This was a totally fuss-free brunch: freshly made sourdough (toasted), crispy pancetta and a slowly cooked duck egg, with a few fresh chives snipped over the top.
A nice walk while the eggs were gently cooking in their water bath, returning to a perfectly cooked egg epitomises relaxed bliss!
Sous-vide at home!
I used the Andrew James sous-vide machine I was fortunate to have received several months ago, and it rapidly became one of my must-haves in the kitchen: very simple to use, you can get on and do other things while the food slowly cooks. My earlier post on the joys of sous-vide is here, along with my recipe for pork tenderloin on creamed leeks and chorizo.
Sous-vide machines are now more affordable for the home user: easily comparable with a food mixer! I use mine so often for such a variety of elements to my bakes and for general dishes that I have literally scores of recipes I have created waiting to be posted, with many more ideas scribbled down on paper to be tested out! If I am ever fortunate to get a cook book publishing deal……..
Sous-vide temperature and time for eggs
Ok, it might seem odd to slowly cook an egg in this way when you can poach or soft-boil an egg in moments, but the flavour and texture you get when it is slowly cooked is something else.
I have experimented with many types of eggs several times to get precisely the texture I like: a just-set white (not resembling mucus!) and a very soft yolk that slowly oozes when you cut into it……
I found the duck eggs cooked perfectly when the machine is set to 62C (144F) for between 45 minutes and a little longer. Once the machine comes to temperature, carefully place the eggs in the water (you don’t need to vacuum-pack them):
- at 45 minutes: the whites are just-set and you have a lovely runny yolk (as in the photos in this post)
- at an hour: the whites are just a little firmer but still soft; the yolks are thicker but not fully set: more like very soft butter
I cook hen eggs at the same temperature, but for between 35 minutes and 50 minutes.
The gentle shelling of the eggs
Once the eggs have cooked, you then remove them eggs from the water bath and carefully shell them while still warm if serving immediately. If you are going to serve the eggs cold, let them cool fully in their shells before peeling off the shells.