English Comfort: Boiled Eggs & Soldiers

Healthy-ish Breakfast Comfort Food

Earlier in the week, my hubs and I lamented over England’s loss to Croatia in the World Cup semi-final. Instead of drowning our sorrows in the decidedly unhealthy chip butty (sandwich stuffed with fries), we opted for a healthy-ish British comfort food — boiled eggs and soldiers.

The important part is getting the boiled eggs just right so that you end up with gooey, runny yolk perfect for dipping soldiers (sliced toasts). As I typically boil 6 eggs (2 per person), the boiling time of large brown eggs clocks in at 6 minutes. If the eggs are left too long in the boiling water, they go hard. It’s best to be precise in timing your boiled eggs to get dippy yolk.

In scouring recipes online, I’ve seen a range of 5-7 minutes for boiling time depending on the number and size of eggs. Trial and error may be a factor in getting the eggs the way you want them.

Alternative to boiling eggs in a saucepan

One of the genius inventions that has helped us perfect the boiled egg is an Amazon best seller called the Dash Rapid Egg Cooker, which is currently available for $19.99 ($29.99 list price).

Behold the 6-egg capacity egg cooker

I had gifted it to my hubs as a Christmas gift (more for a laugh), but it’s gotten plenty of use. Boiled eggs and soldiers has become a staple weekend dish. And, it takes 10 minutes to make from prep to finish.

Really Short History 

Always curious about the origins of food, I inquired about the history of boiled eggs and soldiers, only to find that it has a short story. The mentions of “eggs with soldiers” only dates back to the flower power loving ’60s.

The dish may have become dishy during a series of 1965 TV commercials promoting eggs, starring British comedian Tony Hancock. Nicolas Freeling’s novel The Dresden Green published in 1966 mentioned “toast soldiers” used for dipping in soup.

While the history of boiled eggs and soldiers is short and somewhat ambiguous, the dish is fit for a Queen.

Eggs are Nutrient Rich

Eggs are a great source of protein, as well as selenium, vitamin D,B6,  B12, and minerals zinc, iron and copper. Eggs are also known for containing key nutrients such as betaine and choline, which is important for nursing and pregnant women, and essential for brain health. Since you’re boiling (and not frying up eggs in unnecessary oil or butter), you’ve got a heart healthy version of eggs.

Boiled Eggs with Soldiers
Here shown with dry toast (sans butter)

Brekkie fit for a royal

Ready to eat like a healthy-ish royal? You’ll need 6 large brown eggs (all about equal in size). It’s best to use eggs at room temperature. So, if you’ve taken the eggs out of the fridge, let them sit on the counter for 30 minutes.

If you use an appliance like the Dash Rapid Egg Cooker, just follow the instructions and it will give you perfect dippy eggs.

Boil water in a saucepan  (old school way)
If you don’t have a nifty egg cooker, then simply fill a saucepan with water (enough to completely submerge the eggs) and first bring the water to a boil.

Gently place eggs in boiling water
Then, carefully place the 6 refrigerated eggs into the boiling water using a ladle. Time it for approximately 6 minutes.

Toast and slice the bread
While the eggs are boiling, lightly butter the 6 slices of bread with some nice Kerrygold Irish butter. Then pop the slices of bread into the toaster (higher setting for crunchy soldiers). Each person gets two eggs and two toasts (sliced).

Once the toast is done, place on a cutting board and cut into even slices. Plate them up, along with the empty egg cups and teaspoon (or egg spoon). Crack some fresh black pepper over the toast soldiers.

Time’s up! Remove eggs
Don’t let the eggs linger in hot water. Once the timer goes off, immediately lift the eggs and place them each in an egg cup.

Crack and remove the egg shell pieces
Tap your egg spoon (or teaspoon) on the top of the egg and remove the shell pieces. Then spoon off the top of the egg and take that first bite.

Ingredients

Egg cups (to hold the eggs).
6 large brown eggs (equal in size)
6 slices of bread (gluten-free optional, Udi’s Delicious bread)
Irish butter (Kerrygold spreadable kind)
Cracked pepper
Salt to taste (optional)

Enjoying boiled eggs and soldiers with his eyes closed

With the runny egg yolk exposed, start dipping away with your toast soldier. Enjoy feeling regal and eating a healthy-ish breakfast of protein-rich eggs accompanied by gluten-free soldiers.

 

Need a healthy habit? Avocado Toast

By Vivian Lee

The Humble Avocado Toast

Avocado toast with a medium or soft boiled egg appeals to my Seussian sensibilities. I am picturing Green Eggs & Ham and substituting it with this heart healthy beauty. Why the obsession with the avocado toast? In its simplicity (and glory), this little meal is raw avocado smeared on perfectly browned toasts topped with a pinch of cracked pepper, seasoning, and a little drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. You can make your avocado toasts even daintier by cutting them into beautifully thin triangular toasts. Want to make an Instagram masterpiece? Amplify the composition of the avocado toast by going the extra gourmand mile.  But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s talk about why this is the perfect meal or snack.

Nutrient Dense

Avocados are a stone fruit. Yup, that big round stone in the center takes up precious real estate in an otherwise creamy fruit. It’s supposedly the only fruit that contains a healthy dose of MUFA (monounsaturated fatty acids), and not to be confused with that delightful muffaletta — a meat-lovers sandwich of Creole origins.  So I digress!

Avocados (as you probably read or have been told) are nutrient dense fruits and contain nearly 20 vitamins and minerals. You can toss out those vitamin supplements (I guess this is a subject for a future post). Much has been written about the humble avocado. Having read multiple books on nutrition, including Joel Furhman’s The End of Dieting: How to Live for Life, Forks over Knives, and How Not to Die by Michael Greger, there are some obvious conclusions on the benefits of avocado consumption done in moderation. While there is conflicting evidence-based research when it comes to the benefits and limits to avocado consumption, in its natural state not overladen with heavy guacamole (chip n’ dip) situations, it’s safe to say that you are doing your body good by having an avocado toast.

Blue Zone Approved

Dr. Greger on his NutritionFacts.org site validated claims that the avocado has anti-inflammatory effects and research showing that it can actually help to lower cholesterol and triglycerides. If you ever read Blue Zones by Dan Buettner, there is plenty of evidentiary literature that discusses the benefits of extra virgin olive oil as a healthy plant-based oil. A drizzle of that is Blue Zones approved.

If you’re concerned about weightier matters, then go sparingly on the olive oil and don’t overdo your avocado consumption just because of the stated health benefits. Moderation and lowering daily stress are key facilitators of healthier living. With our increasingly sedentary lifestyles and lack of regular daily physical activity, it’s even more critical to be mindful of what we put into our bodies.

The Good Egg

What about the eggs you say? Eggs are a great source of protein (in moderation please). The whites of the egg are said to be a great source of selenium, vitamin D, B6 and B12. And, you can find mineral composition of zinc, iron and copper. Eggs are good for the eyes as they contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which are helpful in combatting macular degeneration. Yep! As we age, our eyesight goes. Eggs are also sources of cholesterol, so don’t go creating a leaning tower of eggs on your toastie.

Avocado Toastie Recipe

Want to make your own avocado toastie? Pick two slices of your favorite toasting bread. I personally love the Udi’s Delicious Soft White (GF) bread for toasting. Set the toaster to a higher setting if you want a perfectly crunchy brown toast.

Make sure the avocado you use is nice and ripe. Slice into thin slices (or you can mash it up with a fork). All depends on your preference. Place the avocado slices on each of the toasts and take half of a boiled egg and place it on top. Then crack some fresh ground black pepper and throw a couple pinches of TJ’s seasoning salt. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil on top, and you’re good to go!

Ingredients

  • 2 slices of bread
  • 1/2 ripe avocado (thinly sliced)
  • Tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • Cracked black pepper
  • Pinches of Trader Joe’s Seasoning Salt (all-in-one savory mix of granulated onion and garlic, sea salt, paprika, celery seed, nutmeg, and dry mustard)
  • 1 boiled egg (soft or medium) optional. Halved for presentation.

Other avocado toast

BTW, this image was taken at The Press Cafe. But you get the gist. Avocado toasts are easy to make and consume. And if you want to fork out $6 or more, you can get a delicious avocado toast at one of your favorite local haunts.

Enjoy happy, healthy eating!