Crack open this cookbook: 'How to Boil an Egg'

You might think a book titled "How to Boil an Egg" would be more useful before Easter than on Easter.

But this classy March release from Phaidon has some different ideas for dishes you can make using hard-boiled eggs, something you might find yourself awash in today.

The book is a European one, written by Rose Carrarini, the co-founder of the Anglo-French bakery and restaurant Rose Bakery in Paris. Her first (2006) book -- "Breakfast, Lunch, Tea" -- shared recipes from the place.

While this one contains popular cafe recipes such as Rose Bakery Chocolate Mousse, the emphasis is on the wide variety of ways one can cook with eggs.

Hence the subtitle: "Poach One, Scramble One, Fry One, Bake One, Steam One."

Ms. Carrarini lays out "Tips, Techniques and Ingredients" that work with this "essential ingredient" and tells you how to properly cook eggs by themselves and as classic sauces.

Then she presents the recipes -- for breakfast, lunch and tea.

There are several from each chapter I'm looking forward to trying, including Eggs Baked in Dashi for an unusual Japanese-flavored breakfast, several also-Japanese Chawanmushi (savory custards "steamed in a tea bowl") and desserts such as classic Eton Mess.

But it's in the lunch chapter that I found several recipes using hard-boiled eggs. One is more memory than recipe, and so simple: Chopped eggs with just a touch of mayo -- she gives a recipe for that -- seasoned with salt and pepper and served open-faced on a slice of good bread with watercress on top. Recalling having one in Berkeley, she writes, "I can't think of a more satisfying light lunch."

She also gives a couple of recipes marrying hard-boiled eggs and curry, such as the Curried Egg Sandwich: "Curry spice and eggs is one of those marriages made in heaven."

In addition to the Cauliflower & Egg Curry Salad, she gives a recipe for Our Salad Nicoise, which can include any mix of cooked and raw vegetables with egg and olives; Egg Salad with Arame [Japanese seaweed] & Rice; and roasted Leek Vinaigrette with Eggs & Herbs, all of which creatively incorporate hard-boiled eggs.

I was drawn to a more simple salad, which I made with some lovely, springy arugula that I happened to have on hand.

While you may have more today than usual, most people often have eggs in the fridge. This is a great book of ideas for good things to do with them.

P.S. If you want to eat your hard-boiled Easter eggs, do so safely. The USDA says eggs shouldn't be out of the fridge for more than two hours. Lots of people push that, but you might want to hard-boil one batch for hiding and finding and another batch to eat.


PG tested

"The combination of hard-boiled eggs and watercress in sandwiches has always been my favourite," writes Rose Carrarini in her new book. "It must be something to do with the peppery hotness of watercress and the soft chalkiness of the eggs." She notes that if you can't get watercress, you can substitute another peppery green such as arugula, which is what I did. The "carton of mustard and cress" she calls for is a Euro thing, but it's basically sprouts, so I used a container of Trader Joe's pea shoots. You could use any sprouts you like.

  • 4 hard-boiled eggs

  • 4 large handfuls watercress or arugula

  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced

  • 1 carton of mustard and cress [or any sprouts]

  • Handfuls of croutons, preferably roasted in olive oil

  • For the vinaigrette

  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

  • 1 cup olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon clear honey

  • Ground black pepper

Mix together all the ingredients for the vinaigrette and set aside.

Shell and coarsely chop the eggs and put them into a large bowl with the watercress, scallions, mustard and cress and croutons.

Pour the dressing over the salad, toss lightly and serve immediately.

Do not leave the salad standing around once the dressing has been added.

-- "How to Boil An Egg" by Rose Carrarini (Phaidon, March 2013, $35)

Bob Batz Jr.: and 412-263-1930 and on Twitter @bobbatzjr.


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