We have an abundance of eggs right now and I have been seeking easy ways to use them up. Everyone loves rice pudding made with a creamy custard sauce, and eggs for breakfast are always a staple, but I wanted something that uses a lot of eggs at once and not a lot of work on my part. Hard boiled eggs make a quick snack and I find that when I leave a container of peeled eggs in the fridge they are more likely to be eaten than those still in the shell.
Over the last few weeks I have been experimenting with the best method of cooking these little gems so that they are easy to peel and don’t taste like a rubber puck. I always used to follow the cold water method; placing the eggs in the pot, covering with cold water and then bringing up to a boil for 8 minutes. Fresh eggs do not peel very well using this method and there seemed to be quite a lot of variation in the final product. Sometimes the yolks were perfect, other times they were encircled by a thin purplish film which did not detract from the taste at all, but dissuaded picky eaters from making use of this quick snack item. And the whites, I must confess, tended towards the rubber puck side of done.
I then found a method where the eggs started in cold water, were brought to a boil, and immediately removed from the heat. They rested in the hot water for 8 minutes, and then were cooled in cold water until manageable. Slightly better results. The cooking was more consistent, but the shells were still hard to remove.
I read somewhere that it is the gradual warming which causes the shell to stick. The solution? Bring the water to a boil, add the eggs and follow either method one or two above. The result? Cracked eggs and whites that oozed out into the water.
Finally, I found the ideal way to cook eggs. In fact, I have used a variation on this method for some time to make perfect soft boiled eggs. Put an inch of water in a pot with a steamer basket or wire rack. Bring the water to a rolling boil. Using a pair of tongs, place the eggs in the pot. Cover and keep the water boiling. The suggestion was to boil for 11 minutes and then remove the eggs to a bowl of ice water for 15 minutes. Almost perfect eggs!
The eggs were very easy to peel. The white was cooked perfectly; solid, but not rubbery. The yolk, however, was ever so slightly moist. It still mashed up quite well for egg salad and was pleasant to eat, but next time I will cook for 12 minutes and see if that solves the yolk issue.
For those of you who are wondering, the soft boiled version requires only 6 minutes in the pot and 30 seconds in the ice water. Peel and serve over sautéed spinach for a mouth watering breakfast!
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