Have you noticed that people are very particular about their eggs? It mostly has to do with doneness: runny yolk vs. firm yolk, over easy vs. over hard, creamy scramble vs. firm curds. If we don't get our eggs just perfect, we declare them ruined (overcooked) or gross (undercooked.) This makes it a challenge to serve eggs to a crowd, such as at a brunch or breakfast party. How can you dish up eggs to a group without becoming a short-order cook?
Many brunch hosts resolve this by offering classic casseroles such as a strata where the eggs are baked with so many other delicious and distracting things that most people forget about their preferences. Other variations on this theme are quiche and fritatta. I've also recently seen two dishes of scrambled eggs passed at a breakfast party — one creamy and the other firm. And of course some people avoid the whole thing and skip eggs as altogether, perhaps sneaking them in with French toast.
For smaller groups, omelets are a good choice although you may have to be prepared for a bit of short-order cooking as some people like a creamy omelet and some don't. But since omelets are made to order anyway, that shouldn't be an issue. Also good for small groups are poaching eggs in advance for variations on eggs Benedict or baking them in the oven. In each case pull out some early for runny yolks and leave the rest in to firm up a little more.
As guests we can be helpful by acknowledging that our precise egg preferences probably aren't going to be met, especially if it's a large party, and gracefully accept what we are offered. If an egg is just too underdone for you, do your best to eat what you can or employ one of the many techniques for dealing with icky food
. The same goes for overdone eggs.
More Eggs for a Crowd:
• Brunch Recipe: Sweet Potato Hash with Sausage & Eggs
• Brunch for a Crowd? Poach Eggs Ahead of TIme
• Make Eggs in a Basket for a Crowd
• Feeding a Crowd: Fritatta Squares
• Mark Bittman's Baked Eggs with Tomato
• Help Me Make a St. Patrick's Day Brunch for a Big Crowd
• Baked Eggs with Creamy Polenta, Spinach & Garlic
• Quick Breakfast Recipe: Basic Oven Omelet
• Cheesy Potato Breakfast Casserole with Cheddar & Sun-Dried Tomatoes
• 10 Delicious Breakfast Casseroles
(Image: Sweet Potato Hash with Sausage and Eggs Faith Durand)