Hard-boiled eggs may not get nearly the love that scrambled, fried, or poached eggs do, but they’re a versatile workhorse that can add a heavy dose of protein to everything from salads to sandwiches—as long as you do it right.
One reason hard-boiled eggs don’t get much affection is because far too many people overcook them. If you’ve ever opened a boiled egg to find a grainy, light-yellow center with a grayish-green ring around it, that’s how you know it’s been overcooked. With the method I’m about to show you, you’ll never need worry about this happening. I learned this technique from culinary yoda Jacques Pépin at one of his cooking demos more than five years ago, and it’s so reliable that it’s the only way I’ve boiled eggs since.
- A sharp object like a thumbtack
- Any number of eggs, preferably ones that aren’t ultra-fresh
- A heavy-bottomed pot
- A pasta fork or slotted spoon
- Water and ice
To start, puncture a hole in the round end of each egg with a thumbtack. That’s where the air chamber is, and poking a hole in the egg releases pressure inside, so the shell won’t crack.
Apply gentle pressure with the tack, as you don’t want to crack the egg! The hole should look like this:
Bring water to a very gentle boil, then quickly drop eggs in one at a time. I like to do this with a pasta fork, which, with its upturned sides, is the perfect vehicle for transferring the egg into the water carefully.
Set a timer to 10 minutes. Check your stove to make sure it isn’t set too high; once it’s reached a gentle boil, I usually turn down the heat to medium. If you boil the eggs at too high a temperature, the whites will be tough and the yolks more prone to being rubbery.
As soon as the timer has gone off, turn off the heat and pour out the boiling water, leaving the eggs in the pot. Shake the pot with the eggs in it to crack their shells.
Submerge the eggs into an ice water bath for 15 minutes. (I kept the eggs in the pot and added ice and water to save myself from having to wash another dish.) The ice bath allows the eggs to cool, and also to release their stinky sulfur into the ice water.
Put the ice bath under a stream of running water, and peel away. The running water makes it easier to peel away the egg’s thin outer membrane.
The final product should look like this:
Enjoy! Preferably with a sprinkle of truffle salt to feel fancy.
Now your eggs are ready to be used in an Italian-style tuna sandwich or anything else that suits your fancy.