NEW YORK | I love eating deviled eggs and egg salad, but I had been avoiding making either because it was so much trouble peeling the eggs. I researched the subject online and tried many of the techniques that promised perfectly smooth eggs. I even went so far as to purchase an egg holder for my pressure cooker. None of these “a-ha” techniques were any better than the way I’ve always boiled eggs.
Peeling them was a struggle, and they were left looking pockmarked and homely.
Then this summer, I visited my friend Kirsten. She had a dozen perfectly peeled eggs in her refrigerator. I thought maybe she had succumbed to buying the mass-market boiled and peeled eggs. But no.
Her secret — which I’m now revealing — is that you crack the egg on the bottom (that’s the egg’s larger side, while the top is the more pointed side). I had always cracked my hard-boiled eggs on the side.
When I got home, I boiled a dozen eggs to make egg salad, tried cracking the eggs on the bottom, and it was a game changer. The eggs were much easier to peel, but it still took too long to peel them. So the next time I made boiled eggs, I went rogue and didn’t cool the eggs down first. I realized that cooling down the eggs was the only common denominator with my hard-to-peel eggs.
I was taught that you have to pour out the hot water that the eggs were boiled in and immediately cover them with cold water to prevent them from turning gray around the yolk. This may be true, but I discovered that it also makes the shell stick to the eggs. I decided to see what would happen if I peeled the eggs while they were still hot. I put on my kitchen gloves and started peeling. I cracked the bottom of the egg as Kirsten instructed me, and the egg shells literally slipped off. I peeled a dozen eggs in under five minutes. A few of the eggs did have a gray cast to the yolk, but once I sliced them and mixed them up in egg salad, you couldn’t see it.
So here’s my simple method for “easy-to-peel eggs”:
Fill a heavy-duty 4-quart pot with cold water. Gently place eggs in the pot. Bring the water to a boil and cover the pot. Turn the heat off and let the eggs sit in the hot water for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Remove the pot from the stove with the eggs inside, and place it in the sink. Remove the eggs one by one to peel them, leaving the rest in the water they were boiled in. Crack the bottom of each egg and slip the eggshell off. Rinse them in the hot water to remove any small shell fragments.
You will be shocked at how fast this method is and how foolproof. And you may be shocked to realize how much you start putting boiled eggs in your food repertoire. This summer, I rediscovered egg salad. I make it with shallots, fresh dill, mayo and a touch of strong Dijon mustard. It is great to have on hand for a protein-packed, keto-friendly lunch or even breakfast.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Elizabeth Karmel is a grilling, barbecue and Southern foods expert, and the author of four cookbooks, including the newly released “Steak and Cake.”