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The chicken and the eggs, and a hard-boiled question

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While the sweeping egg recall continues to unfurl, and you consider not making the deviled eggs in today's food pages (which you shouldn't, because if you like deviled eggs, you will adore these), consider this: You get what you pay for.

Those cartons on sale for 99 cents a dozen at your local Giant-Shop-A-Lot supermarket were more than likely laid in a factory farm setting, by birds squashed together by the thousands, barely able to move. Does such a setting automatically mean the risk of salmonella infection is higher than if the birds were raised "cage-free" (which isn't quite as free as you might imagine)? Not necessarily, say experts. But for my money, I'd much rather have eggs from birds raised in small flocks -- the kind you find at a farmers market and smaller retailers and shops that source locally (like the Downtown Farmstand, 66 E. Randolph, where the above photo was taken) -- by people who know exactly what their birds have been up to and can tell you so.

And remember this: Keep your eggs refrigerated until ready to use. Cook your eggs thoroughly. And use pasteurized if you're really paranoid.

While we're on the subject: is there a secret to a perfectly hard-boiled egg? Sixteen chef Frank Brunacci shares his in today's guest chef column, but it differs from other theories I've read. The obsessive recipe testers at Cook's Illustrated magazine swear by bringing a pan of eggs to a boil, then removing the pan from the heat, covering and letting the eggs rest for 10 minutes. In Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything, it's a 9-minute rest. And then there's the all-important step of cooling the egg in ice water, which some advocate, and some don't.

Thoughts? Tips to share? Please post them -- and take care with your eggs.

photo courtesy Chicago's Downtown Farmstand

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Janet Rausa Fuller

Sun-Times Food editor Janet Rausa Fuller is always thinking about her next meal.



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This page contains a single entry by Janet Rausa Fuller published on August 25, 2010 4:18 PM.

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