Perfecting The Boiled Egg
And now for something completely different….
I cannot take credit for this epiphany. That goes straight to America’s Test Kitchen geniuses and Cook’s Illustrated magazine (March-April 2016), who have discovered the perfect, foolproof way to cook hardboiled eggs. I have been a subscriber to their magazine for many years (also Cook’s Country), but this issue had me spinning like a top and squealing for joy. While this method is not yet found on their website, this information is too fantastic to not pass along!! And I have used this method many times now with nary a failure or disappointment. I will never, ever make hardboiled eggs any other way for the rest of my life!
Never again encounter a hardboiled egg that is difficult to peel, regardless of the egg’s age. How? By steaming the eggs, instead of boiling them!
Take six to nine eggs. Place them in a steamer basket above briskly boiling water and cover. Set your timer for 15 minutes. Before the timer goes off, prepare a boil with a lot of ice with water. When the timer rings, place the eggs into the ice water and allow to chill fully. Peel and carry on with your plans. For the record, I crack mine well against the side of my clean kitchen sink and peel under slowly running water. I also keep the shells, allow them to dry, and pulverize them into powder before sprinkling under tomato and pepper plants that love calcium, but that’s another story.
That’s all. Period. Perfect every time.
For Easter Eggs, make no changes in your plans and dye away. For deviled eggs, you will find the yolks do not have the usual greenish tint around the outside that boiling creates, and will yield the lovliest golden fillings.
According to Cook’s Illustrated, the science behind this success is finally finding a means to tame the egg’s membrane. That is the real culprit when hardboiled eggs are difficult to peel, not the shell itself. “when an egg is very fresh or when it’s cooked slowly, the proteins in the white bond to the membrane, instead of to one another, and the membrane becomes cemented to the while and impossible to peel away.” Placing eggs onto the steamer with a full head of steam in the pot causes the egg white proteins to “denature and shrink”, preventing the bonding with the membrane.