TODAY, because Easter is around the corner, I thought we should discuss
festive bonnets eggs. And specifically, how to cook them so they are not only a cinch to peel, but a delight to eat. I’m talking hard-cooked perfection, baby.
Of course you’ll want to use fresh, organic eggs which were laid by happy, free-range chickens. If I can buy such eggs at my local supermarket, you probably can too. (And if you raise chickens in your backyard, you’re already set.)
The following cooking-method has never failed me. And it works even with super-fresh, straight-from-the-hen-house eggs.
Did you know that I had a pierced ear during my red-and-black-haired punk rock days? ‘Tis true. My earring was rather unusual. It was a cheap silver spider, which hung from a long, silver “web.” I purchased this arachnid accessory from a “jeweler” on St. Mark’s Place in New York City.
Don’t pretend you’re not jealous.
As the egg cooks, the tiny opening will permit air to escape, thereby reducing the chance of breakage. And miracle of miracles, even if the shell does break, the hole will somehow keep the liquid white from oozing out. Trust me on this one.
Then lower the heat, and let the eggs simmer — they should never actually boil — for the following time:
USDA “Large” Eggs: exactly 14 minutes.
USDA “Medium” Eggs: exactly 12 minutes
Then immediately plunge the subjects into a big bowl of water and ice cubes for 15 minutes. Use lots of ice cubes. The coldness will prevent a garish green halo from forming around the yolks. Meanwhile, steam will escape through the cracks, causing the shells to pull away from the whites.
How to use these beauties? Well, you could eat them as-is, with just a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Or you could turn them into deviled eggs. Or egg salad.
Or, for the sake of elegance, you could turn them into this Creamy Gratin of Hard-Cooked Eggs. It’s a gluten-free, make-ahead dish that’s perfect for either brunch or dinner. It’s outrageously delicious.
Update: Three questions I’ve received, along with my answers:
Question #1: Are the eggs cold or at room temperature when you cook them?
Answer: They are cold.
Question #2: Do you really put the eggs into boiling water?
Answer: Yes! As described in the step-by-step method above, I put the pierced eggs into rapidly boiling water. Then I immediately lower the heat to a simmer.
Question #3: Do you have a picture from your punk-rock-cheap-spider-on-a-web-earring-days?
Answer: I do indeed. One day (when you least expect it) I’ll share the photo with you!
In the comments field below, let me know if you’ve ever had trouble peeling hard-cooked eggs, especially the super-fresh type. And then I hope you’ll give the pierce-simmer-crack-chill-peel method a try. It really works!
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