(almost) perfect hard cooked eggs

I love eggs. I love them poached, I love them fried, I love them shirred, I love them hard-cooked. I even love a bright orange, raw yolk nestled in the center of a good steak tartare.

Hard cooking an egg – also known as hard boiled – is not always as easy as it seems. The white should be fully cooked without being rubbery. The yolk needs to be cooked all the way through, but not to the point of grayness or pale-yellowness.

I know, I know…hard cooking an egg isn’t rocket science, right? But if you take the time to hard cook an egg properly, you’ll be rewarded with – okay, in my opinion – one of the simplest joys in food life.

Now I’d love to say I get this right every time but I don’t. Right now my record is about 90% of the time, so I think overall I’m doing pretty well in the hard-cooked-egg department.

Here are today’s eggs:

And here’s how I made them:

  • 12 large eggs in a single layer in the bottom of a 2-qt stainless steel saucepan
  • Cover with lukewarm water and let sit for 5 minutes
  • Start heating over medium heat (my stove is gas)
  • After 5 minutes, increase heat to medium high
  • When water comes to a rolling boil, immediately shut off heat
  • Move pan to a cool burner, leaving pan uncovered
  • Set timer for 8.5 minutes
  • Drain hot water from pan
  • Immediately run cold over the eggs, filling the pan
  • Add 1 large glass of ice to pan, to stop the cooking process
  • Let sit for 15 minutes

I boil eggs on Sunday so that I can have a couple each morning throughout the week, which is why I cook them in batches of 10-12, but this also works for me when I do them in smaller quantities.

A favorite of mine: still warm eggs sliced over the top of a salad made with with romaine and arugula, olives, roasted red peppers, thinly sliced red onions and a bit of minced garlic. I top it with a crumble of whatever cheese I have on hand – Parmesan, asiago, blue cheese, goat cheese, etc. – and drizzle it with a good quality extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar.

Now, if you’ll notice, I don’t add any salt or vinegar or oil to my water – all of which I’ve heard make them easier to peel and less likely to crack. I don’t know if anyone has found this to be the case but I’d love to hear your opinion.

2 thoughts on “(almost) perfect hard cooked eggs

  1. Lesley says:

    So true! And sometimes it’s the joy in the littlest things that give us the greatest pleasure.

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