How to Make the Perfect Egg Dish, Whether You’re a Beginner, Intermediate, or Expert Cook

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Eggs are one of the first foods many learn to make in the kitchen. (Right after boiling pasta.) Beloved by doctors and dietitians, eggs are a healthy food gem, full of protein, healthy fats, and iron. There are also a whole slew of ways to cook them: hard boiled, scrambled, fried, baked, poached, etc. But some cooking methods are easier to crack (sorry, not sorry) than others.

One healthy chef who has not only mastered them all but made a career of it is Egg Shop chef Nick Korbee. Egg Shop—which has two locations in New York City—is the go-to destination for those seeking both familiar egg dishes or something more experimental. Here, Korbee shares three of Egg Shop's beloved recipes with insider cooking tips. No matter how experienced of a cook you are, you're bound to have fun in the kitchen whipping one of these dishes up—and even more fun eating it.

Keep reading to see how to make the perfect egg dish, no matter your skill level

scrambled eggs

Beginner egg dish: scrambled eggs

"The secret to making incredibly soft, fluffy scrambled eggs is not using high heat, constant movement, and incorporating a healthy fat for texture," Korbee says. The last point is where the ricotta comes in, which Korbee says gives this scrambled egg dish its velvety consistency. "Ricotta, when warmed, has the ideal texture for scrambled eggs. It's a mild counterpoint that adds richness," Korbee says. (If you're not into ricotta, he says other healthy fats such as butter, ghee, or coconut oil work well, too.)

To punch up the flavor, Korbee adds finely grated pecorino cheese, a pinch of red chili flakes, chives, and sea salt. At Egg Shop, it's served on top of thick sourdough bread (the bread of choice for many healthy eating experts), but these eggs are delicious on their own, too.

Ricotta scramble

Makes 2 servings

4 organic eggs
2 Tbsp ricotta cheese
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 oz pecorino cheese finely grated
1 Tbsp finely sliced chives
Pinch sea salt
Pinch red chili flakes
1 tsp white truffle oil
0.5 oz arugula sprouts
2 thick slices rustic sourdough toast

1. Whisk together the eggs and olive oil and strain them through a fine mesh strainer, if available, or just be careful to remove any shells.

2. Heat medium-sized non-stick pan over medium low heat.

3. Add the eggs to the pan and stir with a heatproof spatula until the eggs begin to set.

4. Remove the pan from the heat and fold in the ricotta cheese and season with a pinch of salt.

5. Return the eggs and ricotta cheese to the pan and cook gently until the eggs are set to you desired consistency. (Korbee prefers his very soft, creamy and nearly pourable.)

6. Top the prepared sourdough toast with the eggs and garnish with pecorino, truffle oil, chili flakes, chives, and arugula sprouts.

egg shop hard boiled eggs

Intermediate: hard boiled eggs

Mastered scrambled eggs? You're ready for Korbee's next egg dish: hard boiled eggs with salmon, ricotta (yep, again), capers, pickled onion, chives, and arugula sprouts. While hard boiling eggs may sound easy, Korbee says a lot of people screw it up because they don't know exactly how long the eggs should be submerged in the boiling water. "The biggest thing with hard boiled eggs is to cool them down and not overcook them," he says. The trick to nailing it, Korbee says, is prepping an ice bath for your eggs in a bowl while the eggs are boiling. "Don't cheat by just putting a cold bowl of water next to the boiling pot; actually add ice to it so the eggs can cool down very quickly to prevent overcooking," he says.

Korbee says your cook time depends on how you plan to use the eggs. If you plan on making deviled eggs, for example, he recommends a cook time of 12 minutes. But for this recipe (where you're essentially eating the hard boiled eggs as they are), he suggests a cook time closer to 10 minutes to prevent an overcooked, chalky yolk.

Ricotta pops up again in this recipe, but this time, Korbee says it's used for taste, not texture. "This dish is sort of like a deconstructed take on a bagel, lox, and cream cheese, so the ricotta is used as a healthier stand in for the cream cheese," he says. Is your mouth watering yet? Check out the recipe below:

"Fish out of water" bowl

Makes 1 bowl

1 organic egg hard boiled
3 oz. smoked salmon
1 Tbsp ricotta cheese
8 slices English cucumber
1/4 red onion finely sliced
1/2 lemon’s juice
Pinch sea salt
Cracked black pepper
1 tsp finely minced chives
.25 oz arugula sprouts
2 pieces seeded sourdough or other seeded bread well toasted

1. To prepare a perfect hard boiled egg, bring enough water to cover the egg by one inch to a rolling boil in small sauce pan. Prepare an ice bath while the water boils. When the water is boiling, gently lower the egg into the water. Start a timer for 10 minutes. Remove egg to ice bath when the time sounds, and allow to cool while you prepare the other ingredients.

2. Slice the cucumber and red onion. Combine them and season with salt and the juice of half  a lemon.

3. Place one tablespoon of ricotta cheese in a medium sized bowl, layered with smoked salmon, and then the cucumber-onion salad.

4. Carefully peel the hardboiled egg and slice in half. (To peel, Korbee gives the egg a light roll on a the counter top to crack the shell and then peels under lukewarm running water.)

5. Add the egg to the bowl and garnish with chives, arugula sprouts, and fresh cracked pepper. Add toast to complete the dish.

egg shop poached eggs

Advanced: poached eggs

If you cook a lot already, you're ready for the most difficult egg cooking method: poaching. "The trick with poaching is not to be afraid of getting too close to the water," Korbee says. "You want the water to be moving when you release the egg into it, which means that it either needs to be boiling or very hot. But if you shy away from the water and high dive the egg in there to save your fingertips, the white separates, the yolk crawls out, and you end up with a web of coagulated egg whites, which no one wants." The key is releasing the egg really close to the water—without burning your fingertips. (Told you poaching was for egg-perts.)

The other trick to poaching eggs perfectly, Korbee says, is adding a bit of acid, which he does using white vinegar. "That helps set the egg as it touches the water," he says. When taking the egg out of the boiling water, Korbee says not to be afraid to touch it to see if it's done. "They're less delicate than you think," he says.

For this dish, Korbee pairs poached eggs with a tomato-based sauce and anchovies for an Italian-style dish. "People tend to shy away from anchovies, thinking they are the ultimate fishy fish, but I find them to have a very salty umami flavor that goes well with tomato-based sauces," he says. Plus, those little guys are packed with omega-3s.

Poached egg Arrabbiata

Makes 1 serving

2 organic eggs poached
2 Tbsp white vinegar 
Pinch sea salt 
1 thick slice rustic sourdough
1 cup Arrabbiata sauce (prepared)
3 anchovy filet
1 Tbsp capers
Pinch red chili flakes 
0.5 oz pecorino cheese finely grated

1. Heat the Arrabbiata sauce in a small sauté pan, add sourdough bread, and simmer about two minutes.

2. To poach two eggs: Bring three cups of water to rolling boil in a medium sauce pan and add vinegar and salt. Crack the eggs, releasing them one at a time into the water as close to the surface as possible. Once the whites begin to set, give the water a very gentle stir.

3. After about two minutes use a slotted spoon to gently lift an egg to the surface. Wiggle or poke the eggs with your finger to check for doneness. Remember, a perfect poach has a fully set white and a liquid yolk.

4. Remove the sauce and bread to a medium sized bowl, add capers and anchovies.

5. Top the toast with the eggs and garnish with pecorino and a pinch of chili flakes.

Check out the video below to see why this registered dietitian *loves* eggs:

For more healthy breakfast ideas, check out these upgraded oatmeal recipes. And join Well+Good's Cook With Us Facebook group for more healthy cooking ideas and tips.

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