The Perfect Boiled Egg
March, 2014 · By Coryanne Ettiene
With spring in the air and Easter looming, something as simple as a perfectly boiled egg can cause even a veteran cook to drink. We are all on a quest for the perfect boiled egg, and gasp in horror when the nasty green ring of failure reveals itself…even more so when there are 11 others just like it. I remember boiling eggs as a child, helping my mother make the “Monkey Bread” that was a favorite weekend breakfast in our house. My mother would dish up buttery brown bread chopped to match the hard boiled eggs that would then be tossed with salt and pepper; it was years before I caught on that Monkey Bread was just a name she gave it, and that children across America were not feasting on Monkey Bread while they watched Saturday morning cartoons as I was. To this day Monkey Bread is part of our Saturday morning routine, and it is secretly my mission to make it a household tradition everywhere. But I digress….
My job was to drop the eggs in the boiling water, watch them bounce in the pot while they cooked, and then help peel the shells once they were cool. For ever and a day, that is how I made boiled eggs, and then as a newlywed, I discovered a new breakfast favorite, “soft boiled eggs and soldiers” — a childhood favorite that my husband had while he watched Saturday morning cartoons that consists of dipping buttery bread into the top of a soft boiled egg. In my quest to be the a fabulous new wife and hide my kitchen failings, I read everything I could on how to make this dish, only to discover that I had to scrap everything I knew about boiling eggs, and start from scratch.
For me, the perfect boiled egg is served medium, offering a slightly soft and wet yolk with a creamy white base. Forever on the quest for savory foods, I am generous with my salt and pepper, eating these with steam rolling of the sides while I try not to burn my fingers as I pop them in my mouth…..the only thing better would be to wrap them in bacon, but then, that is a given.
How to cook the perfect boiled egg: Practice with a heartily loaf of brown bread and then whip up a batch of Monkey Bread….trust me, every bite is a like a symphony of childhood.
Step 1: The trick is to use room temperature eggs placed in a large enough pot of cool water than that water offers a 1 inch top above the eggs — avoid the urge to layer or stack your eggs as it makes cooking uneven and leaves every peel fraught with anxiety.
Step 2: Allow the pot to come to a rolling boil and then remove it from the heat, cover and let sit for 9 minutes for medium sized eggs, or up to 12 for larger eggs. Do not add salt to the water, it will only increase the boiling temperature and spoil the perfect egg.
Step 3: If you fancy checking your egg, remove it from the heat, and give it a spin on a flat surface. If it spins in place without warbling, it is cooked. If it wobbles and moves, it isn’t.
Step 4: Remove them for the pot, and cool them with cold water if you are serving them later, this will halt the cooking time and ensure a fabulous finish. Or go for the adventure of it, and peel them while they are still hot.