I was surprised and amused by the comments and private emails I received regarding boiled eggs. They were a result of a recent post on batchoy that had a couple of slices of boiled egg on top of the noodles. Some emails actually asked how to properly boil an egg. Yipes, have we gone that far, that folks with their own kitchens are now wondering how to boil an egg? At any rate, here is how we do it at home, and I don’t claim any expertise whatsoever in this regard other than having bolied a significant amount of eggs over the years…
1. Get the freshest organic eggs you can afford. They have fabulous deep orange yolks that just scream natural goodness. I didn’t have any for this photo shoot. :)
2. Have your eggs at room temperature, not straight out of a cold fridge. If you must, then take eggs out of the fridge, add them to the pot of tap water, just slightly lukewarm and let them come to room temperature over the next 10 minutes or so before cooking them.
3. Use a relatively small pot, so it doesn’t take so long to bring the water up to a simmer (waste of gas or electricity), nor do the eggs have a lot of room to get groovy in, increasing the risk of cracking up, literally.
4. Have a teaspoon or so of white distilled vinegar at the ready; others say it strengthens the shell and also prevents the whites from leaking out into the water if the shell cracks. Others salt the water, but I don’t bother with the salt…
5. If you are absent minded, use a timer to “jar” you into pulling the eggs out at just the right time.
Why does all of this matter at all? I don’t know. But some folks, myself included, dislike the strangely green film that forms around a yolk of an egg that is just simply OVER-BOILED. And the yolk gets a bit too rubbery as well. Otherwise, if you don’t care what your eggs look and feel like, boil them any darned way you desire. :)
Place your eggs in the pot, add tap tap water and cover the eggs with water, surface roughly 1/2 to 1 inch above the eggs. Place over a burner turned up to medium-high and bring the water up to a simmer. Not a roiling boil. Once it starts to simmer, adjust heat source down, wait 60 seconds while water simmers, and then turn off the flames. Cover the pot and leave the eggs in the hot water for 10-12 minutes, depending on size. Rinse in cool water and peel. The eggs in the photo above were left in for 12 minutes, and that was a minute or two too long, in my opinion. I used this batch of 6 eggs for an egg salad, so the slight overcooking (in my opinion) was not discernable in the final product.
Folks have REALLY varying degrees of preferred “softness”. My dad liked his eggs nearly raw, I like mine a with the yolks a little viscous, to coat my toast. Don’t obsess — just do the same instructions as above, but once you turn off the heat, and cover, wait just 3 or 4 minutes before you rinse in cool water and peel your egg (or more likely take the top half of the shell off). For some this might be too soft, for others, not soft enough. So try it and adjust to your personal preference. Some toast points made of pan de mie and a soft balled egg with a sprinkle of flaky maldon salt… is one of the simplest pleasures from the kitchen.
P.S. For a nice, refreshing egg salad — hard boil 6 eggs and cool. Roughly chop up the eggs (whites and yolks) and place them in a small bowl. Add some 4-5 tablespoons of homemade or store bought mayonnaise, some freshly ground pepper, a touch of salt, and about 1 tablespoon or slightly more of chopped fresh dill. Let this sit in the fridge for an hour and it’s ready to eat. Use it in a sandwich, or on top of crackers for a snack, or as part of composed green salad. For some reason, I love sandwiches with egg salad and slices of ham, or egg salad and blanched asparagus. Yum.