When a fresh egg just won’t do

February 24, 2009 | By | Comments (3)


Hbeggs Simmered eggs (aka hard-boiled eggs). These were a breeze to peel, and they’re tender.
Every cook of any experience knows the frustration of boiling a nice fresh egg—and then losing half of it in the peeling. We’ve been through this a few times with our flock‘s output. Now we’re patient: We wait three days for the membrane to loosen up.  Otherwise, it clings to the white like Kevlar on Batman. For the scientific particulars of why this happens (with the egg, I mean), see the wonderful chapter on eggs in Harold McGee’s On Food and Cooking.

Beyond patience, it’s important to simmer, not boil, your egg if you want tender whites. That’s why some cookbooks and magazine recipes call for “hard-cooked” instead of “hard-boiled” eggs, out of worry that readers will rush to the stove and boil their half-dozen till they’re practically bouncy.

Our last pearl of wisdom: Immediately plunge the cooked egg into ice water. This forces the membrane to release its grip from the white. Then crack it gently all over and put it back in the ice bath for a few minutes, so water can seep in beneath the shell, further loosening what’s below.

Here’s a foolproof formula for

Simmered Eggs

Put eggs that are at least 3 days old in a small saucepan and cover with about an inch of water. Bring almost to a boil. Right before the boiling point, turn heat down to a simmer and cook eggs, partly covered, for 10 minutes. Scoop them out with a slotted spoon and plunge them into a bowl of ice and cold water. After a minute, take each one out, crack it gently all over and then roll it gently on the counter, and plop it back in the water.

Let sit 5 minutes. Peel under cold water and enjoy feeling the shell slip off the smooth surface of the egg.


  1. joper flop

    Yes! i love eggs! great advice! bring on the hot sauce!

    March 5, 2009 at 8:20 pm
  2. Margo True

    Glad to help! I’ll be posting about poached eggs next. That’s when you DO want a fresh egg.

    March 5, 2009 at 3:40 am
  3. Chef Knives

    Thanks for this great tip on hard boiled eggs. I’ve heard all sorts of suggestions for getting eggs to peel easily…I never thought of simply peeling them underwater. The egg does have a wonderful feel with the shell removed. Great post!

    March 1, 2009 at 11:25 pm

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s