How to Hard-Boil an Egg
When Robin was a teenager, she was asked to help in the kitchen at an aunt’s house. The assignment—hard-boiled eggs. Her aunt was stunned to find that Robin did not know how to cook this simple food. Nanny did all the cooking for Robin and this may have been one of the first times Robin realized she had to start taking “lessons” from her grandmother.
There are a few “tricks” to egg cookery. The first, for hard boiling, it is not necessary to use the freshest eggs. In fact, the freshest eggs when cooked will be difficult to peel. We start by placing 4 eggs in a medium pot, covering them with cold water. We want the eggs to be completely submerged and the water to come an inch or so above the eggs. The freshest eggs will lay flat in the cold water, but older eggs will stand more vertically. Any eggs that float would be too old and are discarded.
The second “trick” is to not actually boil the eggs. We put the pot of water and eggs on the stove and heat over medium high heat. When the water comes to a boil, we cover, and remove from the heat. At this time we set the timer for 15 minutes (Nanny cooks them a little longer, 17-20 minutes depending on their size).
The third “trick” is to cool them quickly. While the eggs are being timed, we set up an ice-water bath in a large bowl. When the eggs are done, we carefully drain out the water from the pot and let cold water run in. We lift the eggs out and place in the ice water.
After 10 minutes or so, we remove them from the ice water, place them in a bowl, cover, and refrigerate. They will last several days.
When it is time to eat one, we crack it on a paper towel lined counter and peel under running water, discarding the egg shells.