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soft and hard boiled eggs

May 14, 2010

late dinner 4/23/2010 Bacon and watercress salad with ramps and a soft boiled egg.

It’s easy to stick an egg into boiling water to cook, but it’s hard to get a consistent answer, even from the best cooks, as to how long an egg should be cooked in its shell before it’s done. I learned some time ago that that you can make a perfect soft boiled egg just by putting a large egg into boiling water for 7 minutes. I’ve adjusted this method over time and here are some things I’ve found.
When submerging eggs, especially cold eggs out of the refrigerator, into boiling water there’s potential for the shells to crack and leak. I discovered that you can use a simple steam basket and steam the eggs in the shell without effecting cooking time. the boiling water puts a lot of heat on the under side of the egg and can sometimes cook the egg a little harder on one side. There is also more potential for the egg to break in the boiling water. If you do boil it, it’s a good idea to use a slotted spoon to dip the eggs in the water to warm the shell before putting them all the way in, this will prevent the shell cracking from shock.

A picture from my time testing

7 minutes will set the whites of a standard large egg while leaving the yolk mostly un-cooked. Because no egg is exactly the same size you can adjust the time if the egg is a little bigger or smaller. 6 minutes 30 seconds will produce an egg with raw yolk and the whites around it still slightly runny, the kind of egg you eat out of the shell with a small spoon. eight minutes will produce an egg where the yolk is set, but still runny in the middle. To make a hard boiled egg that doesn’t have an unpleasant grey yolk boil (or steam) for about 9 1/2 minutes. Once your egg is done, remove from boiling water place it in a bowl of very cold tap water. The cold water helps the egg set and stops the cooking process.
You can serve the eggs after they’ve cooled just a couple minutes. Soft boiled eggs are delicious when they’re still a little warm. To peel a boiled egg crack the shell firmly all around the egg, then peel gently under flowing tap water. If you peel the egg dry, the shell can have a tendency to stick and tear your egg, the tap water helps prevent this. My favorite way to eat them is to slice them in half and sprinkle the runny yolks with a little salt and pepper and a light drizzle of olive oil.

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