Saturday, March 28, 2015

My Eggsalent Adventure

I have a confession. I never knew how to boil an egg.
Sure, I would draw water over a pile of eggs in a pan, bring it to a boil, turn off the heat and let them cook in the ambient heat so that each egg was pure yellow (or gold) in the center with no hint of grey or green. The fail was in the peeling. Every time I would lose most of the egg white with the shell. Soaking in ice water, pricking shells, adding baking soda.. I tried it all. Still, to get half a dozen pretty looking eggs for say, deviled eggs, I would have to boil a dozen, and even the presentable ones would have mars to the white. I had about given up.
Then, one night, while re-watching The French Chef, I saw Julia Child prick the large end of an egg before boiling to prevent the eggs from spilling out if there were microscopic cracks in the egg shell. One of the main reasons for starting eggs in cold water is to prevent that from happening. She did a semi, not really, scientific experiment to show that pricking the egg does help the tension of the expanding, cooking egg, and seemed to prevent the spill out that sometimes happens.
I took it to the next level. My understanding of eggs, though limited in a scientific sense, was that sharp temperature changes are key to making the shell loose enough so that the inner membrane doesn't stick to the egg white. What if I started it in hot water? What if I used the pin prick technique in order to be able to reliably start the eggs with boiling water. Would that help? Indeed it did! A few dozen eggs later, and different types of eggs, I was convinced I had found the answer. What I do not have is access to super fresh eggs. I have used farm fresh eggs, but I am fairly certain they still sat around for a little while.
Now I boil eggs just for the joy of peeling them so effortlessly. They do literally fall right off if you follow this procedure. I would appreciate a shout out if it also works on those seriously fresh, straight out of the chicken, eggs.

How to Hard Boil and Peel an Egg

Gently prick a hole in the large end of each egg. It is better to do it while you are holding the egg. This way could get you some broken eggs.

All four poked

Place in a large saucepan

The egg with the "X" on it was not pierced. See what happens when I pour boiling water over them?

Carefully pour out the hot water after 10 minutes

Smash the eggs around a bit to crack the shells

Run cold water over them. Fresher eggs should sit in the water a few minutes. These are regular eggs, so I could peel them immediately.

Peel the eggs. Watch the video below and be amazed.

This is the egg I did not pierce first. It peeled easy though.

All done, the one in the upper left is the non pierced one.

Perfectly cooked. If you prefer them a little more done, leave to cook for an additional 2 minutes. I like them just barely cooked hard. So good with a dab of butter!

Here is the video my daughter took of me peeling one of the eggs. It just slips right off!

Now that you can boil eggs perfectly, why not try your hand at these little cutie pies this Spring? 

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