This thing you should try: a 60-something degree egg


A 64-degree egg atop mushroom bruschetta at Drafting Table. (Alex Baldinger/The Washington Post) ((Animated GIF!))

Let’s talk about eggs for a moment. How do you like yours? If you’re a traditionalist, you might opt for scrambled. If you like a runny yolk, it has to be over-easy or sunny side up. A habitual bruncher would identify the poached variety, of Benedict fame. What, then, of the 64-degree egg? In fact, what is a 64-degree egg? And why are you introducing Celsius-to-Fahrenheit conversions into my egg options?

A 64-degree egg (that’s ~147 degrees Fahrenheit) is an egg cooked in an immersion circulator at a low-for-cooking temperature. Unlike a poached egg, where a soft boil solidifies the white along with some of the yolk, a 64-degree egg is more unctuous throughout. Depending on preparation — 63-degree eggs are also common — the white and yolk are cooked uniformingly (and minimally) all the way through; the whole thing jiggles lasciviously, threatening to rupture before you even pick up your fork.

What’s the payoff? Some kitchens use the 60-something degree technique because of how the barely-congealed eggs blend with and enrich pasta dishes: my first such sous vide egg was in Ardeo + Bardeo’s carbonara pasta; Vinoteca’s homemade linguine also shows a practical application of the trend.

Alexandria’s Bastille adds a 60-degree egg to its roasted mushroom and organic greens salad, while Drafting Table on 14th Street will top anything on its menu with a 64-degree egg for $1. (At Smith Commons, a 63-degree egg is a $4 brunch side.)

Flavor-wise, an egg is still an egg, and it’s hard for me to discern much difference between a sous vide egg split wide open and one that’s merely been cooked runny, though I do share the City Paper’s “eggs on everything” philosophy, and there’s nothing better than dipping bread in excess yolk, so I say bring it on.

But that’s just me. Is the 60-something degree egg appetizing to you, or is it a culinary affectation, like the egg lover’s oxford comma?

Read more from the Going Out Guide:

D.C.’s best weekday breakfasts

Alex Baldinger is editor of the Going Out Guide blog, which covers food, drink, arts, music, events and other curiosities in the D.C. area. He is forever in search of a great sandwich.
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