Each day, remarkably talented chefs come on our show to create wonderful recipes. And then there's me. I boil an egg.
Probably the joke for all beginner cooks - "I can barely boil an egg!"
But in reality, this little cooking task hides some tricky problems, especially if you want to create one of the tastiest, most popular appetizers on any buffet table - deviled eggs.
First of all, you should really never boil an egg. Cooking an egg violently results in a tough tasting egg and the ever dreaded greenish tough yolk...yuck! So you have to tackle the task with patience and gentle cooking. Everyone has their own opinion on hard-cooked eggs. In fact, not too long ago, at the TV station I was chatting with folks about making deviled eggs. That led to this segment because not only were we talking about the best way to cook them, we were commiserating about the horrible task of peeling eggs that simply just don't want to be peeled. So, as usual, my brain wanted to research what the experts say about making hard cooked eggs and then peeling them. I also wanted to throw in a recipe or two. As football season wraps up, consider making a plateful for a pot-luck. Trust me - they will be some of the first to disappear!
The Cooking Technique of the Egg
Here we go. Almost every cookbook and chef I looked at agreed. Put the eggs in a saucepan large enough to hold them in a single layer. Cover them with enough cold water to come about an inch above the eggs. Place the pan on your stove and bring to a rolling boil. When the water hits a full boil, completely remove the pan from the heat and plop on the lid. That's right completely off the heat. Let them sit, covered, no peeking for 18 minutes.
While they're sitting, fill a bowl with very cold water, and some ice cubes. Then take the eggs out of the pan and put directly into the cold water. Now, I thought they'd crack like shattered glass with the change in temperature but this really, really works. Leave them in the water for about 2 minutes. Take them out and you're ready to peel.
Tap the egg on each end on a counter, then tap the rest of the egg on the counter to crush the shell. Peel them under running water, starting at the widest end (there's a little pocket of air there that let's you get started.) I tested about 24 eggs using this method and IT WORKS!
Older is Better - Finally! I'd always heard this and it turns out to be true. Older eggs are easier to peel. The prime age of an easy to peel egg is 7 - 10 days. But we can't always plan that far ahead. But if you can, it helps. Yet, I must say, the method above even worked with brand new, fresh from the store eggs.
Some random tips I also learned and tried, that work. Add about a tablespoon of vinegar to the water when boiling to help prevent cracking. Add some salt to the water to help with this too. Try using dental floss to slice your eggs in half to prepare them - this prevents a smooshed egg when cut with a dull knife. If you keep hard cooked eggs in your fridge along with raw eggs, boil them with a little balsalmic vinegar. This leaves them with a brownish tint that will make them easily distinguishable. If you get a hard cooked egg mixed up with a fresh one - here's an easy trick - spin them on a counter. A raw one will not spin, a hard-cooked one will.
Now, the Egg Recipes
I found a wonderful book. It's called simply, Deviled Eggs by Debbie Moose.
Here are two of my faves:
The Classic 6 hard-cooked eggs, peeled, cut in half, and yolks mashed in a bowl 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons mayonnaise 1 tablespoon prepared yellow mustard 1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste 1/4 teaspoon black pepper or to taste Paprika for garnish Combine with the yolks and mayonnaise. Blend until creamy. Fill the whites evenly and garnish with paprika.
Blue Devils 6 hard-cooked eggs, peeled, cut in half, and yolks mashed in a bowl 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons mayonnaise 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 2 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese Salt and pepper to taste About 3 tablespoons real bacon bits Combine all but the bacon bits with the mashed yolks. Garnish each egg with the bacon bits.
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