THE PERFECT HARD COOKED EGGS IS AMONG THE simplest preparations of the egg. I love to eat them while they’re still warm. I also love to eat them cold, with salt and pepper and a bit of cheese. They make a good start to the day, a quick fix when there’s little time for lunch, and a satisfying canapé.
I love deviled eggs, one of the great underused renditions of the egg. And I love that old staple, egg salad. Finely chopped hard cooked eggs make a fabulous garnish, sometimes called a mimosa (after the yellow flower). And they’re also a critical component of the classic vinaigrette known as sauce gribiche.
Hard cooked eggs are so versatile, so easy, they’re almost easy to overlook. But don’t. They’re too valuable.
HOW TO MAKE PERFECT HARD COOKED EGGS
While it’s the simplest and most routine of preparations, hard-cooking an egg can still be done carelessly, overcooked so that the white is rubbery and the yolk gray-green and sulfurous, or undercooked so that the yolk is uneven.
On the other hand, when you cook it correctly and slice it open to see the beautifully uniform pastel yellow against the glossy white, it’s something to delight in.
There is more than one way to hard cook an egg, but the easiest and surest method is to use the uniform, dense, gentle heat of water, followed by water’s powerful capacity to extract heat (an ice bath)—indeed, the most important part of the preparation is rapid cooling once they’re done.
The works-every-time method is this: put cold eggs in a pan in one layer, cover them with water by about 1 inch/2.5 centimeter, and put the pan over high heat. When the water comes to a full boil (at least 209°F/98°C), cover the pan, remove it from the heat, and let it sit for 15 minutes. Remove the eggs to an ice bath (half ice, half water) until they’re completely chilled, at least 10 minutes but preferably longer, giving the water a gentle stir every now and then to keep the cold circulating.
The result will be a uniformly yellow yolk, which indicates perfect hard cooked eggs. If you overcook them or fail to chill them quickly and thoroughly, ferrous sulfide, with a gray-green color, the odor of sulfur, and an off flavor, can form on the surface of the yolk.
If you undercook them, they may not look as pretty but they’re still delicious. Peel and use the eggs right away, or store them in their shells in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
PERFECT HARD COOKED EGGS USING A PRESSURE COOKER
I have a pressure cooker, but I rarely use it. I am, however, frequently on Twitter, where in the winter of 2018, someone asked me about pressure-cooking eggs. I replied that I had no experience, but asked anyone reading the feed to respond.
Laura Pazzaglia (@hippressurecook), an American living in Italy, did. She said that pressure-cooking eggs was a brilliant method. I checked her profile and learned that she writes a blog called hippressurecooking.com. I was so intrigued I asked her to write a guest post for my site on pressure-cooking eggs, and she did.
After reading Laura’s post and consulting other sources, I headed to the kitchen for my own highly scientific, exhaustive tests (two dozen eggs, a pressure cooker, and a stopwatch) to see for myself.
She’s absolutely right. It’s a fabulous way to cook eggs in the shell, primarily because it makes even the freshest eggs easy to peel. Fresh eggs have so little air in them that their shell and membrane tend to stick to the cooked egg white, forcing you to pull divots of white out of the egg as you peel it.
A pressure cooker, however, creates a moisture barrier between the shell and the egg white so that the egg easily slips out of its shell. This is especially useful when you’re making a lot of eggs, or when it’s essential that the exterior of a perfect hard cooked eggs remain pristine and smooth—that is, any time you won’t be chopping up the egg for egg salad or for an egg garnish.
To perfect hard cook eggs using a pressure cooker, it’s best to steam them, so you’ll need a steamer basket or trivet to keep the eggs above the small amount of water in the pot.
1. Put the eggs in a steamer basket or on a trivet in the pot. Add 1 cup/240 milliliters water and lock the lid, turning the pressure setting to low. (Setting it to high usually results in violently cracked eggs.)
2. Put the pressure cooker over high heat. After the pressure button pops up, the steam will build and begin to whistle out of the valve. As soon as it reaches its maximum pitch, reduce the heat to medium-low and set your timer for 7 minutes.
3. Fill a large bowl with half ice and half water.
4. When 7 minutes have elapsed, remove the pot from the heat and allow it to cool to the point that the pressure button has fallen and you can open the pot. If after 5 minutes, the pressure button remains raised, run cold water over the pot until the pressure button drops.
5. Remove the eggs to the ice bath for at least 10 minutes, stirring the ice water a couple of times during the first minutes of cooling.
6. Peel and use the eggs right away, or store them in their shells in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Times may vary by a minute depending on your cooker and your stove, so pay attention to initial results and adjust accordingly.
Read Also, What Are The Health Benefits of Eggs?