Certain foods play a major role in cookery and the egg is one of them. It can be served as a main dish, as an accompaniment to other dishes or as an ingredient in a dish. Due to its versatility, the egg is considered a primary ingredient in culinary preparation, providing moisture, structure, and richness to a dish. It is also an emulsifier and an aerator when properly handled and used.
In cooking, the term `EGG’ refers to the oval ovum of a bird, used as food. There are many types of eggs, such as goose, duck and turkey. However, we are most concerned with the egg of the domesticated fowl called chicken. Recipes calling for egg normally means chicken egg unless otherwise specified.
A whole egg is made up of yolk, white and shell. A membrane lines the shell and forms an air cell at the large end of the shell. The yolk is centered in the shell by the Chalazae These are two white strands that are visible when the egg is broken. The shell or the outer covering of the egg, may be white or brown. Shell color has no effect on the quality, cooking properties or nutritive value of the egg. The breed of the bird determines color of the shell. Composed primarily of Calcium Carbonate, the shell is extremely fragile. It is porous, which allows it to breathe. The porous nature of the shell allows loss of moisture even if the shell is unbroken.
The egg white is the food and moisture source for the embryo in a fertilized egg. It accounts for 65% of the liquid weight of the egg. Egg white is made up of two parts. A thick white surrounds the yolk. Thinner, more liquid white is between the membrane and the thicker white. Albumin protein is the major component of the white. It also contains sulfur. The white is clear and soluble when raw. It is white and firm when coagulated. Albumin is the egg white valued by the cook and the baker for its ability to hold air when beaten. Beaten egg whites provide light fluffy texture for soufflés and light sponge cakes.
The yolk is the unfertilized embryo in the egg. Although normally yellow, the depth of color will vary with the feed of the hen. The yolk is high in fat and protein, and contains iron. The yolk is valued for the richness and texture it provides in both cooking and baking.
The most important rule of egg cookery is a very simple one: avoid high temperature and long cooking times. In other words, do not overcook. Eggs are largely proteins, so the principle of coagulation is important to consider. Eggs coagulate at the following temperatures.
Egg Whites: 140-149°F or 60-65°C
Egg Yolks : 144-148°F or 62-70°C
Note that the egg white coagulates before the yolk. That is why it is possible to cook the egg with a firm white but a runny yolk. As the temperature of coagulation is reached, the eggs change from semi liquid to solid, and they become opaque. If the temperature continues to rise, they become firmer. An overcooked egg is tough and rubbery. Low temperatures produce the best-cooked eggs.
SULFUR: The familiar blue ring that you have often seen in a boiled egg, is caused by cooking for extended periods at a high temperature. This is caused by the sulfur in the egg white, which combines with the iron in the egg yolk to form Ferrous Sulfide, a strong smelling compound that is deposited around the yolk. The best way to avoid this is to cook at low temperatures for the correct cooking time.
EGG FOAMS: Beaten Egg Whites are used to give lightness and rising power to soufflés, fluffy omelets, cakes and some pancakes. The following guidelines will help you handle beaten egg whites properly.
1. Fat inhibits foaming: When separating eggs, take care not to allow any yolk to be mixed with the white. Yolks contain fat and this will inhibit the foaming. Always use very clean equipment to beat egg whites.
2. Mild acids help foaming: A small amount of lemon juice or cream of tartar gives more volume and stability to beaten egg.
3. Egg Whites foam better at Room Temperature: Remove the eggs from the cooler or refrigerator about an hour before beating.
4. Do not over beat: Beaten egg whites should look moist and shiny. Over beaten eggs look dry and curdled. They have now lost their capacity as aerators.
5. Sugars make foams more stable: Adding some sugar to partially beaten egg whites will make the foam more stable. It will retain shape for a much longer period of time.
EGG SIZE CLASSIFICATION:
Jumbo 70 gms 850 gms/doz
Extra Large 60-65 gms 765 gms/doz
Large 55 gms 680 gms/doz
Medium 48 gms 595 gms/doz
Small 40 gms 510 gms/doz
Peewee 35 gms 425 gms/doz
- Fresh eggs or shell eggs
- Frozen eggs (whole, whites, yolks)
- Dried eggs ( whole, yolks and whites)
STORAGE AND HANDLING:
Protection of eggs is of great importance. When improperly handled, its properties as an ingredient and independent food item are greatly impaired. Eggs lose their qualities rapidly at room temperature. They should always be stored at 36-40°F. Eggs have porous shells which allow air to enter the shells. They should be stored away from food, which are strong smelling and which may pass on their odors.
Nutritionally, eggs are important. They contain vitamins A, D, E and K. The also contain some of the B-complex vitamins. The are high in Iron and provide 15% of the protein requirement of the body. Eggs are low in saturated fats and one egg provides approx. 80 calories. The major concern with egg is cholesterol. One large egg averages 213 mg of cholesterol. This is fairly high for people who have restricted diets. Using the egg white only is part of the solution as most of the cholesterol is concentrated in the yolk. The egg is unquestionably one of the best sources of food, yet it requires thought and consideration.
Egg is considered the most versatile ingredient to be used in the kitchen. On a separate sheet of paper, list the various uses of egg in cooking and baking.
- Egg is nature’s most perfect package of nutrition.
- It is naturally sealed, absolutely unadulterable.
- Egg protein is of the highest quality. It is used as a standard to measure the quality of any other protein food.
- Its biological value (96) is the highest, compared to other food.
- Egg contains carotenoids and Vitamin A – good for eyesight; Vitamin D and Calcium – good for strong teeth and bones; Vitamin E – good for glowing skin; and a wide range of other vitamins and minerals necessary for good health.
- Egg whites (albumen) is an antidote for certain toxins and prevents ulcers, enteritis, gastritis, diarrhea and dysentery.
- Carotenoid pigments present in egg yolk are natural anti oxidants which reduce the risk of cardio - vascular diseases
- Folate B Vitamin found in eggs play an important role in prevention of birth defects and cardio – vascular diseases
- Lutein and Zeaxanthin found in eggs significantly reduce the risk of cataracts and age related muscular degeneration.
- Eggs have a higher agglomeration of seven natural anti oxidants, which prevents premature aging, per oxidation, formation of plaques in the arteries, artheosclerosis and cardio – vascular diseases. They also help minimize memory loss and certain neurological disorders.
- Egg is easily digestible, good for all age groups. At Rs 25-30 per kilo, it is the cheapest source of animal protein.
- Egg is one of the most versatile foods. It can be cooked and enjoyed in umpteen exciting ways.
- Specific Pathogen Free (SPF) eggs are essential raw material for production of Human and Avian/Animal vaccines, as per the WHO guidelines.
- The per capita consumption of eggs in
- WHO has given Egg a 100 point rating as the best protein food for humans.
CONSOMME IS A CLARIFIED STOCK. However, when we define consommé, we forget its literal meaning, which is completed or concentrated. In other words, consommé is a strong, concentrated clarified stock. Rule number one for preparing a consommé is that the stock must be strong, rich and concentrated (full-bodied). Clarification is second in importance to strength. A good consommé with a mellow but full aroma and plenty of body from the natural gelatin that you can feel in your mouth, is one of the great pleasures of fine cuisine!
HOW CLARIFICATION WORKS:
Coagulation of proteins was an important subject in our discussion on stock making, because one of our major concerns was how to keep coagulated proteins from making the stock cloudy. Strangely enough, it is this same process of coagulation that enables us to clarify stock to perfect transparency. Remember some proteins especially that called albumin, will dissolvein cold water. When the water is heated, they gradually solidify or coagulate and rise to the surface. If we control this process very carefully, these proteins will collect all the tiny particles that cloud a stock and will carry them to the surface. The stock is then left perfectly clear. If, on the other hand, we are not careful, these proteins will break up as they coagulate and will cloud the liquid even more, just as they can do when we make stock.
The mixture that we use to clarify the stock is called the clearmeat or the clarification.
1. Lean minced meat is the major source of protein that enables the clearmeat to do its job. It also contributes towards the flavor of the consommé. It must be lean because fat is undesirable in a consommé as it will float on the surface after straining and give a greasy appearance to the soup. Beef shin and shank is the best cut to use as it is rice in albumin proteins as well as in flavor and gelatin, and it is very lean. Chicken meat should be used to clarify chicken stock and beef used for a beef consommé. Obviously, meat would not be used to clarify a fish stock! Although, ground fish meat could be used to clarify fish stock, often it is omitted altogether and only egg whites used in its place.
2. Egg whites are included in the clearmeat, because being mainly albumin; they greatly strengthen the clarifying power.
3. Mirepoix and other seasoning and flavoring ingredients are usually included because they add flavor to the finished consommé. They do not actually help in the clarification process except possibly to give solidity to the raft. The raft is the coagulated clearmeat floating in a solid mass on top of the consommé. The mirepoix must be cut into small pieces as it must float with the raft as well as the maximum exposed surface area will aid extraction of flavor and nutritive value. A larger amount of a particular vegetable may be added if a distinct flavor is called for, for example, celery flavored consommé.
4. Acidic ingredients like vinegar and tomato for beef and chicken consommé and lemon juice and white wine for fish consommé are added because the acidity helps with the coagulation process.
5. Seasoning and flavorings like salt, peppercorns and bayleaf are usually added.
PROCEDURE FOR PREPARING CONSOMME:
1. Start with a well flavored and cooled down stock. If the stock is weak, reduce it to concentrate, then allow to cool and then begin. Else, simmer the consommé longer than the recommended time.
2. Select a heavy stockpot.
3. Combine the clearmeat ingredients in the stockpot and mix vigorously. Mix in a small amount of water. This allows the proteins, which do the clarifying to dissolve out of the meat. Some chefs will disagree on the importance of this step and will omit it altogether ( the addition of the water, that is).
4. Gradually add the cool, degreased stock and mix well with the clearmeat. The stock needs to be cool so that it does not cook the proteins on contact. Mixing the clearmeat will distribute the proteins throughout the stock so that they can collect all the impurities more easily.
5. Set the pot over a full fire and allow it to heat, stirring gently. This prevents the proteins of the egg white from settling at the bottom and burning. Let it come to a boil.
6. As the stock heats up stop the stirring. As the stock comes to a boil, the clearmeat will rise to the surface as the raft and float on the top.
7. Reduce the fire to as low as possible so that the liquid maintains a slow simmer. Do not cover the vessel. Boiling would break up the raft and cloud the consommé. The same principle was used in stock making, remember?!
8. Simmer without disturbing the raft, for about half an hour to 45 minutes.
9. Strain the consommé carefully through a wet muslin cloth. Do not force the liquid through or press the raft. Or fine particles will seep through and cloud the consommé.
10. Degrease to remove all traces of fat from the surface. Use strips of brown paper to absorb traces of fat.
11. Adjust the seasoning.
1. Clarifying hot stock: if you do not have the time to cool the stock properly, at least cool it as much as you can. A cold water bath for even 10 minutes will be helpful. Then mix crushed ice cubes with the clearmeat before adding the stock. This will help to prevent the meat from coagulating when the stock hits it.
2. Clarifying without meat: In a pinch, you could clarify stock using egg whites alone. Use extra egg whites and a little mirepoix if possible. Make sure that the stock in this case is a good and concentrated one. Care must be taken in this case as the raft is a very fragile one and may tend to break easily. Egg white and mirepoix are often used alone to clarify fish stock.
3. Failed clarification: If the clarification process has failed because you allowed it to boil to long or for any other reason, it can still be rescued. Strain the consommé and allow it to cool as much as you can. Now slowly add it to a mixture of ice cubes and egg white. Carefully return the pan to a simmer and proceed with the clarification. However, the ice cubes will dilute the stock and this procedure must be used in emergencies only.
4. Poor color: Beef or Veal consommés made from a brown stock must be amber in color and not dark brown. Chicken consommé will be pale amber. To improve the color, add a drop of caramel after straining, or a cut and browned (on a griddle) slice of onion, before the clarification.
(Chicken/beef/veal/fish) 1 liter
Lean meat (suitable) 100 GMS
Onion 30 GMS
Carrot 30 GMS
Celery 20 GMS
Egg white 1-2
Vinegar/lemon juice/ 15 ml
wine (red or white)or
Tomato 20 gms
Peppercorn 4-6 nos.
Bayleaf 1 no
Salt a pinch
Find out the traditional garnishes of the following consommés and fill them out as in the first example.
Detach and submit by_October 19, 2009______________________.
1. Consommé julienne: chicken/veal consommé + neatly cut julienne of carrots, turnips and celery, simmered in stock.
2. Consommé brunoise:
3. Consommé paysanne:
4. Consommé royale:
5. Consommé celestine:
12. Consommé grimaldi:
13. Consommé italienne:
14. Consommé caroline:
15. Consommé doria:
16. Consommé jacqueline:
18. Consommé Florentine:
19. Consommé rejane:
20. Consommé zingara:
21. Consommé Xavier:
22. Consommé Printaniere:
23. Consommé vermicelli:
24. Double consommé:
25. Cold jellied consommé: