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Perfectly Peelable Hard-Boiled Eggs
I’m on a hard-boiled egg kick. One of my favorite snacks is an hb-egg with a dollop of homemade mayo and a light sprinkling of truffle salt. Divine. I’ve also been perfecting my recipe for fuschia-colored pickled eggs. I keep telling Dave I’m becoming a homesteader now that we live in Vermont. He just rolls his eyes.
But here’s the thing about hb-eggs. They can be a royal pain in the a-s-s to peel. Yes, you can make it easier by storing them in the fridge for a week or so before boiling, but what if you want an hb-egg RIGHT NOW?!
Before I get into what I think is a fool-proof technique, you should know that I’ve tried just about every trick. I placed the eggs in cold water and brought them to a boil like Cook’s Illustrated told me to do. I’ve used older eggs. I’ve pricked the shells and added baking soda to the cooking water. I’ve even baked them. But still: the shell stuck to the white and by the time I was done peeling, they looked like they’d gone a few rounds with a rooster beak. Definitely not smooth and pretty.
Then Dave sent me this link from Serious Eats. My life changed. Now I’ve got perfectly-cooked, perfectly peelable hb-eggs every time. If you follow this technique, you will, too!
Perfectly Peelable Hard-Boiled Eggs
organic, pastured, humanely-raised eggs
Place a pot of water on high and bring to a rolling boil. The pot should be big enough to comfortably hold the eggs and enough water to cover them by about an inch or two.
Use a large ladle or spoon to lower the eggs into the boiling water, one at a time. Place them gently in the pot so they don’t crack. (If they do crack, no biggie. But let’s not crack our eggs too soon.)
Reduce the heat on the pan to simmer and cook for 11 minutes for hard-boiled, 9 minutes if you want the yolks to still be a little gelatinous. Seriously. Set a timer.
While the eggs are simmering, prepare an ice bath. You need to shock those eggs! Fill a large bowl with plenty of ice and cold water. Wait for the timer to go off. (You did set the timer, right?)
When the eggs are finished, remove them from the pot with a slotted spoon and lower them into the ice bath. Let them chill out for at least 15 minutes, but you can forget about them for a while, if you want — or put them in the fridge over night.
When you’re ready to peel the eggs, crack the shells all over — you want lots of little cracks! Then use your fingernails to start peeling. It helps if you peel them under running water. The water slips under the shell and helps with the removal process, but you can do without the running water if you prefer. That’s it! They should be smooth, glossy, and ready to be devoured.
Storing Hard-Boiled Eggs
It’s best to keep eggs unpeeled until you’re ready to eat them or use them in a recipe. Unpeeled hard-boiled eggs can be stored in the refrigerator for about a week. If you get silly and accidentally peel all your hard-boiled eggs before you’re ready to eat them, don’t panic! They can be stored in the fridge in an open bowl of cold water for about a week (change the water daily) or in a sealed container without water for a week. But they hold up to the rigors of the fridge best when left in their shells.
Heading to a picnic or potluck? The safest way to share unpeeled hard-boiled eggs is to serve them in a bowl of ice or keep them in a cooler. If you’ve turned them into deviled eggs, you’ll definitely want to keep them cool during serving.
Hard-Boiled Egg Recipes
Here’s a quick “no recipe” recipe for egg salad for one person: 3-4 diced hard-boiled eggs, a pinch of dry mustard, a generous spoonful of dried chives, the minced green top from a scallion, plenty of salt and pepper, a tablespoon of homemade mayo, and—totally optional secret ingredient—a few drops (really; just a few drops) of Red Boat Fish Sauce. Mix. Sprinkle with paprika. Eat.
While I’m putting the finished touches on my Paleo Pink Pickled Egg recipe, here are a few more hb-egg recipes to try: