Thursday, October 21, 2010

Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs

I make eggs a lot, as I'm sure I've mentioned. I've tried every variation of cooking eggs that you can think of. Some leave them undercooked, some end up overcooking them, but only one makes them perfect every time. Keep in mind this recipe was born and raised in CO, so it may not work for you low-landers.

Take some eggs. Put them in a pot. Cover with water. Cold or hot doesn't seem to matter but I tend to go with cold. If you want super amazing perfect eggs, you can prick the bottom of the shell with a sewing pin. That opens up the air pocket inside the shell, so the liquid can expand fully when the eggs cook. This gives them the full egg shape instead of the truncated shape your normally get with boiled eggs. it also releases the air so it doesn't have to expand inside the shell while it cooks, so you should theoretically get fewer broken eggs. I haven't done much experimenting with this, so I can't speak to it from personal experience.

Now, put your pot of eggs and water on the stove. turn to high until the water reaches a rolling boil. Turn down to medium high and set a timer for 15 minutes.

During this time, you can hang out, relax, read a book, etc. Often, I'll spend it getting my other ingredients ready (beets and pickling juice for pickled eggs, food processor and whatnot for deviled eggs, etc). You can also use this time to fill a bowl with ice water if you like. I used to do this until I stopped having ice, and now I don't. The eggs don't seem bothered.

When the timer goes off, pour off as much of the boiling water as you can. If you have a bowl of ice water, you can move the eggs over with a spoon or tongs or whatever. Otherwise, just start filling your pot up with cold water, letting it sit for a few seconds, and then pouring it off again. The water will pull the excess heat out of the eggs, which will stop them from cooking and will also shrink the albumen (so I'm told) which will make them easier to peel.

Once the water stays pretty cool after a few minutes of eggs sitting in it, you can just let them rest in there for a while. I'll often let them sit for another 10 minutes or more just to make sure they're cooled all the way through.

Now you peel. This should be significantly easier than you may be used to. Often the shells will come off in one or two large pieces. You'll still get a few stubborn ones now and again, but the majority should be nice and easy. To peel, if you haven't used the pin trick, the easiest way to to whack the egg lightly on the fat end. Since there's an air pocket there, it'll give you a good place to starting peeling. Whack on a flat surface, not the corner of anything. You don't want to drive shells into your eggs or anything. At this point, it's pretty basic. Just peel the eggs, rinse them off and put them in a bowl or whatever until you're ready to use them.

I used to cut open one or two at the beginning to make sure they were cooked because I was doing one of the other methods (the worst of which is to bring the water to a boil and then turn off the stove, letting the eggs cook for 10-20 minutes or whatever) and I often got undercooked eggs. I haven't had an issue with undercooked eggs since I started doing it this way, so I'm not in the habit of checking my yolks anymore.

So there you go. Finally, my full egg cooking method for all to see. Let me know if you have any questions or anything and I'll do my best to answer them. Thanks for reading!