eggs

81

How to Boil

LESSON 2.1

How to Boil
Hard-­cooked eggs should never actually be boiled for any length of time, or they
will turn rubbery and dry. Instead, follow the directions below for gently cooking
eggs—the whites will be tender and yolks still slightly soft in the center. These
eggs would be perfect for sprinkling with salt and pepper and eating whole,
halving and scooping out the yolks to make deviled eggs, or cutting into wedges
for salads. They are also the starting point for making the classic mayonnaise­based egg salads. Soft-­cooked eggs are classically served in their shell in a cocottier
(small egg cup), with a tiny silver spoon and toast points (triangles) or soldiers
(baton shapes) for dipping into the still-­soft yolks. The eggs are also delicious
scooped out of the shells and served on slices of toasted buttered rustic bread.

to hard-­c ook eggs, place them in a deep saucepan and cover with cold
water by 1 inch. Bring to a boil over high heat, then immediately remove from
heat, cover, and let stand 13 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer eggs to
an ice-­water bath to stop the cooking. Serve warm, or leave in the bath to cool
completely, about 10 minutes. Unpeeled eggs can be refrigerated up to 1 week.
to soft-­c ook eggs, bring a deep saucepan filled halfway with water to a rolling
boil. With a slotted spoon, gently lower eggs into water. Cover pan and remove
from heat. Let stand 4 to 6 minutes (depending on how soft you like the yolks).
To serve egg in the shell, quickly crack the wider end with a knife and remove
the top. To serve out of the shell, hold egg over a small bowl, tap around center with
a knife, and gently pull shell apart, then scoop out egg with a spoon into the bowl.

LESSON 2.2

How to Poach
Because they are cooked in water, with no oil or other fat added, poached eggs
are a healthful alternative to eggs cooked by many other methods. But their true
appeal is in their texture, the ideal being a still-­runny yolk surrounded by a just­set white. Their no-­fat cooking method also suggests that the eggs might benefit
from being served with a rich, flavorful hollandaise sauce (see page 96), as in
eggs benedict. But they are also delicious on a slice of toast, which soaks up the yolk.
A bit of practice is required to prevent the egg white from dispersing into the
water, causing the edges to become frayed. Some cooks prefer to add a drop of
white vinegar to the water to help the white coagulate; others swirl the water
­vigorously to create a whirlpool (technically a vortex, which traps the egg inside)
just before sliding in the egg. Generally, though, you should not have a problem
if you heed these suggestions: Use very fresh eggs; keep the water at a bare
simmer (it should hardly move); gently slide the broken egg into the water; and
spoon the edges of the whites over the egg as soon as it is in the pan.

PEELING HARD-­C OOKED EGGS
To peel a hard-­cooked egg, place it on your
work surface and roll it under your palm to
crack the shell (rather than cracking
against the edge of a bowl, which might
cause the peel to mar the egg white). Cold
eggs are easier to peel. Holding the egg
under cold running water as you peel it can
also help.

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