When I was in culinary school, there was an entire class devoted to egg cookery.
That’s because in the restaurant business, eggs are one of the things you cook the most. You need to be able to cook eggs any style quickly, with several different types of eggs going at the same time: Over easy, scrambled, poached, over medium, omelets. Behind the line during the breakfast rush, it can get pretty complicated quickly.
Depending on the restaurant, eggs are cooked either in non-stick pans or on the big skillet. The key to mastering egg cookery is simply practice. After the first day on the job, after you’ve dropped dozens of eggs on the floor and accidentally broken countless yolks (you need to start over), eventually you get the hang of it.
One of the simplest methods for cooking eggs is hard boiling them. To get perfect hard boiled eggs that are easy to peel every time, there are a couple things to remember:
1. Older eggs work better than fresh eggs. If you are planning on making hard boiled eggs, use the eggs that have been sitting in your refrigerator for awhile. They will be easier to peel later.
2. It’s almost impossible to overcook hard boiled eggs. If you do, the worst thing that will happen will be that the outside of the yolk will become a little green. Once you mix all the hard boiled eggs together into a salad, you won’t even notice it.
3. Start your eggs barely covered in cold water. This will reduce the likelihood of the eggs cracking when you boil them because they won’t jump around as much.
4. To keep the egg whites from seeping out if they do crack, add a capful of vinegar to the water. This won’t effect the taste much and will discourage the whites from leaving the shell.
5. Bring the cold water to a boil, reduce it to a simmer and let simmer only about 2 or 3 minutes. Then turn the heat off, cover and let the eggs sit for about 15 to 20 minutes. Then pour out the hot water and replace it with cold water and let the eggs sit another 15 to 20 minutes.
These same principles apply whether you are hard boiling one egg or one hundred eggs.
Because Sunday was Easter, a lot of people this week have an ample supply of leftover hard boiled eggs. And you know what that means: Egg salad!
1 dozen Eggs, hard boiled
1 cup Mayonnaise (Reduced fat preferred)
3 TBS Dijon mustard
Fresh cracked black pepper
1. Peel the eggs under cool running water to wash off any excess shell. One gritty peice of egg shell will ruin your egg salad. If you are using Easter eggs and some of the stain has seeped through to the egg, you can still use it, but use your best judgement because you don’t want to discolor your entire salad. Use the little air gap at the bottom of the egg to start your peel.
2. Dice eggs using either an egg dicer or a knife. Combine with mayo and mustard, season with salt and pepper and mix thoroughly.
I served mine on some whole wheat bread thins with my new favorite chip — quinoia and black bean infused tortilla chips — both of which I bought at Trader Joe’s. Add a pickle and some cole slaw and you are good to go.
If you are making devilled eggs, the procedure is the same except cut the peeled eggs in half and combine just the mashed yolks with 1/2 cup mayo and 2 TBS mustard. Then pipe or spoon the yolk mixture into the egg halves and sprinkle with paprika.
Or you can make low-cholesterol egg salad by discarding the yolks altogether.
A belated Happy Easter to everybody!