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09/07/2010

~ A Little Thing Called: Boiling Eggs (Hard-Cooked) ~

IMG_6257A few days ago I ordered a chef's salad for my mother-in-law.  Not just any chef's salad, one from her favorite place, just the way she likes it:  balsamic vinaigrette, extra-turkey and an extra hard-cooked egg.  Sounds simple enough.  Apparently not.  The salad arrived and upon my first glimpse through the clear plastic top of the container I saw:  8 perfectly sliced egg wedges, decoratively arranged to garnish the perimeter of the the salad.  These were not just any ordinary egg wedges.  These were egg wedges with that greenish-gray halo around the yolks.  THE HORROR!  While edible, the unappetizing halo, which is always the result of boiling and overcooking, is easily avoided by using the proper cooking time and method!

IMG_9820Life it too short to eat overcooked eggs!

Boiling Eggs #1~ Step 1.  Place desired number of chilled eggs, in a single layer, in the bottom of a stockpot, with enough cold water to cover the eggs by one inch.  Do not overcrowd the pot.

Key words:  cold eggs, single layer, cold water, don't overcrowd.

NEVER BOIL EGGS!:                  "Boil" refers to foods submerged and cooked in liquid maintaining a temperature at 212 degrees, the boiling point.  Large bubbles break the surface throughout the cooking process.

GENTLY SIMMER EGGS!:  "Simmer" refers to food submerged and cooked in liquid maintaining a temperature at or slightly above 185 degrees.  Tiny bubbles will just begin to break the surface of the liquid during and throughout the entire cooking process.Boiling Eggs #2  Just like in the picture below:

~Step 2.  Bring the eggs to a boil over high heat and immediately reduce the temperature to the gentlest of simmers and begin timing, according to the following directions:

(Timing gets adjusted according to the size of the egg being cooked meaning:  the larger the egg the longer the cooking tme.)

 

TIMING FOR LARGE, EXTRA-LARGE & JUMBO EGGS IS AS FOLLOWS:

CODDLED EGGS (tender white, soft yolk):  30 seconds, 45 seconds, 1 minute

SOFT-COOKED EGGS (soft white, soft yolk):  2 minutes, 2 1/2 minutes, 3 minutes

MEDIUM-COOKED EGGS (firm white, soft yolk):  4 minutes, 5 minutes, 6 minutes

HARD-COOKED EGGS (firm white, firm yolk):  10 minutes, 11 minutes, 12 minutes

Boiling Eggs #3 ~ Step 3.  Drain water from pot.  Immediately start adding very cold tap water to eggs in pot.  This halts the cooking process, and cools the eggs to room temperature, which makes them much easier to peel by causing a slight contraction of the egg within the shell.  I allow them cool in the pot for 20-30 minutes prior to peeling.  During this time, residual heat will contine to cook the eggs and the result will be slightly flaky, pale yellow yolks (as seen in the next picture).   

IMG_4688~ Step 4.  On countertop or side of sink, gently tap the surface of each egg to crack the shell into small pieces.  Under cold running water, carefully peel away the membrane and shell.

Note:  In the event you need, want or like your yolks to be creamier and softer (as I sometimes do), time, cook, cool and peel them according to the above  directions for medium-cooked eggs!

IMG_4658

 

A Little Thing Called:  Boiling Eggs (Hard-Cooked):  Recipe yields instructions for perfectly cooking as many eggs of any size as you want to make!

Special Equipment List:  stockpot or saucepan (The pot size and choice will vary depending upon how many eggs you are cooking.)

6a0120a8551282970b017ee66339a6970d-800wiCook's Note:  For ~ A Simply Satisfying Breakfast:  Soft-Cooked Eggs ~ you can find my method for making them in Categories 9 or 20!  Poached eggs don't fall into the category of "boiling eggs".  It's a different method and will be a future blog post!

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2010)

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