Eggs are among the most versatile ingredients used in both rich and sweet food preparations. In almost all varieties of international cuisine, these are used to establish flavor, texture and body not to mention nutrients to dishes. Cooked eggs can also be served as a dish in itself cooked in various ways like frying, poaching and boiling (soft and hard).
Here’s an abbreviated rundown on the most common usages of eggs in common cooking. Some applications make use of certain properties of eggs or their components. In others they function as a leading or secondary component furnishing nutrients, flavor and even coloring.
As eggs cook, the high amount of protein in the whites coagulates into a firm but not hard solid and this attribute is utilized to attach ingredients together in the case of burgers and meatloaf. Try omitting them from ground meat dishes and you may end up with a flavorful product but one that’s falling apart.
Eggs are used to clearing up liquids like stocks and clear soups. Egg whites softly beaten are mixed while cooking to get rid of impurities and produce a clear product.
Beaten whole eggs or just the whites can be used as a covering ingredient for deep and pan fried dishes. Merely flavor with a little salt and pepper and you can already make a simple coating for meat, chicken or fish. You may also choose to mix some other ingredients and/or additionally coat the food with breadcrumbs or flour.
Egg yolks hold ingredients in sauces together for a solid concoction of ingredients that do not commonly mix like oil and vinegar. They are also employed as a coagulant for savories such as thick soups and sweet dishes like custards. Be extra aware with the temperature and cooking time when preparing these items for a refined texture.
Lastly for dessert, eggs are oftentimes essential elements to cakes, pies and flans. Split from the yolks, egg whites when beaten to various grades of stiffness (soft, firm and stiff peaks) supply aeration to meringues and soufflés. A tip when beating whites: do not allow the teeniest piece of yolk, fat or oil to mix with the whites as it will impact the way it will foam up. Use a very clean dry mixing bowl and whip. Egg wash is an uncomplicated mixture of egg with water or milk which is brushed on top of baked goods before cooking to produce a golden brown color.
For ovo-vegetarians, eggs provide one of the most sizable sources of protein as well as other nutrients to an otherwise meat-, poultry- and seafood-free diet. Some even take in fertilized organic raw eggs as a sort of alternative treatment for some ailments.