Saturday, May 16, 2009

Eggcellent Hardboiled Eggs

I was trying to make a Nicoise Salad tonight and came across Julia Child's recipe online. I've never really read any of Julia Child's recipes or even watched her show, but there is a picture of her framed in my kitchen along with two other deserving great chefs: Alton Brown and the Swedish Chef...

Anyways, after tonight I am going to have to get one of her cookbooks. Not because my Nicoise Salad came wonderful. It did, but its her technique for cooking and peeling the perfect hard boiled egg that blew me away. It really is one of the coolest tricks I've seen in a while.


The first step is to hard-boil the eggs. Bring the water and eggs to a boil with the lid on. Once the water is boiling turn off the heat and let the eggs sit for 17 minutes on the stove. Ive seen Ina Garten utilize this technique on the Barefoot Contessa for a slightly different amount of time, 15 minutes instead of 17. She swears by this method to produce a beautifully cooked center and to avoid a rubbery egg white and a grayish ring around the yolk. I have to tell you that I've tried this technique a few times and always forget to time it, but my eggs still come out perfectly hard-boiled.

The next step is where the magic happens. Take the eggs out of the hot water and put them in a bowl of ice water for 2 minutes to shrink the egg from the shell.


While the eggs are cooling put the hot water back on the stove and bring to a boil. When the 2 minutes are up put the eggs back in the boiling water for exactly 10 seconds to expand the shell from the egg. Crack the eggshell on a hard surface and peel under a cold stream of running water. You're left with a beautiful hard-boiled egg and the shell just slides right off the egg in one whole piece! This completely differs from my normal hard-boiled egg fiasco where the shell sticks to the egg and I end up loosing big chunks out of the egg white. The hot water, cold water switcheroo works so well I didn't even have to try to crack the eggshell. I used tongs to remove the eggs from the water and the pressure basically peeled them for me. All I had to do was slide the shell off.


This technique totally reinforces Julia Child's position on my kitchen bulletin board, but I'm not so sure the Swedish chef deserves to share the honor anymore....

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