Liquid Center Egg - Modernist Cuisine

Liquid Center Egg

Recipe • April 5, 2012

The marbling technique is an adaptation of the traditional Chinese tea egg. We tested many different colors, knowing that we wanted to use vegetable dye so that the eggs were sure to be safe for consumption. After testing 12 different colors, we figured out that beet juice worked best. Other colors either weren’t bright enough or didn’t stick to the egg enough.

Then we tested to find the perfect way to serve a boiled egg with a liquid yolk. We wanted the yolk to be runny, so we had to keep it at that perfect silky texture, and at the same time, avoid the rubbery feel that egg whites sometimes get. Finally, we said, why don’t we boil it to set the white, and then cook it sous vide? But we still had to test many different times and temperatures after we created that process. This was before we had our Best Bets for Cooking Whole Eggs table (see page 4·78). Actually, because at that time it seemed like everyone was working with eggs in some way (Johnny was working on custards), we put all of our results together and that became the Best Bets table.

Anjana Shanker, Staff Chef, The Cooking Lab


Liquid Center Egg 6

MC duck egg We originally developed this recipe for our Oeufs en Meurette plated-dish recipe in volume 5. egg_beet_juice This recipe uses the same technique as traditional Chinese tea eggs to create a striking marbled effect.

Tips and Substitutions

  • We originally developed this recipe for our plated dish Oeufs en Meurette in volume 5, in which we use duck eggs and serve it with bacon chips, preserved cinnamon mushrooms, brioche toast, and a constructed red wine glaze.
  • To use duck eggs rather than chicken eggs, boil the eggs for 4 minutes in the first step.
  • For the video above, we plated the egg with lightly sautéed corn, black trumpet mushrooms, honji meiji mushrooms, red pearl onion petals, peeled English peas, pea tendrils and vines, finely chopped bacon, and radishes.
  • The reason we first boil the egg is to set the egg white. The egg white needs more heat to coagulate than the yolk does. After boiling, the egg white should be firm enough to peel.
  • The second step of cooking the egg in a sous vide bath is to cook the yolk, but keep it in a liquid state.
  • Eggs are likely to roll around and even break in a large sous vide bath. To avoid this, first place your eggs in a bowl or bag filled with water from the sous vide bath (this is essential to maintain temperature), and then gently set the receptacle into the bath.
  • Tap the eggs very gently so that the shell doesn't completely break. Remember, you want the juice to seep between the cracks but not underneath the pieces of shell. Try using the back of a spoon, as demonstrated in the video above.
  • It is possible to employ different colors, so long as you are using food-grade dye. As for using vegetable dye, this is the only one we have found to be bright enough for our liking.
  • Don't overcrowd your bowl when you place your eggs in the dye. The mere weight of stacking one on top of another is enough to damage them.
  • When it is finally time to peel your egg, do it underwater or under a running tap. This makes it easier to peel the eggs without damaging the egg white.
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