Every year around this time millions of eggs are hard-boiled, artistically decorated and then thrown into the garbage. Frankly, that’s probably just as well. Because most hard-boiled eggs are pretty terrible. The whites are rubbery, the yolks are pale and mealy and, even worse, surrounded by that sulfur-green ring of shame.
Cooking hard-boiled eggs is easy; cooking them right is not. Unless you know what you’re doing. Then it’s as close to a foolproof no-brainer as you can get in the kitchen.
Here’s what you do: Arrange the eggs in a single layer in a wide pan. Cover them generously with water. Bring them to a boil without covering the pan. Turn off the heat and let them stand for about 15 minutes. That’s it. The white is firm but still slightly creamy, the yolk is deep orange and rich.
I learned this method almost 20 years ago the old-fashioned way — from somebody’s mom. I’d spent a week or so digging around in cookbooks and talking to cooks to come up with almost a dozen different techniques for hard-cooking eggs. But I wasn’t totally happy with any of them.
Then a co-worker laughed and said her mom’s way was the best. How often have you heard that? Out of desperation I thought I’d give it a try. And it worked perfectly.
Today, the broad outline of that technique seems pretty well accepted. Google “perfect hard-boiled egg” and the first dozen or so hits will be some variation on it. But it still seems that every writer requires some specific little twist. All of them are unnecessary.
Just stick with the original. When something is so simple and works so well, there’s no need to complicate it.