Can You Boil an Egg?

Sure, almost anyone can hard boil an egg. But if you want it to emerge tender and unblemished, and to minimize the misery of shelling, you need to consider some niceties.

In the book Julia Child & Company (Alfred A. Knopf, 1979), Julia Child cautions that excess heat toughens an egg and causes that unsightly dark line that sometimes appears between yolk and white. She seems to subscribe to the then Georgia Egg Board’s “17-minute sit-in” approach, where eggs are submerged in a pot of cold water, brought to the boil, and then covered and removed from the heat, where they remain for 17 minutes before being peeled.

To shrink the egg body from the shell, making for easier peeling, they are immediately plunged into a bowl of ice water for one minute, after which they are plunged for 30 seconds back into the boiling cooking water, which was reheated while the eggs were in their ice water bath.

She also passes on a hint sent to her by two McCall’s magazine readers. “After cracking the shells all over and peeling a circle of shell off the large end, slip an ordinary teaspoon between shell and egg and work it down the egg all around to the small end, manipulating the egg under a thin stream of cold water or in a bowl of water as you go.”

What has always worked for me is what might be called the “10-minute sit-in” approach followed by an ice water bath….Oh, and I always begin with room temperature eggs. But who am I to argue with Julia?

Won’t you share your method?

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