Now that we’re into the sauces part of How To Eat there’s something that needs to be addressed before we go too much further – what to do with the leftover egg whites.
The hollandaise sauce and the forthcoming bearnaise sauce each use 3 yolks, while the mayonnaise uses 2. That’s a lot of egg whites I’m going to need to get creative about. Nigella, bless her little cotton socks, suggests freezing them in freezer bags – and helpfully reminds us that if we happen to forget to write on the bag how many yolks are within, a large frozen egg white weighs around 40g. There, pop that into the part of your brain that retains trivia like that. (For me it’s the section that also remembers song lyrics, boy bands and iconic TV advertising jingles.)
On the savoury front, while there are obviously egg-white omelettes to be made (yeah…nah), Chicken and Sweetcorn soup is a great way to use them (2 egg whites). One of my favourite party desserts – the Strawberry Cloud Cake – also uses 2 egg whites…along with a biscuit base, some strawberries, lemon juice and sugar. The love child of ice cream and mousse, it’s impressive, it’s pretty, it’s seriously easy to put together and, very importantly, it’s pink.
It’s also a piece of scientific mastery as these ingredients are whipped until they somehow become…
If you want to give this a try, you’ll find the recipe here…
Of course there are other recipes too, but for now, we’ll turn to, as Nigella suggests we should, meringues. Again, she’s helpful – for every egg white use 60g of caster sugar. Easy peasy. From here it’s the usual palaver with meringue making – whisk the egg whites until the peaks hold their form, and gradually add the sugar, whisking as you go until it’s thick and glossy. You can pipe them onto a tray and make them look pretty, but I used 2 teaspoons and formed little freeform blobs. These are then cooked for around 40 minutes in an oven pre-heated to 140C.
I froze some of the meringues for another time and crushed about 8 to make a lemon meringue ice cream. Yes, you heard right. Although this isn’t really an ice-cream, it’s a Nigella shortcut to an ice-cream. You whip 300ml cream until it’s quite stiff, fold in 110g Greek yoghurt and 160g lemon curd (shop bought is perfectly fine), and the zest and juice of 1 lemon. Stir through the smashed up meringues and pop the lot into the freezer.
It’s one of those ice creams that you need to take out of the freezer and soften in the fridge for about 40 mins before you eat it, but when you do? It’s tangy, fresh and the occasional crunchy and soft meringuy bits are a welcome surprise.
We do have some other egg white treats coming up, but for now, I’d like to know, what do you do with egg whites? Are you for or against the egg white omelette?
I’ve taken on the challenge of cooking my way through Nigella Lawson’s How To Eat. You can find other episodes here.