Easter is the first Spring holiday; a great day to celebrate the return of warm weather and to gather with family and friends for a delicious springtime meal, be it an eggstravagant breakfast or a special holiday dinner with baked hams or racks of lamb! This year we had a casual breakfast on Easter morning with Eggs – soft-boiled with runny yolks – not those gooey chocolatey Easter Eggs 🙂
Eggs, I think, are synonymous with Easter and are also symbolic of the Spring season, indicating brand new beginnings. This was an inspiration for me to create a breakfast menu with Eggs for Easter.
Eggs with Soldiers
(Soft-boiled Eggs with Whole-Wheat Toast Fingers)
Eggs with Soldiers – it’s the quintessential English breakfast! I was introduced to this and many more of the British culinary delicacies by a good friend and a bigtime foodie, Doreen. I met her a few years ago, when I spent the Summer of 2003 in the UK. Almost every other day during my stay in Rugeley, a quaint little town in the scenic English countryside, I would be over at Doreen’s for breakfast, lunch or dinner. She is very passionate about cooking and I am glad I got to try some of her signature concoctions.
Here’s a picture of me having breakfast with Doreen in her beautiful backyard garden on relaxed weekend morning when she made the Eggs with Soldiers for me!
Soft boiled eggs are commonly served for breakfast in England with buttered toasts cut up into thin strips, a.k.a “Soldiers”. The eggs are boiled for a very short period of time (exactly 4 minutes!) to a flowy – more liquid than solid – consistency. They have to be pretty runny so as to be able to dunk the soldiers in. The egg is cut off on top with a knife leaving a sharp, uneven shell around the barely set egg-white that holds the oozy yellow yolk inside it.
With a dash of salt and black pepper, the soft-boiled egg is perfect for the buttered toast strips to be dipped into!
2 eggs (I used jumbo sized organic brown eggs)
4 slices of bread of your choice, toasted, cut into 1 cm thin strips (I used Light Style Soft Wheat Bread)
butter (optional. I did not butter the toasts)
6-8 asparagus stems, ends trimmed
Fill a saucepan upto a third with cold water and bring it to a boil on medium-high heat. Use another shallow saucepan/large sautépan and boil water for asparagus, if using. After the water starts bubbling, gently drop the eggs, one by one, into it and cook them at a steady boil for exactly 4 minutes. At the same time cook the asparagus in the other saucepan for the same amount of time.
I have this special 4 min-egg timer for making perfectly soft-boiled eggs that Doreen gifted me along with the egg cups and tiny spoons (that I have used in the pictures above) to scoop out and eat the left over egg-whites and yolks after eating the soldiers.
While the eggs boil, toast the bread slices till golden brown and cut them into thin strips.
After 4 mins, take the eggs out of the water and hold them under running cold water for a min or so to stop the cooking process. Place them on egg cups and slowly slice the top of each one with the help of a knife by tapping on one side and gently sliding the knife through the top; the yolk should still be runny enough to dip the (toast or asparagus) soldiers in.
Sprinkle some salt and black pepper before dipping the soldiers in the yolks. Scoop out and eat the remaining yellow and white after you finish eating the soldiers with the yolk.
For our breakfast, I served some festive fruit cake and refreshing mango juice to go with the eggs. I also used some asparagus for soldiers along with the toast strips. Some other variations that might work well for soldiers would be baby carrots, breakfast sausages or bacon strips.