SUBSCRIBE NOW
As low as 99¢ for the first month
SUBSCRIBE NOW
As low as 99¢ for the first month

Nest sweet nest: Egg-in-a-nest sums up our quarantine feelings

Ari LeVaux
More Content Now
Daily Comet

Perhaps it’s because I empathize with the egg, caged like a bird in its own home. Or maybe it’s because I am feeling broody, like a hen with nothing to incubate, and so the image of the egg sitting so perfectly in its nest brings comfort. Or maybe it’s that my chickens started laying again, and it’s a delicious meal. Either way, egg-in-a-nest is the official dish of my 2020 house arrest.

Most of us have had the standard egg-in-a-nest for breakfast, where a piece of bread represents the nest. This can be a great meal, but as any spring robin will tell you, you can make a nest out of many materials. The most important thing is that the nest can absorb the yolk, when it’s finally broken.

I think a nest of ramen noodles looks pretty good. Sure, you’ve added egg to ramen before. But there are levels to this game. Getting the egg right is the hardest part.

I like my egg white cooked solid, but I want the yolk soft. If you want to overcook your egg to the consistency of rubber, or stir it in because you broke the yolk, that’s your business. But if you want a yolk on the verge of delicious breakdown, walls so thin they can barely contain the liquid yellow mass inside, you might want to give my method a try.

Choose the best

As far as I know, I’m the only person in the world who poaches an egg on top of a brick of ramen. It steams above the broth until the noodles cook a little and sink, along with the egg. But even then, the egg gets enough support from the noodles below to remain visible at about broth level, allowing you to monitor progress.

When the egg is done to your liking, drain the broth and serve it in a cup, alongside the poached egg in a noodle nest.

If only it were so simple. The crux of this operation comes down to keeping that squirrelly raw egg on top of the noodles, because it wants to slide off into the broth.

As with any dish, the road to success is paved with high-quality ingredients. In the case of egg-in-a-nest ramen, that means choosing the correct package of highly processed noodles and flavorings. There is a dizzying array of options online or at Asian supermarkets. My favorite is the Nongshim brand from South Korea. (A viable second is the venerable Japanese brand Sapporo Ichiban.)

Whatever package you choose, follow its printed directions and incorporate the tricks that I will outline below. May your nests be filled with perfectly cooked eggs.

Ramen rodeo

The only extra ingredients you will need are the egg, obviously, and perhaps some chopped herbs like parsley, cilantro or basil. And if you happen to have any homemade broth or stock, use it.

Pre-crack your egg into a bowl. This allows you to add the egg one-handed, and eliminates the possibility of a broken yolk. Your other hand, meanwhile, holds a spatula below the softening brick of noodles in a boiling pot.

With a flick of the wrist, invert the bowl so the egg slides atop the ramen raft, and let the bull ride begin. It never gets old.

The moment the egg lands on those noodles you must be ready with that spatula, raising the noodles in front of wherever the egg tries to run, and pinning the noodles against the side of the pot if necessary, trying not to steam yourself as you do what you can to keep the egg on top. After a moment the egg will solidify and stop trying to run. Turn down the heat to low.

As the egg approaches your prefered state of doneness, add the chopped herbs, if using, and turn off the heat. Cover the pot for a few minutes to steam the top, but be careful not to overcook. When cool enough to safely handle, gently pour the broth into a cup. This allows the noodles and egg to stop cooking, and to cool enough to be safely handled, while keeping the broth hot for sipping.

Then, slide the noodles onto a plate with the quivering egg perched on top.

Nothing says egg-in-a-nest more than a gently boiled egg upon a cushion of springy noodles. Poke the yolk so the rich yellow cream anoints the nest.