Wednesday, January 7, 2009
The devil and his eggs
Dear Tricia, I love deviled eggs, but I can't hard boil an egg to save my life! They always crack or are under cooked. Mom says bring the water to a boil with the eggs in it. Grandma says she's a soulless atheist who shouldn't have married her son, and that I should boil water drop them in, and then turn off the heat. No matter what I do my eggs and family dynamic still make me cry. Can I get some help here? If you could throw in some bonus deviled egg tips too that would be sweet, and probably piss of my overly religious grandma - she hate the devil and all of his finger foods.
Who doesn't love deviled eggs?? Someone un-American, that's who. When you bring a tray of deviled eggs to a party, you're going to be the most popular person there. It's true! 8 out of 10 doctors agreed on it. The other two doctors were probably educated in El Salvador or something. Let's get down to it.
In honor of one of my personal heroes, Bill Nye the Science Guy, I took your dilemma to my test kitchen (also known as my parent's kitchen) to do some hard boiled experimenting. I boiled 5 different eggs using 5 different times and methods, including the atheist's method and Jesus Christ's BFF's method. Every egg was boiled in 3 cups of salted water with the heat on High. My first instinct was that I have been over-boiling my eggs all along because your mom and grandma's methods didn't involve much boiling time. However, there were some surprising results that I'll touch on in a minute.
1. Jesus' BFF's method of dropping the egg in boiling water and turning off the heat for 10 minutes yielded a a very soft white and a runny yolk: basically a soft-boiled egg.
2. The atheist's method of bringing the water to a boil with the egg in it (I pulled out the egg when the water came to a boil) also yielded a runny white and egg yolk. I tried this two ways:
3. The third method was similar to the atheist's method of bringing the water to a boil with the egg in it, but I let it boil for 5 minutes. The yolk was much closer to being cooked, but still not firm enough to devil.
4. I brought the water to a boil, put the egg in for 5 minutes, and then pulled it out. The white was firm but the yolk was still soft... similar to the method number three.
5. My original way of boiling eggs: let the water boil, put the egg in for 10 minutes, turn off the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes. The end product was a hard boiled egg with a firm yolk.
Since method five worked best for deviling eggs, this just re-establishes the facts that I know what I'm talking about so more people should be reading this blog, and that I might be the smartest woman alive.
I also realized that letting the water come up to a boil with the egg in it doesn't give that different of results than if you put the egg in boiling water; what makes a difference is how long you keep the egg in the water once its boiling.
Okay, now let's talk about cracking eggs. My dad said that's why he always let the water come to a boil with the egg in it; that it was less of a shock to the egg's cold temperature. This might be the reason why the atheist is doing the same thing. However, I've never had a problem with cracked eggs going directly into boiling water, BUT I SALT THE WATER, just like when cooking pasta. I also gently lower the egg into the water with a spoon so that it doesn't collide with the bottom of the pan and crack. So, salt the water and that may eliminate the cracking. I have no science to back this up: only experience, and I think experience would win in a cage match against science.
Also, when you pull the egg out of the water, put it in a bowl of ice water. This helps the shell come off easier. The most basic deviled egg recipe is my favorite: it'll taste like Jesus' BFF made it. There are more elaborate recipes online that involve all kinds of spices and fillings, but this one is a classic.
Cut 12 boiled eggs in half and mash up the yolks with:
4 Tablespoons mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons mustard
2 Tablespoons relish
salt and pepper to taste
Paprika to garnish
Spoon the mixture onto each egg white. Sprinkle the paprika on each egg. Enjoy your new found popularity, even if you're not so popular in grandma's eyes anymore.