. A small pot, and a 12-inch saute pan. Thus, the Pot Omelet was born. It was small in diameter, tall in flavor and height. It remains one of my favorite anecdotes to this day.
Which brings me to the point of all of this – eggs do seem to require a few tools to bring the best out of them. Can you make meringue without a whisk? Certainly not. While a non-stick pan (pot!) isn’t necessary for egg cookery, it really does alleviate some very unnecessary stress, and good luck trying to open and eat a soft boiled egg in the shell without some nifty egg scissors, egg cups and tiny spoons. Sure, it can be done. But why try? My egg supply arsenal has grown in the past year or so, at very little cost.
Since so many of our favorite local produce is out of season right now, take the time to enjoy the incredible, edible egg.
Lisa Henning is the Chef/Owner of Queen of Cuisine Personal Chef Service. She spends most of her time cooking, feeding her friends and clients and then blogging about it. Lisa also blogs at the Queen of Cuisine blog.