The Basted Egg: A Foolproof Play On The Poach : The Salt This week in Do Try This at Home, we learn an unusual technique for cooking eggs. It's a cross between poached and over easy that gives you a silky, yolky sauce for huevos rancheros.
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The Basted Egg: A Foolproof Play On The Poach

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The Basted Egg: A Foolproof Play On The Poach

The Basted Egg: A Foolproof Play On The Poach

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Preparing the perfect egg isn't easy - making sure it's not too dry, not to runny. Well, it turns out our very own Linda Wertheimer is really good at cooking eggs. Who knew? So for our summer series Do Try this At Home, Linda invited NPR's Andrew Limbong into her kitchen. And she showed him an easy trick to make sure you'll never start the morning off with a dry, rubbery, overcooked egg.

ANDREW LIMBONG, BYLINE: Linda Wertheimer grew up in Carlsbad, N.M., where she learned this technique from her mom going back generations. Now she cooks out of her home in Washington, D.C. in a compact kitchen with a small island in the center and cabinets around the sides. That's where she keeps her glass lids, which are going to come in handy. So let's take it from the top. Here's what you need, a pan...

LINDA WERTHEIMER, BYLINE: Lightly greased, about an eggshell's worth of water.

LIMBONG: And then the lid.

WERTHEIMER: Use a glass lid so you can watch it.

LIMBONG: Here's how it works. The pan goes on the stove. The egg goes in the pan.

WERTHEIMER: Here goes the egg.

(EGG CRACKING)

LIMBONG: Now, here's the trick. Pour that eggshell's worth of water right into the pan. Then, put the glass lid on so you can see what's happening. The water will steam the egg. And that's the difference.

WERTHEIMER: And when it's exactly ready, you can pop the lid off. So this is just, you know, (singing) da, da, da.

LIMBONG: Wait. But this isn't a good time to brush your teeth or making coffee or something 'cause you're looking for a pinkish film to just form over the yolk. And that's when you know it's done.

WERTHEIMER: (Singing) Ahh. That's not complicated (laughter).

LIMBONG: It's a delicate piece of protein.

WERTHEIMER: This is something between a fried egg and a poached egg.

LIMBONG: Asparagus might go great with these eggs. Or you can put it over toast, on a salad, eat it as is if that's your sort of thing. This might not win you any style points on "Top Chef." It's just a way of making the perfect egg without screwing up. You can also make an easy pivot to huevos rancheros.

WERTHEIMER: Now, my idea of huevos rancheros from growing up in New Mexico is an egg, some salsa and cheese on a tortilla. This is one-pot cooking.

LIMBONG: She starts over again to show us. Slightly brown your favorite brand of corn tortilla on both sides, and crack an egg on top of it.

(EGG CRACKING, SIZZLING)

WERTHEIMER: Now I'm going to put about two tablespoons of salsa in. I'm just using bottled salsa from the supermarket.

LIMBONG: This time, the salsa is steaming the egg instead of the water. So don't forget that lid. And wait again.

(EGG SIZZLING)

LIMBONG: You're looking for that same film over the yolk. And once you spot it, slide the whole thing onto a plate.

WERTHEIMER: Now, a proper egg - huevos rancheros - a proper huevo should have a little cheese, don't you think? This is just cheddar cheese. You could use Manchego. You could use anything.

LIMBONG: And that's kind of the beauty of this simple technique. Because the egg hits that sweet spot between over and undercooked, you can do whatever you want with it. Andrew Limbong, NPR News.

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