I have finally learned the culinary secret to a hardboiled egg that peels perfect every time. This has been an adult pursuit of mine and I have only just mastered it. In my determination to find the best cooking method for easy peeling I have had to wrestle through the decision of what egg to buy. The types of eggs now available boggles the mind: caged, free-range, free-run, cage-free and now PASTURE RAISED. You can even purchase a bottle of Mayo made with Cage Free Eggs. I have studied the nuances and can help you make an informed decision regarding the type of egg to purchase. The secret in defining types of eggs has everything to do with the housing of the hen. It is the heart of the matter.
What’s Good For The Hen Is Good For The Egg
Pasture Raised eggs have now taken up residence on the supermarket shelf. It’s important to understand what it means. All types of eggs denotes the type of housing allocated to the hen. A great primer to help understand the different types of housing is this six minute documentary “The Story of an Egg” . Once you understand how hens are treated in cages you will be prepared to spend the extra money to buy one of the several types of cage free eggs on the market.
The most common eggs come from battery cages which are an unethical housing system for hens providing no space and they are given a processed diet.
The cage-free, free-run and free-range hens have 1 to 2 feet of space to roam which is a good compromise.
Pasture Raised hens have 108 feet to roam outdoors to forage a natural diet. If your food budget allows Pasture Raised is most definitely the preference at about .50 cents each. Vital Farm’s website is full of information about Pasture Raised Eggs.
Pasture Raised is not only best for the hen but also produces a better egg. A pasture diet produces superior nutrient levels in the egg – more vitamin A & E, omega-3 fatty acids and beta carotene. A hen that forages produces eggs with bright orange yolks compared to the dull, pale yellow yolks produced by other hens. WE ARE WHAT WE EAT!
The Perfect Peel
Now that we have sorted the best type of egg to purchase, I must share with you my secret to a perfect hard-boiled egg. The collection of backstories to my cookery are endless: family, friends, travel, celebratory meals, recipe books and now the internet that provides answers with just one click. However it took some digging to stumble onto this particular cooking gem.
The perfect peel is really ideal for Deviled Eggs for picnics and holidays. My deviled eggs were always pitted with rough edges which really affected the presentation. The appearance made it definitely less appetizing. The elusive cooking method to produce an easy peel has been a game changer. An in depth google search landed me with an insider tip that completely surprised me.
No matter how you enjoy a hardboiled egg; in a sandwich, deviled or straight up, you can now easily prepare an easy to peel egg to create a healthy and inexpensive meal.
It’s All In The Steamer Basket
An easy smooth peel. No tough and rubbery whites. No dark tinged yolks.
The secret to a divot-free smooth peeled egg is steaming it in a Vegetable Steamer Basket. Timed to perfection your easy peel will reveal the proper texture for the white and a bright yellow yolk center. The secret of the steamer basket is the hot steam penetrates the porous shell of the eggs to create just enough separation between the shells and the eggs to make them easy to peel.
Directions For A Perfect Peel
- STEAM Add 1 inch of water to a large pot. Place veggie steamer basket insert inside, add 6-8 large eggs to steamer basket in a single layer, and cover. Bring to a boil over high heat and continue cooking: Start timer as soon as you turn on the stovetop- 16 minutes for hard-boiled.
- Place oven mitts on and remove basket from water. Immediately place eggs in a pot with ice cubes and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before peeling.
- The Deal on Peeling. Remove ice. Cover the pot, and shake vigorously so that the eggs crack all over. Peel under cold running water, starting at the large end–the air pocket there will give you something to grip. The shell just slides off. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Voilà, a perfectly hard-boiled egg every time – perfect color and texture and EASY TO PEEL – DIVOT FREE.
You can peel your egg and eat it immediately on a toasted English muffin with butter and season with freshly ground Himalayan salt and pepper or make up a batch of egg salad for sandwiches. For the holidays or a family picnic try Deviled Eggs. To enhance presentation pipe the egg yolk filling with a star-tipped disposable piping bag (or cut off the corner of a plastic sandwich bag).
Egg Salad Sandwich
Boil and peel 4 eggs. Use a fork or potato masher to mash them. If you want to go simple just mix in 1/3 cup mayo made with cage free eggs and sprinkle with fresh ground pepper and salt. Or you can dress it up with a smidge of each: finely diced dill pickle, celery and onion.
Now you have a great sandwich filler for thick sliced whole wheat bread, pita, wraps or croissants. Makes for 2 hefty sandwiches or 4 small ones.
Having a Tea Party? Use white bread, cut off the crusts and cut on an angle to make pretty sandwiches. Alfalfa sprouts make a nice added addition. Just be sure you start off right with Pasture Raised eggs.
For more adventures in cooking with eggs check out the book “Eggs”, written by French (3-star Michelin) chef Michel Roux. It teaches you how to cook every style of egg. There is information and recipes galore. Bon Appétit!