On Christmas morning breakfast should be fairly hands-off and immensely forgivable, which is why I usually favour a combination of out-of-a-tube cinnamon rolls and bacon or a bag of sausage biscuits from McDonald’s. I realise, however, that some red-blooded Americans need eggs to get their day going, even if that day is Dec. 25.
Traditionally cooked eggs — whether scrambled or poached — are not well-suited for chaotic mornings. In the pan, they can go from fluffy and creamy to rubbery and sulfury in a matter of moments — but using an immersion circulator gives you a lot leeway, time, and freedom. Leaving eggs in a precisely-controlled, circulating water bath won’t overcook them, or at least not for quite a long while, leaving you free to multi-task without fear of ruining breakfast.
Here are my four favourite ways to sous vide eggs, from simple soft scrambles to decadent Benedicts.
Sous-vide soft scrambled eggs
Soft scrambled eggs were one of the first dishes I made with my immersion circulator over five years ago, and I return to them again and again. This is a scramble for those who like their curds small and creamy. They’re so soft, they’re best served in a bowl, and they taste cheesy, even without any added cheese (though they do contain milk, cream, and butter).
You can scramble as many eggs as you desire in a single bag. Set your immersion circulator to 75°C and crack your eggs into a sealable container along with a tablespoon of cream, a tablespoon of milk, and a tablespoon of melted butter for every three eggs. Shake the mixture up hard to eliminate any white streaks (you can also hit them with an immersion blender).
Pour the eggs into a zipper top bag or vacuum bag, then submerge them in water, clipping the open end of the bag over the side of the tub. Cook until they are set, agitating the eggs by gently squeezing the bag every five minutes or so (on Christmas morning, assign this task to a teen or adult child). A three-egg batch takes 15 minutes, a six-egg batch takes 30, a dozen eggs will clock in at 40 minutes, and two dozen will take about an hour. Serve with oven-baked bacon (another hands-off breakfast superstar) and toast.
The easiest Benedict ever
There is nothing about a traditional, fussy Benedict that works with a busy Christmas morning, but poached eggs and hollandaise sauce are infinitely easier to prepare with an immersion circulator, especially because they cook at the same temperature for roughly the same amount of time.
I have prepared multiple hollandaise sauce recipes sous-vide, and all have turned out beautifully. The method is always the same: Add the hollandaise ingredients to a sealable freezer bag and place it in a 63°C-degree bath for an hour. Transfer the sauce to a blender (or use an immersion blender) and blend until emulsified. That’s it.
About 15 minutes into your sauce cooking, you can set a few whole eggs (still in their shells) in the bottom of the bath, and let them sous vide with the sauce for 45 minutes for an egg with a white that’s less set than traditional soft-boiled. Remove an egg from the bath, gently crack it open, slip it into a bowl, and carefully scoop it out with a slotted spoon, letting the loose, watery white fall away. To finish, bring a pot of water to a simmer, then decrease the heat until the bubbles cease forming. Slip your egg in there for a minute to let it finish, and drain. (Use a steamer basket if you’re making a whole bunch at once.) Transfer the egg onto an English muffin with ham or salmon, spoon the hollandaise sauce on top, and serve.
Better than Starbucks egg bites
This 50/50 mixture of egg and cottage cheese (with a little nutritional yeast) is way better than it has any right to be. It’s creamy, custardy, and slightly tangy, and you can make it yours with any mix-ins you desire (I like bacon and a little cheese).
The above video (or this blog) can show you how to do it, but it’s simply a matter of combining the ingredients, pouring the mixture into jars, then sous vide-ing everything for an hour at 76°C.
Egg and mashed potato parfaits
This recipe from Serious Eats is seriously charming. It makes use of cold, leftover mashed potatoes, which admittedly may make it better suited for the morning after Christmas, or as a hangover cure on New Year’s Day. No matter which morning you decide to consume these savoury little parfaits, be sure to serve them alongside crispy bacon or toast soldiers to add a textural counterpoint to the rich, lush combination of gently cooked egg and potato.
Bop over to SE to read the full recipe, but their method is simple: Scoop about half a cup of potatoes into a jar, crack an egg on top, and sous vide at 62°C for an hour. This is what you should do if you like a super soft, still kind of liquid-y white (it will finish cooking when you stir it into the hot potato).
It was, however a bit too soft for me. After an hour and a half of cooking these parfaits, there was still a pool of clear, uncooked white on top of the egg, so I upped the temperature to 75°C to firm things up. After 15 minutes at the higher temperature, I was left with the egg parfait you see above. The white was set but not rubbery, the yolk was just past runny, and the potato was warm and comforting. (If I were to make these again, I’d start at 75°C and cook until the white is just set, checking for doneness after the first half hour of cooking.)
Once your parfaits are warm and your eggs are set how you like them, remove the parfaits from the bath, dry the jars completely, and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately with crispy bacon, toast soldiers, and a crisp mimosa to help balance out the richness.