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Best method for hard-boiling eggs also keeps shells from cracking

  • TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE

    Boiling an egg shouldn’t be so hard.

There are countless methods for making hard-boiled eggs, and as many opinions regarding which is right. The whole exercise can be frustrating, particularly for those who boil eggs only once or twice a year. Do I start the eggs in cold or hot water? How long do I boil them? Should I shock them in ice water? And if so, when? And what about steaming eggs, or cooking them in the oven?

I have a method I settled on years ago, when I worked with a high-end restaurant group in Los Angeles and had to boil dozens of eggs every week. The method is simple, and forgiving.

Place the eggs in a pot just large enough to hold them in a single layer. Add cool water and bring it to a boil, cooking the eggs for three minutes. Then remove the pot from the heat and leave the eggs in the hot water to finish cooking. Depending on how you like your eggs, you might leave them in the water anywhere from five to 15 minutes before cooling them in ice water.

Don’t worry about overcooking the eggs. Because the water is slowly cooling over time, you’re unlikely to find any of that dreaded grayish-green color in the yolk. I’ve even left the eggs in the water for a half-hour before cooling and haven’t had any problems.

And I haven’t had to worry about exploding eggs either. (You know, when the shell cracks and egg white seeps out like molten lava.) Because the eggs start in cold water, they’re less likely to crack as they boil. The trapped air has time to slowly bubble out of the porous shell while the water heats. When eggs are added to boiling water, the air needs to escape quickly, and often cracks the shell.

Sometimes, there’s nothing worse than going to all the trouble of cooking eggs, only to have your beautiful ovals reduced to pock-marked, well, things when you try to remove the shells. These eggs shouldn’t be hard to peel at all. Crack the shell all around the egg, and gently peel it away. You can find the method below.

What you decide to do with the eggs — whether devil or decorate — is up to you.

HARD-BOILED EGGS
By Noelle Carter

>> 1 dozen eggs

Place eggs in a pot large enough to hold them in a single layer. Fill the pot with enough water to cover the eggs by 1 inch.

Over high heat, bring water to a rolling boil, about 10 minutes. Cook eggs 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside, leaving eggs in hot water for 15 minutes.

Remove eggs to a bowl of ice water and let sit until cool enough to peel. (If not using immediately, drain water, dry eggs and refrigerate.)

To peel eggs: Crack shell evenly on all sides. Begin peeling at the wide end of the eggs (where there should be an air pocket). If the shell sticks, peel under cool water. Makes 1 dozen eggs.

>> Note: For softer, more golden whites, remove eggs from hot water after just 5 minutes rather than 15, and immediately shock in ice water until cool enough to peel. The longer you leave the eggs in the water, the firmer and lighter the yolk will become.

Nutritional information unavailable.

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