With Easter quickly approaching, and eggs hunts pending, a new product from Chef'sChoice grabbed my attention. The Model 810 Gourmet Egg Cooker.
My first reaction, as with most cooking appliances and gadgets, was: Do I really need this thing cluttering up my kitchen? I tend to be a bit of a Luddite when it comes to kitchen gear: My most beloved kitchenware consists of a few really good knives, some nice pots and pans, an OK stove, and a handful of useful utensils. I accomplish 98% of my cooking with those.
Still, I've heard from many people that they "can't even cook a hard-boiled egg." And I have to admit, mine tend to come out quite variable -- undercooked sometimes; overcooked on occasion, and often hard to peel, with a greenish tinge around the yolk. You know what I'm talking about.
And so, I decided to put my skepticism aside and take the Chef'sChoice Gourmet Egg Cooker ($39.99) out for a spin. I must admit, the results were impressive.
The Egg Cooker (I'm not sure what makes it "Gourmet") consists of four parts: the electric base, an egg rack, a poaching tray, and a lid. It's actually a very simple little unit, but versatile. It will cook eggs however you like 'em: soft, medium, hard, or in-between, and it also poaches eggs.
The egg rack holds up to seven eggs, and you can cook eggs to various hardness simultaneously in the same batch. With my first test-run of the Egg Cooker, I successfully cooked soft-boiled, medium-boiled and hard-boiled eggs in one batch. I won't bore you with the technicalities other than to say that the Cooker doesn't actually "boil" or "poach" eggs as you would do in a pan. Rather, it essentially steams the eggs, using less water and less energy (heat) than if you were cooking eggs on a stove.
Simply pour water (about 3/4 cup) into the base of the Egg Cooker, then put the egg rack (or poaching rack) in place, close the lid, set the controls to however you want your eggs cooked, switch on the power and wait. A beeper goes off when the eggs are cooked to the setting you chose.
You can tweak the settings to cook your eggs harder or more runny, but I found the factory presets to work just fine. Also, Chef'sChoice recommends using cold eggs from the fridge as a starting point. So, there's no need to let your eggs reach room temperature before cooking.
Tip: There's a hole in the lid which allows steam to escape. Resist the temptation to place your hand over the hole to see if the steam is really hot, like I did. It is.
The only criticism I have of this unit is that the poached eggs come out pear-shaped, not circular, due to the shape of the poaching tray. However, they turn out nicely poached, with no vinegar involved and you won't break them trying to get them out of a standard poaching pan. If you want your poached eggs a little less runny than shown here, just slide the cook control setting a tad further to the right to cook them a little longer. Also, a non-stick assist is required, either with a cooking spray or just good ol' butter.
So, without further ado, here are the results:
By the way, I achieved these results with standard, supermarket eggs that were at least a week old, not farm-fresh fancy eggs or anything like that.
In a nutshell, the Chef'sChoice Gourmet Egg Cooker is not an indispensable tool for your kitchen. However, if you have a little extra room on your kitchen counter and want to cook easy, perfect eggs every time, I highly recommend it.
Photos by Ted Scheffler