Food preparation workers should follow the easy lessons below to make sure eggs are safe to eat.
- Clean - Wash hands, utensils, cutting boards and work surfaces often. Proper hand washing may eliminate nearly half of all cases of food-borne illness.
- Chill - Refrigerate/freeze food promptly. Cold temperatures can prevent the growth of most types of harmful bacteria. Keep your refrigerator at 40°F (4.4°C) or below to keep bacteria from growing and chill leftovers within 2 hours.
- Separate - Don’t cross-contaminate. Keep raw meat/poultry/seafood and their juices separate from one another and other food like eggs during storage and preparation.
- Cook - Cook meat, poultry and eggs to proper temperatures. Thorough cooking is an important step in making sure eggs are safe.
- Serve eggs and food prepared using eggs immediately after cooking, or refrigerate and use within three to four days.
- Serve all egg dishes within two hours of cooking.
- Cold egg dishes should be kept on ice.
- If a recipe calls for eggs at room temperature, immerse them in warm water for a few minutes.
- To prevent toughness, always use moderate heat and controlled cooking times for eggs.
- Don't eat cracked eggs or eggs that have been out of the refrigerator for more than two hours.
- For egg-containing dishes such as sauces and casseroles, cook until the centre of the mixture reaches 160°F (71°C).
The easiest way to tell if your eggs are fresh is by the Best Before Date on your egg carton, so it’s best to always keep your eggs stored in their original carton. Here are a few more simple ways to determine the freshness of your eggs:
- A fresh egg will sink in water while an older egg will float. As an egg ages, the size of the air cell inside increases, causing it to float.
- In a fresh egg, the yolk sits up high, and the white is thick and closely surrounds the yolk. An older egg has a flat yolk that breaks easily and a thin, watery white.
- To differentiate between hard-cooked eggs and raw eggs, simply spin them. A hard-cooked egg will spin longer than a raw egg. The liquid centre in a raw egg prevents it from building up enough momentum to keep turning.
- A cloudy egg white is a sign of freshness, not age. The cloudiness is the result of the high carbon dioxide content when the egg is laid.
- Keep eggs refrigerated until required.
- When ready to use, remove from refrigeration only those eggs that will be used within 1-2 hours. Do not store eggs beside the grill, range or any source of heat.
- Separate egg shells from their contents with care and immediately discard the egg shells.
- Do not thaw frozen eggs or egg products at room temperature. Thaw only in the refrigerator.
- Use defrosted eggs promptly. Refrigerate any unused portions and use within 3 days. (For more recommended usage times, click here.)
- Use reconstituted eggs immediately or refrigerate and use within one hour.
- Whenever possible, cook eggs individually and refrigerate or in small batches and serve immediately.
- If egg dishes must be prepared in advance, hold cold egg dishes below 40°F (4.4°C). Hot egg dishes must be held above 140°F (60°C) on appropriate equipment until served or refrigerated immediately and brought down to a temperature of 40F (4.4°C) or below within 4 hours. Hot egg dishes that have been refrigerated should be reheated at 165°F (74°C).
- Cook scrambled eggs in small batches of no more than 3 litres until no liquid egg is visible.
- Start fresh with a new steam table pan for each batch of eggs. Never add freshly cooked eggs to leftover eggs on the steam table.
- Partly cooked dishes (scrambled eggs, omelettes, soufflés etc.) should be cooked and served immediately. Mixtures used for these items should be kept refrigerated and the smallest practical batch size should be used.
- Always keep egg salad refrigerated. Mayonnaise based salads provide an ideal medium for bacterial growth. Keep ingredients for egg salad refrigerated until preparation time.
- For egg cooking, a good rule of thumb is that whole eggs should be cooked until the white and yolk are completely set.
Hard-cooked eggs are a great food to have on hand as they are so versatile. Not only are they delicious on their own, but they're great in sandwiches, chopped up on salads and are the foundation for the ever-popular devilled eggs with all their possible variations. The trick to great hard-cooked eggs is not over-cooking them, which can leave a grey ring around the yolk and make their textures a bit rubbery.
Directions: Place eggs in a single layer on the bottom of the pot and cover with cold water, an inch higher than the eggs. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
Once water boils, remove the pot from heat and let stand, covered, for 18 to 23 minutes. For a softer yolk, reduce the time to 3 to 4 minutes, and 11 to 12 minutes for a medium yolk.
When time is up, drain and immediately run cold water over the eggs until cooled or remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and place in an ice bath to stop cooking.
Tips: To peel a hard-cooked egg, crack the shell all over by tapping the egg on a hard surface, then roll the egg between your hands to loosen the shell. Begin peeling at the large end under running water to help remove the shell.
Hard-cooked eggs with the shell on stored in a sealed container will keep for 1 week in the fridge.
Fried eggs are usually thought of as diner breakfast face, but they're an easy way to add protein to all kinds of meals - salads, sandwiches, burgers or in a classic Huevos Rancheros. There are four basic styles of fried eggs - sunny-side-up, over-easy, over-medium, over-well - indicating the level of doneness.
Sunny-Side-Up: The egg is fried with the yolk up and is not flipped.
Over-Easy: The egg is flipped and the yolk is still runny.
Over-Medium: The egg is flipped and the yolk is only slightly runny.
Over-Well: The egg is flipped and the yolk is cooked hard.
Directions: Heat a fry pan over medium heat. Coat your pan with cooking spray or add butter or oil.
Crack an egg into a bowl (if frying multiple eggs, you can either crack them each into their own bowl or you can reuse the same bowl) and drop the egg gently into the pan. Season lightly with salt and pepper (optional).
Let the egg cook until the white is set and the edges begin to curl, about 3 to 4 minutes. For sunny-side-up, simply slide the egg onto a plate. For over-easy, over-medium or over-well eggs follow the next step.
Use a spatula to gently flip egg over, making sure it's under the yolk before you flip. Cook for about 30 seconds more for over-easy, 1 minute for over-medium and a minute and a half for over-well. Flip once more and slide onto a plate.
For higher volume locations: Where higher volumes of fried eggs are required quickly, a flat top grill is often used. We recommend that one portion of the grill is kept at a lower temperature than the areas used for cooking breakfast meats or grilled sandwiches so that eggs are cooked gently and not overdone.
Special feature menu items with fried eggs: Korean Bibimbap, Croque Madame; Huevos Rancheros, Fried Eggs with a Medley of Sweet Peppers; Shakshouka, Sunrise Burger topped with a fried egg; Avocado toast, topped with a fried egg.
Scrambled eggs are one of the most versatile breakfast dishes to prepare. They're delicious plain, garnished with finely chopped herbs, or dressed up with caramelized onion, sautéed mushrooms and/or grated cheese.
Directions: To prepare a single serving of scrambled eggs, crack two eggs into a bowl and whisk in milk. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.
Heat pan over medium heat. Coat your pan with cooking spray or add butter. Pour the eggs into the pan and reduce the heat to medium-low.
Gently move the eggs with a spatula, forming soft curds. For larger curds, let the eggs set a little longer. For smaller curds, stir more frequently. Continue stirring until there is no more liquid in the pan. Immediately remove eggs and serve.
Tip: Try adding a bit of your favourite shredded cheese or some chopped fresh herbs, such as chives, to your eggs just before serving.
For high volume locations: In residential settings such as University residences and Retirement Living Homes or for brunch buffet service, where larger quantities of scrambled eggs ar required for speed of service, eggs can be cooked in a compartment steamer. Lightly coat a 12 x 20 x 2" insert pan, pour in egg mixture and steam for 3 to 5 minutes at 5lbs pressure until desired consistency, stirring once during cooling.
Alternatively, cook the same mixture in an over at 350°F (175°C) for 20 minutes using the same sprayed pan. Transfer pan to the service line and serve within one hour.
If you want to upgrade your scrambled eggs, you can fold in any number of ingredients from fresh chopped herbs to cheese to lightly cooked vegetables. Just make sure that whatever ingredients you add are fully cooked (not wet) and incorporate them near the end of the cooking process.
Special feature Menu items with scrambled eggs: Crispy Breakfast Quesadilla; Easy Egg Tacos; Scrambled Eggs with smoked salmon and fresh dill; Flatbread with scrambled eggs
Caution: Pooling eggs, the practice of breaking large quantities of eggs together and holding before or after cooking greatly increases the risk of bacterial growth and contamination.
Poached eggs get an unfair reputation for being difficult to cook. The truth is, with proper technique and a little practice, poaching an egg is an easy way to turn a salad into a meal or a breakfast into a memorable occasion. Poached eggs are one of the most versatile ways to cook eggs. They make almost any dish a little fancier, and they're an easy, healthy way to start the day.
The main problem cooks find with poached eggs is that they create wispy, thin whites instead of a perfect round shape. Follow our step-by-step instructions and you'll get a perfect poached egg every time.
Directions: Fill a medium saucepan with 3 inches (8cm) of water and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, crack each egg into its own small bowl so they're ready to go when the water reached the right temperature.
When the water reaches a boil, reduce temperature to a gentle simmer. Holding the bowl just above the simmering water, gently slip the egg into the water. Drop in the second egg, keeping track of the order they went in. (The first egg in should be the first egg out.)
Gently keep the water moving with a spoon while the eggs cook.
Using a slotted spoon, remove the eggs after three minutes for soft-cooked or up to 5 minutes for a firmer yolk.
Place eggs on a paper towel-lined plate and season with salt and pepper if desired.
For high volume locations: Poached eggs can be held in an ice bath for up to an hour. When ready to serve, place already poached eggs in hot water until they are warm (about 45 seconds).
Special feature menu items with poached eggs: Canadiana Eggs Benedict; Salad Lyonnaise; Egg & Mushroom Tartine; French Frisée Salad with bacon and poached egg; Steamed asparagus with poached egg; Avocado toast topped with a poached egg
The omelette is one of the easiest and most inexpensive meals, and it works beautifully for breakfast, lunch or dinner. There are dozens of regional variations from around the world. The version that most of us are familiar with is the French omelette - slightly browned on the outside, creamy on the inside and filled with anything from simple hers to protein or vegetables and cheese.
There are an infinite number of variations on the simple omelette, and you can turn it from a quick breakfast to an elegant dinner with a few herbs and the right filling.
Directions: Using a whisk or a fork, beat the eggs and water together. Season with salt and pepper (optional). Be sure to incorporate the yolk and the white together well.
Heat a pan over medium-high heat. Coat your pan with cooking spray or add butter or oil.
Once the pan is hot, pour in the egg mixture. As the mixture sets around the edge of pan, use a spatula to gently push cooked portions towards the centre of pan. Tilt and rotate pan to allow uncooked egg to flow into empty spaces. When the surface of the egg looks moist but does not move when the pan is jiggled, it's ready for filling. Add your fillings sparingly.
Fold the omelette in half with a spatula and let the bottom brown slightly before sliding onto a plate. If you have any leftover filling, pour the rest on top of the omelette.
Tip: Make sure whatever you're filling your omelette with is already cooked, as it will not have time to cook in the pan. Use ingredients that are not going to produce a lot of water when warmed - wet ingredients, such as tomatoes, can create a watery filling.
For high volume locations: The flat top grill is often used in certain food service settings to quickly produce many omelettes in a short space of time. As with fried or scrambled eggs, a portion of the grill needs to be kept at a lower temperature so that the omelette does not overcook and the eggs become tough.
Special feature menu items with omelettes: Bacon, Leek & Potato Omelette; Apple & Sausage Omelette; Mexican Fiesta Omelette; Three cheese omelette; Indian Masala Omelette seasoned with Curry Powder and filled with onions, potatoes, tomatoes and chiles
This is a great way to provide your guests with exactly what they like in an omelette.
Why Omelettes anytime?
- Profit packed - low food cost and high selling price potential for made to order
- Highly efficient - time your omelette bar to promote brunch, light supper or after-theatre features
- Entertainment focussed - instant visual appear with fresh food presentation; personal interaction
- Perfect presentation - appealing to the senses through an attractive display
- Offer for a catering station and give the station a theme such as Local Seasonal or Caribbean or Green with appropriate ingredients and garnishes
- Counter area big enough to hold all the supplies OR a mobile heatproof table that can be set up as an interruption point in your facility
- One or two stand-alone electric cooktops or induction cookers with several 8" omelette pans or non-stick skillets
- Mixing bowls and forks to beat the eggs; high heat rubber spatulas for cooking
- Paper towels for wiping the pans; damp towel to wipe up any spills
- Refrigerated wells or ice pans with insert pans for the eggs and filling options; hot wells or chafing fish for side dishes; toaster to make toast accompaniment or if no space serve croissants or breakfast rolls
- Serving plates for the omelette and sides
- Prepare as many or as few fillings as you wish or have space for. For each omelette, in total add about 3 tbsp (45ml) of one or several fillings; avoid over stuffing or adding too many moist ingredients otherwise the omelette may tear coming out of the pan.
What to include in your omelette bar:
Ingredients: Whole shell eggs, egg whites, vegetable oil spray, butter or margarine
Seasonings: Salt, pepper, dry herbs, cayenne, chili powder, curry powder, minced garlic
Side dishes: Home fries, potato patties, potato pancakes, hash browns, toast or breakfast breads
Garnishes: Sliced tomatoes, sliced avocado, fresh herb sprigs, orange wedges, melon wedges, grapes
|Prepared Vegetables (lightly cooked)||Onions (raw/caramelized/green), mushrooms (raw/sautéed), red pepper (raw/roasted), green pepper, hot pepper, broccoli florets (blanched), zucchini, diced cooked potatoes, diced tomatoes, spinach (raw/sautéed)|
|Prepared Proteins (cooked and chopped)||Bacon (cooked crisp), ham, sausage (Italian/breakfast style), baby shrimp, prosciutto, smoked salmon, crabmeat, lobster, chorizo, smoked sausage|
|Cheeses (shredded or crumbled)||Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Swiss, Parmesan, Mozzarella, Feta, Blue, Manchego, Asiago|
|Fine herbs (washed and chopped)||Chives, parsley, basil, dill, cilantro, thyme, tarragon|
Simple (and delicious) flavour combination suggestions:
- Bacon, Monterey Jack cheese, chopped tomatoes, chopped fresh basil
- Sautéed zucchini, garlic, feta cheese, chopped chives, chopped basil
- Ham, chopped green pepper, sharp cheddar cheese
- Chives, baby shrimp, fresh dill, sautéed spinach
- Chorizo sausage, chopped tomatoes, green onions, Manchego cheese, cilantro
- Green chili peppers, white cheddar, green onions, cilantro, salsa
A frittata - derived from the Italian word fritta, meaning to fry - is an extremely versatile dish. It's fancy enough for fine-dining, hearty enough for breakfast and is the perfect way to use up leftover vegetables or proteins such as sausage, ham, chicken, shrimp etc.
The frittata is very similar to an omelette; the basic difference is the filling is mixed in with the egg instead of folded into the centre. Mostly cooked in the skillet, frittatas are finished in the oven, resulting in a puffy, slightly brown topped.
Directions: Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). In a large bowl, whisk eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Set aside.
Heat 1 tbsp (15mL) oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add chopped fillings. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Pour egg mixture into 10-inch (25cm) oven-proof, non-stick skillet with cooked fillings.
Place skillet in oven and bake until puffed, golden and set, about 25 minutes.
Loosen around the edge of the frittata with a knife. Cut into wedges and serve.
Tip: If the skillet is not oven-proof, simply wrap the handle with a double layer of aluminium foil.
Special feature menu items with frittatas: Asparagus Pepper and Feta Frittata; Cheeseburger Frittata, Pizza Frittata; Potato and Chorizo Frittata