It all began, where so my many of my mis-adventures begin, with a pretty picture. Page 50 of the Williams Sonoma catalogue, Provence coddlers. Blue and white, with a matching teapot and cup, all on a silver tray. “…these porcelain coddlers make it easy to prepare perfect soft-cooked eggs for breakfast…” I thought it would make a nice Christmas gift for my friend. The picture certainly made it look like a lovely morning – isn’t that what we all want. A beautiful morning. Easy. And porcelain.
When we did our annual pre-Christmas sweep of Marshall’s I asked if she had ever had coddled eggs. Christmas recognizance begins.
Find recipes for coddled eggs at our web site the catalogue urged. Yes, indeed. But they were recipes using ramekins to coddle the eggs instead of coddlers and I noticed it took up to thirty minutes for this coddling thing to happen. I was not entirely certain that in my neighborhood that would pass as an easy breakfast.
I was not dissuaded. Unfortunately, when I called to order the egg coddlers they were sold out and I made the mistake of going to the Internet in search of other coddlers. Whereupon, I stumbled into Martha Stewart’s recipes for coddled eggs, which cooked the eggs on the stove top instead of the oven, reducing the cooking time to 5 minutes. I thought we might be approaching the outskirts of reality, but Martha complicated her coddling by lining the pan with a cloth. Martha all too often by passes easy.
Umm. Coddled eggs with ham. Or fresh herbs. Sounds delicious. Never mind that I’m a vegetarian. And for that matter, a sometime vegan who finds eggs a little iffy. Not only a lovely breakfast, but in my house this could pass for a little supper. I’m inspired. Excited even. About these coddled eggs.
Next I fell into the seemingly bottomless pit of – you guessed it- eggcoddlers.com. Who knew? Although, had we given it any thought at all we should have suspected as much. More than any one ever wanted to know about coddlers and coddling. They first posed and then answered the really important question:
Now we are leaving easy and simple in a cloud of dust and rushing headlong into complication and the bane of modern life, the need for authority.
I was just looking for a sweet little breakfast. Instead I wandered into the nasty terrain often hidden in the covers of Martha Stewart Living – COLLECTING. Which every woman knows means dusting. And more cleaning and care instructions than I would ever care to follow. I looked back at the catalogue – it had promised easy.
Finally, I track down egg coddlers at Sur La Table and buy out their entire stock, four sets of two each, because I now have a lot invested in egg coddlers. Standing at the counter a nice lady tells me about her coddlers, which she purchased many years ago in England. “Put them in boiling water for five minutes,” she says. Welcome back to easy. I am re-inspired, filled with hope for the lovely little breakfast, perhaps, some day even on the silver tray.
I have some question, however, about doing up the coddlers the night before. Wouldn’t the porcelain crack when you dropped the cold coddler into the boiling water? I think it might.
I was planning to give my friend two sets of coddlers so when her family visits, should she be motivated to coddle, she would have enough, but then I realized it wouldn’t be enough for the children. Would a child want a coddled egg? Let’s face it, if they thought they weren’t getting one, of course, they would. I trouble over this for a few days, thinking I could give her son a set of coddlers, but in order for this plan to work he would have to bring his coddlers any time he visited, assuming the whole family wanted to coddle. That’s pure folly, Molly.
I stumble back into simplicity when I find a web site for microwave coddlers. Acquiring them is not so easy since they come from England, $11 for the coddler and $39 to get it here. Too bad, I know this is the coddler my daughter would like. These people know how to keep their recipes easy. Although, I think since, according to Martha coddled eggs are worth 219 mgs of cholesterol, I would substitute olive oil for the “knob” of butter and only use one egg yolk.
I think it would go something like this: oil the egg coddler, add one egg plus one egg white, season with salt (and pepper if you’re into that sort of thing) and add some fresh herbs. Cook in boiling water 5-7 minutes.