Eggs are one of the kitchen's most important
ingredients. From mayonnaise to meringues, soups to sauces, appetizers to
desserts, they are prominent on any menu. Today's consumer is well aware
of the potential for food borne illness through eggs, Therefore, we will
look first at basic rules for safe handling here.
All eggs in the shell should be free from
cracks, leaking or obvious holes.
Eggs should preferably be cooked to a
minimum of 165oF (74oC) to kill the salmonella
Any foods containing eggs must be kept
within safe temperatures throughout handling, cooking and storage.
The egg is composed of two parts : the white
and the yolk. Each is able to play a number of important culinary roles.
Whole eggs are used as the main component of many breakfast dishes and can
be prepared by scrambling, frying, poaching, baking or in custards. Eggs
are also used to glaze baked goods, and add nourishment, flavor and color.
Despite concerns over safe handling, the egg remains one of the most
adaptable and functional ingredients in the kitchen.
Eggs come in a number of sizes. Younger hen
produce smaller eggs, which are often regarded to be of a better quality
than larger eggs. Medium eggs are best for breakfast cookery, where the
cooked egg's appearance is important. large and extra-large eggs are
generally used for cooking and baking, where the whole egg's appearance is
The white consists almost exclusively of
protein and water. The protein is known as "albumen". Its ability to form
a relatively stable foam is crucial to the development of proper structure
in many recipes. They are a key ingredient in clarifying stocks and broths
to produce consommés. Egg whites may replace some of all of other binders
used in some forcemeats especially mousselines made from fish, poultry or
The yolk also has the ability to foam. This
function, plus its ability to form emulsions, make egg yolks crucial to
the preparation of items including mayonnaise, hollandaise and genoise.
Yolks are also responsible for providing additional richness to foods, as
when they are include as a liaison in sauces or soups. The yolk contains
protein and in addition, significant amounts of fats and a natural
emulsifier called lecithin.