How to prepare the perfect hard-boiled egg

A lifetime ago, I was headed home from my job in Boston when I drove right into the ‘Blizzard of 1978″.  I, and about a hundred others, ended up abandoning our cars on the highway and taking shelter in a Data General warehouse. By mid-morning the next day, the hungry crowd had emptied all the vending machines and the kitchen, save for cases and cases of eggs, which a part-time cook, an unlucky guy who got trapped along with rest of us, hard-boiled for the crowd.

To this day, I haven’t eaten another hard-boiled egg.

But as fate would have it, one of my clients asked for a braciole, at the heart of which is, you guessed it, hard-boiled eggs. It has been so long since I’d prepared them, I had to look up a recipe.

The Perfect Hard-Boiled Egg
Serves 4

4 fresh, whole eggs
A high, rather that wide, sauce pan 
A bowl of ice water

Place your eggs in the pan and cover with at least 1″ of cold water…for 4 eggs, we’re talking about 2 quarts of water.  Bring just to a boil, remove from heat, cover the pan, and let sit for exactly 17 minutes. Seriously.

When the time is up, transfer the eggs to the bowl of ice water. Chill for two minutes while bringing the water back to a boil. The two-minute chill will shrink the body of the egg from the shell.

Return the eggs to the boiling water for 10 seconds. This will help the shell expand from the egg itself.  Return the eggs to the ice water, gently cracking the egg-shell by tapping it in several places on the counter. To prevent dark lines forming around the yolk, leave the eggs in the ice water for 15-20 minutes before peeling.

To peel, start at the large end. Holding the egg under a gentle stream of cold running water, start peeling. When you’re done, return them to the ice water so they’ll continue to cool.

You can safely store the eggs in the water, uncovered, for 2-3 days in the refrigerator.

Recipe: courtesy, “Julia Child: The Way To Cook”
Photo: courtesy,

Kent McDonald is a Certified Personal Chef, living and working in Phoenix, AZ. (c) All rights reserved, 2012

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