It really doesn’t take much to cook an egg. This may sound strange coming from someone who told you, just last week, to boil your eggs for 10 minutes to make sure there were no gooey underdone spots at the center. But if you’re not trying to bring an egg to a state of hard boiled perfection, just to cook it enough that it’s good to eat, a few minutes and a lot of heat are all you need. Even just-cooked, drained pasta will have enough heat to cook an egg mixture like the one in this recipe (though I’d use more cheese). This is more of a lunch or light supper dish, but you could make the soup heartier with rice or noodles and quick-cooking vegetables, like shredded spinach.
Egg drop soup is one of those dishes that crop up in many cultures. This version, because of the Parmesan cheese, is more of a stracciatella than anything else. (Not to be confused with stracciatella ice cream, which is made by drizzling in melted chocolate.) The word means, roughly, “little shred” in Italian. Chinese egg drop soup is a little different.
Buwei Yang Chao, in How to Cook and Eat in Chinese, doesn’t give an egg drop soup recipe per se — her standby “soup for the gods” is made of water, soy sauce, sesame oil, and garlic or green onions. But a couple of her soup recipes include beaten eggs stirred in at the last minute. Other Chinese variations use pepper, ginger, garlic, and/or hot sauce to season egg drop soup. The U.S. Army has a recipe that calls for frozen egg whites, which get mixed up with cornstarch — but then, when you’re making 100 servings, you probably don’t have time to crack all the fresh eggs it would take.
- 1 (medium or large) egg
- 1 ½ cup chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
- In a small pot (this won’t work in the microwave), heat the broth to just boiling.
- Meanwhile, in a small container (a measuring cup works well), beat the egg.
- Mix the Parmesan cheese with the egg.
- Carefully stir the hot soup into a whirlpool.
- Slowly and carefully pour in the egg mixture, stirring it as it goes in.
- The egg will separate into shreds and cook almost instantly. When this happens, serve the soup, with chopped green onion if you want.