Monday, March 30, 2015

On Making the "Perfect" Hard Boiled Egg

My husband is very willing to help out where and when needed, but for the most part, I take care of the cooking.  There are a few exceptions, however.  Among them: grilling and breakfast.  When it comes to breakfast, John reigns in our kitchen...his pancakes and waffles are awesome.  Anything to do with eggs are his specialty.  Omelets, fried eggs, and egg sandwiches...I look forward to any of the above most Saturdays and Sundays.  But, perhaps his claim to fame these days is perfecting the hard boiled egg.

Have you ever experienced the somewhat gross green or grey coloring around the yolk of your hard boiled eggs?  Though unappetizing in appearance, the green yolk is actually harmless - and completely avoidable.  The reason that occurs is actually very simple:  the eggs are overcooked.  My husband, being a chemist, would take that explanation a bit further - in the white of the egg is hydrogen sulfide, which reacts with the iron in the yolk, resulting in the greenish iron sulfide when cooked for too long.  So, how to cook them perfectly?  John shares his advice and technique:

  1. Begin with cool water and refrigerated large eggs.  Cover the eggs with the cool water in a pot or deep pan so that there is about a 1/2 inch of water above the eggs and place over high heat.
  2. Keep an eye on the water.  As soon as it comes to a full, rolling boil, remove the pan from the heat and cover it with a lid.  Set a timer for 8 minutes.
  3. While the eggs are sitting in the hot water, they are still cooking, which is important.  Equally important is forcing that cooking process to stop when you want it to.  For this reason, prepare an ice bath in a second pot using cold water and a few of cups of ice.
  4. Once the timer goes off, remove one egg from the pot and roll it around gently in the ice bath until cool to touch (at least 30 seconds).  Crack this egg open to check the yolk - if it is still a bit under cooked, leave the other eggs in the hot water for another 30 seconds to a minute (or more if it seems as though the egg is far under cooked, but remember that they have already been sitting in the water during the time you were checking the test egg). If it is ready, place the remaining eggs in the ice bath to cool.

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