She may not be able to tell you which came first, the chicken or the egg, but food writer Lisa Steele is an expert on everything else poultry related. Her new “Fresh Eggs Daily Cookbook” (Harper Horizon, $28) dishes on not just recipes — more than 100 of them — but common mistakes you may be making in the kitchen.
Here are five to avoid.
1 Using old eggs
Fresh eggs — no more than two to three weeks old — not only taste better, they’re easier to handle. That’s because both the egg white and the thin membrane holding the yolk together thin out as an egg ages. Old eggs result in wispy poached eggs or fried eggs whose yolks break in the pan. And because old eggs have more time for air to seep through the shell, your hard-boiled eggs may be easier to peel, but they’re likelier to have big dimples at one end, which makes for lopsided deviled eggs.
“Fresh eggs will peel perfectly,” Steele says, “if you steam them in a double boiler for 12 minutes, then put them into a bowl of ice water until they’re cool enough to handle.”
2 Using high heat
Eggs cook swiftly, so if you’re using high heat, your eggs will be dry and overcooked. Instead, cook them slowly over low heat and take the pan off the stove before they’re quite done. They should be barely set and still moist when they hit the plate, where they will continue to set.
3 Cracking eggs on a sharp edge
It may be tempting to crack your egg on the edge of a bowl or countertop, but you risk pushing eggshell shards into the egg. Instead, use a flat surface — like a cutting board.
4 Baking with cold eggs
Yes, cold eggs are much easier to separate, but then let the yolks and whites come to room temperature — 30 minutes should do it — before adding them to batter. Adding chilled eggs to cake or cookie batter will make the butter or other fats sixteen up or curdle. And cold egg whites, in particular, won’t whip or incorporate properly.
5 Tossing the extras
Angel food cake may strand you with unused yolks, while lemon curd leaves the whites behind. But don’t throw away those extras. Both egg whites and yolks freeze really well. (Freeze the whites as is; lightly whisk the yolks and add a pinch of salt so the texture doesn’t get weird.) Then use those leftovers later when you’re making meringue — 2 tablespoons equal 1 egg white — or Hollandaise (1 tablespoon equals a yolk).
— Adapted from Lisa Steele’s “Fresh Eggs Daily Cookbook” (Harper Horizon, 2022)