Who needs a recipe to boil an egg? As it turns out: I did! I love using eggs in salads, they add a richness and body that can turn a simple side into a meal. The problem is that boiled eggs can be tricky: if underdone they make a mess, if overdone the yolks are chalky and unpleasant. So I’ve worked on a low-fuss, reliable way to get my boiled eggs Just So for salads, with the following requirements:
- The yolks must be as soft as possible while still holding in the egg when cut and (gently) tossed into a salad. Oozy eggs are great for other uses, but not my salads. Chalky eggs are good for nothing!
- It must work on standard sized eggs (around 55-57g, sold as large in Australia).
- It must work on eggs from the fridge. I don’t want to have to wait for eggs to come to room temperature, as that takes a long (and variable) amount of time.
- It must eliminate as many variables as possible, so it is reliable. For example, I don’t like methods where the eggs are put into cold water then brought to the boil, because the time to boil varies based on several factors (volume of water, heat of stove, starting water temperature).
After a bit of experimentation, I have a method that delivers all of the above, and is almost foolproof. Behold the results:
As you can see the yolks are barely set, so they squish a little when cutting but hold in the whites. You can even quarter the eggs with care and the yolks will stay in place. These are my Perfect Salad Eggs!
- 55g eggs, from the fridge
- Prepare a bowl full of room temperature water, deep enough to cover the eggs, for cooling later.
- Heat a saucepan of water so that it is barely simmering, i.e. you see only a few bubbles rising.
- Using a spoon, carefully add each egg to the water. To avoid the shells cracking (from the sudden temperature change), dip and remove each egg a couple of times before gently lowering them to the bottom of the pan. This is the only part of the process that could go wrong, so take a little care.
- Keep the water on a bare simmer for 7 minutes, then drain and immediately add the eggs to the bowl of room temperature water to cool.
- When the eggs are cool enough to handle peel them by tapping the bottom on a hard surface to crack, then working the shell off from the bottom up with your fingertips.
- Leave the eggs whole until ready to serve, then halve (or quarter) and toss gently into your salad.