Unless you have a tried and true method cooking an egg can be a daunting task. You can’t bite it to check for doneness as you would a string bean, or poke it like a steak, or throw it against the wall like a strand of spaghetti. It sits there in its shell and the only way to check for doneness is to crack that shell to reveal the yolk & white in whatever state of doneness they’re in.
If underdone there is really no way to rectify the situation, once the shell is cracked you can’t put the egg back into boiling water. So, a foolproof cooking method is needed.
Good thing there are about 50 to choose from.
Rather than have you try all these methods to find the one that works best for you, I’m going to give you two that work wonderfully. The key to success with both – an egg timer.
First up is the method prescribed on the Egg Farmers of Ontario website, which goes like this:
Here’s how easy it is to hard-cook eggs:
1. Choose eggs that have been in your refrigerator for about a week. They will be easier to peel than fresh eggs but will still have the same great taste and nutrient value.
2. Place cold eggs in a single layer in a saucepan. Fill the saucepan so the eggs are covered with at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) of cold water.
3. Bring the water to a boil over high heat (with lid on or off, as you wish). When the water reaches a boil, immediately cover the saucepan and remove it from the heat to stop the water from boiling.
4. Let the eggs stand in the water, covered, for 18 to 23 minutes (the eggs cook while standing in the boiled water). A large egg will take 18 to 20 minutes. Be sure to set a timer.
That method is probably the most popular but it’s not one I use because it forces the cook to know and react as soon as the water reaches a boil. My favourite method that requires nothing from the cook except to set the timer is this one:
1. Place eggs in a saucepan of cold water.
2. Put the pan on high heat, uncovered and set timer for 17 minutes.
3. When timer goes off, remove eggs to an ice bath.
This is the method used in most professional kitchens and it works beautifully. Try it next time you’re craving an egg salad sandwich or, better yet, devilled eggs!