In this season of beitzahs and PAAS dye kits, it may be time for a friendly reminder about hard-boiled eggs: You’re not actually supposed to boil them. Hard-boiled eggs may seem too basic to warrant a PSA, but misinformation abounds.
Just the other day, a bright, culinarily astute friend casually mentioned his egg-boiling technique, which he described as “traditional,” and which he seemed to think was socially condoned: Bring a pot of water to a low boil, add your eggs, and cook them for 10 minutes over medium heat.
Granted, his mistake is understandable — the very name “hard-boiled eggs” cruelly and ironically perpetuates the myth that the thing they describe should be boiled. But following my friend’s method yields unevenly cooked eggs: The whites, battered by the incessant kinetic energy of the water molecules, become tough and rubbery.
The yolks, meanwhile, buffered by albumin, remain half raw. (Of course, you could boil the eggs longer than 10 minutes to get fully cooked yolks, but by that point your whites would have the texture of a foam yoga mat.) Eggs cooked this way cannot rightfully be called hard-boiled — they are half-hard, half-soft chimeras.
Of course, if you’re boiling eggs for purely decorative or symbolic purposes, you may not care what they look or taste like within, and you’re within your rights to let them steep as long as you like. But if there’s any chance anyone will nosh on your ovoid holiday trimmings, keep your eye on the clock.
Yield: 12 eggs
Time: About 30 minutes, largely unattended
12 large eggs
Put the eggs in a large pot, and add enough water to cover them by 2 inches. Partially cover the pot, and put it over high heat. When the water comes to a boil, turn off the heat, cover the pot fully, and let the eggs sit for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with ice water. Carefully drain the eggs, and transfer them to the ice bath. Let them cool in the ice water for 5 minutes, then dry them with a paper towel or cloth towel, and serve.
Store hard-boiled eggs in an egg carton in the refrigerator for up to several days.
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