Growing up, whenever our family went on a day trip to the beach, or for a long haul in the car, we would pack a few “picnic eggs”. Picnic eggs in our family were just hardboiled eggs that had been lovingly pre-peeled, had a dash of salt and pepper and paprika and were kept ready to eat in a Tupperware container or in baggies. No need to re-heat, they were good cold, or even room temperature.
Being out on the road with no food in the car puts you in a bad situation, especially if you have kids – the only places to eat off the highway are fast food restaurants. All the ethics and health issues aside, do you really want to be driving for hours with kids who’ve just sucked back a litre of pop each? And seriously, if you do it once it’s an instant tradition – in a kid’s mind anyway. Nip that in the bud and always carry picnic eggs on road trips!
As I grew up I figured out that a picnic egg could be smashed up with mayonnaise and a few finely chopped crunchy vegetables and made into a magical sandwich filling called “egg salad.” Later still, I was introduced to the beauty of the deviled egg, and all its diabolical variations. But it all boils down to, as it were, the humble hard boiled egg.
Boiling an egg can be a gamble if you don’t time it right. Too little time will result in a soft boiled egg,, and too much boiling will result in a tough, overly hard egg with the tell-tale greenish covering around the yolk.
There are numerous methods to making your boiled egg just right. I’ve worked in several restaurant kitchens and this method always worked, resulting in an egg that was picture perfect; the white firm and the yolk just cooked. No green liner and no blob of uncooked yolk in the middle.
1) Gently put all your eggs in one basket, or in this case, pot. Cover eggs with cold water.
2) When water begins to boil, reduce heat to just simmering and continue cooking for another six minutes for small eggs, seven minutes for large.
3) Remove from heat and drain. Place eggs in cold water until they have cooled off enough to handle. Adding ice or changing the water a few times depending on how much of a rush you are in.
4) When eggs have cooled, run the egg over a counter top or cutting board and crackle the shell. Then immersing the egg in cold water, and starting at the narrow end of the egg, peel it, making sure to peel the membrane as well.
5) Place peeled eggs back in cold water.
Now that you have a perfectly cooked and peeled hard-boiled eggsyou are good to go. Season them well with salt, pepper and smokey paprika and place a few in a baggie. Behold the picnic egg. With an apple and a piece of buttered bread, it’s a quick, nutritious instant snack that will save you and your family from these guys: