Are there recipes where using very fresh eggs makes an especially big difference?
March 19, 2008 12:49 PM   Subscribe

Of all the recipes that call for eggs, which are improved the most by using very fresh ones?

Someone who keeps chickens recently gave us 18 eggs straight out of the bird. They're beautiful, and I'm excited about eating them, but it seems like a shame just to scramble 'em or something — we can do that with eggs from the supermarket and they turn out fine. Are there recipes where having very fresh eggs makes an especially big difference?
posted by nebulawindphone to Food & Drink (19 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
poached eggs. They'll hold their shape a lot better when fresh and the whites are thicker.

I think simplest preparations are best when dealing with very fresh anything. A cake will taste more or less the same whether the eggs are an hour or a week old, but a very, very fresh, high-quality poached or fried or scrambled or soft-boiled egg is showstopping all by itself.
posted by peachfuzz at 12:55 PM on March 19, 2008

From anecdotal experience, I would say runny (like French-style runny) scrambled eggs from fresh eggs, with a hint of salt and pepper at the end, atop a piece of toasted sourdough, are perhaps among the very best breakfasts I have had. I like Ramsey's style of moving the pan on and off the stove to slowly and gently cook the egg.

Supermarket eggs are okay, but these were absolutely delicious, and scrambling didn't change that. That they were not completely cooked meant tasting more of the unique flavors of the egg and less of the congealed proteinous mess one can get from overcooking any given egg.

You might make vanilla or another lightly-flavored ice cream. In my experience, the type of eggs used make a huge difference in the outcome of homemade ice cream, both in texture and taste.

Along this line of thought, I suspect any recipe that calls for using an uncooked or undercooked yolk will get you most of the unique character from your farm-fresh eggs. Chocolate mousse is another example.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:03 PM on March 19, 2008

posted by fire&wings at 1:04 PM on March 19, 2008

oh, and hollandaise and mayonnaise are both all about the eggs.
posted by peachfuzz at 1:08 PM on March 19, 2008

Seconding Blazecock Pileon -- plain (or nearly plain) scrambled eggs was the very first thing that came to my mind.
posted by Perplexity at 1:08 PM on March 19, 2008

Yeah; the less processing and cooking the egg goes through and the fewer ingrediants you add, the more the freshness of the egg will matter. So a simple scrambled egg dish is actually the kind of thing you'd want to get the full impact of a really fresh egg. When you mix it up in something fancy with all kinds of fresh herbs and cheeses and such you're not going to notice the difference quite as much.

I'd make a nice omelette with a small amount of nice mushrooms (real mushrooms, not those generic crappy button mushrooms), red peppers, and onion. With fresh chives and just a touch of sour cream and salt. No cheese.
posted by Justinian at 1:26 PM on March 19, 2008

Yeah, scrambling and omelets are a good way to go. Poached eggs too, probably, though I can't vouch for them 'cause I don't like them. I'd say that frying them, sunny-side-up or something, is another really good bet. It's the yolks that are going to taste more intense, so you want to do what you can to preserve their character.

Honestly, I don't find a huge difference in the flavor of farm fresh. The yolks are definitely brighter if they've been free ranging and eating bugs/grass. But flavor-wise? They're maybe a little richer, but the difference isn't (to me) knock-you-over noticeable. I still feel better about eating them for a lot of other reasons, but in a blindfolded taste test I'm not sure that I'd be able to pick out farm eggs. Then again, eggs aren't my favorite food, so....

Also note that you don't ever want to hard-boil really fresh eggs. They're impossible to peel. Much better to use some that have been sitting around for a week or so.

** Minor expert. Owns chickens.
posted by mudpuppie at 1:35 PM on March 19, 2008

In his book "Heat," Bill Buford talks about an Italian chef who fails at a pasta making demonstration in the US, because the eggs weren't good enough.
posted by StickyCarpet at 1:47 PM on March 19, 2008

Fresh pasta.
posted by Shutter at 2:16 PM on March 19, 2008

If you're not against eating them raw you might make Sukiyaki , it's thinly sliced beef (and veggies) cooked in a soy based broth and then dipped in raw egg right before eating. It's the best, and fresh eggs are definitely richer tasting in this dish.
posted by Craig at 2:21 PM on March 19, 2008

Seconding mayonnaise. Never has the quality of an ingredient been so important to me as when making mayonnaise.
posted by furtive at 2:51 PM on March 19, 2008

Anything that calls for egg whites as a leavening will be much better too (as with poached eggs, the whites are firmer): meringues, souffles, true cakes (the kind with only eggs, butter, sugar, and flour, but no baking soda/pdr -- you whip the eggs and fold them in). Regarding the last, both Julia Child's book [Mastering v1] and Mark Bittman's [HtCE] have recipes which are simply HEAVEN with good ingredients but blah otherwise (make sure your butter is good).
posted by Westringia F. at 2:54 PM on March 19, 2008

If you make alfredo sauce with eggs, it'd probably go well with your fresh pasta.

I'll put a vote in for mayo too, with the proviso that you absolutely have to use good oil...nothing is nastier than mayo that's been made with oil that's even a little bit stale.
posted by Kreiger at 3:27 PM on March 19, 2008

nthing poached, sunny side up, over easy, over medium, or whatever else leaves the yolk runny.
posted by qvtqht at 4:14 PM on March 19, 2008

This pie. Oh my gods. It is absolutely divine. To die for. Heaven in a crust. You will swoon, guaranteed. Essentially a true French silk pie, it calls for uncooked eggs, and obviously, the fresher the better. I'd recommend cleaning the shells really well before breaking them open to eliminate any contamination from the outside of the eggs from possibly touching your other ingredients. But oh goodness, gracious, will your loved one love you even more if you make this. I made it twice in one week for my boo, it was so good. Fwiw I'm not affiliated with the person who posted that recipe either. It's just that good.
posted by cuddles.mcsnuggy at 5:14 PM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

I would make something that is heavily egg-based: creme brulee, creme anglaise (or the frozen version, ice cream!), pot de creme, meringue, etc. Something where much of the flavor comes from the egg, so you can really taste the difference.
posted by Bella Sebastian at 5:19 PM on March 19, 2008

Actually in my experience (originally passed to me as family cooking advice) you need somewhat older eggs for meringues (1-2 weeks old), especially "crispy" meringues. I once tried to make a pavlova (NZ/AUS meringue dessert) on a farm using fresh eggs, and it came out like rubber, when it should have been light and crisp. So don't make a meringue.
posted by chr1sb0y at 5:30 PM on March 19, 2008

Soft-boiled, especially with good quality bread to dip into the yolk.

Poached over salad.

Eggs benedict, for sure. (I don't bother with the spinach.)
posted by CiaoMela at 7:24 AM on March 20, 2008

Scrambled eggs, for sure. My grandma used to raise chickens in her yard, and when I was little I thought that she had some special way of preparing them because they were always the best tasting eggs I had ever eaten. She told me her "recipe" (you know, some olive oil, some salt, some pepper), and so I ran home to make them. I tried it many, many times and it never came out as good as when my grandmother made them- it took me a really long time to finally realize it was the eggs, the whole time.
The only other thing I can think of is perhaps pastry cream, like for eclairs, fruit tarts, or cream puffs. It requires a great deal of egg yolks, and fresh eggs might make a difference
posted by Oobidaius at 2:04 PM on March 20, 2008

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