Eggs are a traditional symbol of spring and have a special place on both the Easter and Passover table. Unfortunately, the delicious simplicity of a hardboiled egg is frequently marred by a cracked shell, greenish yolk, or sulfuric odor. With the holidays around the corner, wouldn't be it be nice to have a perfect dozen (or more) to decorate, display, and eat? It's easy if you follow these steps:
1. Buy eggs that are about a week old.
This is one time to purchase less-than-fresh food. Food science writer Harold McGee says that older eggs firm up more smoothly and peel easier. If you can only find super fresh eggs, add a half-teaspoon of baking soda per quart of water.
2. Start with room temperature eggs.
Eggs that have been sitting on the kitchen counter for up to an hour are less prone to cracking when the cooking water rapidly heats up than ones that come straight from a cold fridge. The USDA says don't keep raw eggs out of the refrigerator for more than two hours.
3. Cook eggs in one layer in cold water.
Place eggs in one layer in a saucepan and cover by about two inches of cold water. Gently bring to a boil. This helps prevent cracking. Don't overcrowd. Eggs jostling each other can also lead to breakage. It's safer to cook a large number of eggs in a few batches.
4. Turn off burner and cover.
When the water comes to a full boil, turn off the heat and cover pan tightly.
5. Let eggs sit undisturbed for about 12 minutes.
They will slowly cook in the hot water yielding a tender white and sunny yellow yoke. Jumbo eggs will need 15 minutes. The beauty of this method is that it's difficult to overcook your eggs, so you can be flexible about the timing.
6. Gently remove eggs from water.
With a slotted spoon, carefully transfer boiled eggs to a large bowl of ice water.
7. For easy peeling, crack shell and submerge in water.
Gently roll a hardboiled egg on the countertop and place in a bowl of water for a few minutes before peeling. The water will seep in and loosen the shell.
Store hardboiled eggs in the refrigerator for up to a week.
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