Thursday, November 3, 2011
A Writer Must Eat: The Perfect Hardboiled Egg
I know. You're thinking, there is no such thing as the perfect method for making hardboiled eggs. No, really. This is almost magical. I promise.
1. Take eggs out of refrigerator. It helps to have purchased the eggs a few days ahead of time. You don't want them super-fresh.
2. Fill a pot or pan with enough water so that eggs will be completely submerged--at least 1/2 inch over.
3. Put pan on medium heat.
4. Take a safety pin and poke a little hole through the narrow end of the egg's shell. Don't worry, shells are tough. You won't have a disaster if you're careful.
5. Cook water for 2-3 minutes on medium (depending on amount). When you put the eggs in, water should be hot, but not yet boiling.
6. Drop eggs, gently, one by one, into the water with a spoon. Water will be hot! (Ask me how I know.) You might see a little thread of egg white leak from a hole. Don't panic. This is normal.
7. Keep heat on medium or medium-high until water and eggs come to a full boil. Reduce to medium. Boil for 10 minutes, uncovered. (Do set a timer.)
8. After 10 minutes, remove from heat. Cover. Let sit for another 10 minutes.
9. After that 10 minutes, run cold water over the eggs (in the pan) in the sink for a minute or two. When pan is cool or lukewarm to the touch, drain out about 1/2 of the water.
10. Immediately add several handfuls or cupfuls of ice, so that eggs are once again covered. If the ice melts very quickly, add more.
11. Let eggs sit in ice water for a few minutes until they're nice and cold to the touch--about 10 minutes or so.
12. Remove eggs to a colander so they drain/dry. Brush off any bits of cooked egg white that might have leaked from the eggs.
Store eggs in refrigerator. I know that the Easter Bunny used to leave boiled eggs in baskets overnight, but she has revised her practices for health and safety reasons.
Peeling: This is the best part. Roll the egg around on the counter until it's all nice and crackly. Careful not to take out a big chunk when you start to peel. It's good to start on that narrow end--sometimes there's a little air pocket. Once you get started, the skin should come off easily.
Does this sound complicated? I promise that it's not, really. I adapted the recipe from Julia Child's The Way to Cook. She has you do two quick dips in ice water-filled bowls. It really does make you hang around and pay attention. But I found--accidentally--that the trick is putting the cold eggs into nearly-hot water. Don't know why it works.
Let me know if it works for you. If it doesn't, feel free to riff on what you've read here, and come back and share.
P.S. If you came by just for the egg recipe, I hope you'll poke around the blog, and maybe check out my books. Welcome! --Laura
**Photo by this guy.