I know it seems too simple to bother writing about, but I really do believe there is a “right” way to hard-cook an egg. Most mornings I start my day with a hard-cooked egg since it’s a good source of protein, and when cooked this way . . . the Right Way . . . it is tender and delicious.
I used to call these hard-boiled eggs, but I stopped using the word ‘boiled’ when I found the Right Way stopped boiling them. You see, eggs don’t like to be cooked at high temperatures; they turn tough when you boil them. This method is really easy, and the results are much better.
I have also been using free-range organic eggs for a while, and I believe the flavour is much better. The eggs in the photo are from London Heritage Farm in Steveston, BC. It’s a great place to cycle to for tea and a scone in the their tea house, and a walk through the garden.
What you need:
- one large free-range organic egg
- salt and freshly ground pepper – optional
What you do:
- Place the egg in a small pot and add enough water to cover the egg. Place the pot, with the lid on, on high heat and bring to a simmer – just before it begins to boil, turn the heat off.
- Keep the pot on the burner that has been turned off, with the lid on. Set a timer for 11 minutes. (Give it a few extra minutes at high altitudes)
- Pour the hot water out of the pot, then cover the egg with cold water for a moment.
- Crack and peel the egg, salting and peppering if desired. Eat it while it’s hot!
You can use the same method to make devilled eggs, egg salad sandwich, or any other recipe that calls for hard-boiled eggs.
This might look a little odd – like green eggs without the ham – but it’s pretty darn good. And a healthier alternative to using mayonnaise in a sandwich.
I developed this simple recipe out of necessity – I had a half an avocado that needed to be used up, and I was hungry and didn’t have much food in the house. So instead of the usual egg salad sandwich I made and enjoyed this:
What you need for one sandwich:
- one large free-range egg
- 1/4 to 1/2 a ripe avocado
- salt and pepper
- 2 slices bread of your choice
What you do:
- Place the egg in a small pot filled with water and put a lid on the pot. The water needs to cover the egg. Turn the heat to high and bring the water to a boil. Turn the heat off as soon as it begins to boil, and set a timer for 11 minutes, keeping the lid on the pot. This method of making a “boiled” egg without actually boiling it ensures that your egg will be tender – boiling can cause the egg to become rubbery.
- Drain the hot water off the egg and immerse it in cold water. I like to crack the egg while it is in the water because this helps to get the peel off easily.
- Mash the avocado in a bowl and add some salt and pepper. When the egg has cooled somewhat, cut it up and add it to the avocado. Mix the egg and avocado together.
- Toast your bread.
- Pile the egg mixture on top of the bread and eat it right away.
Niçoise salad makes a great meal salad. I made this one in the summer, and am finally getting around to posting it now. Of course you can make it in the winter, but just make sure to try to get the freshest tasting ingredients. A good bet for tasty winter tomatoes is to buy cherry tomatoes; they seem to have more flavour. It is still September, so I still have a few tomatoes on the vine that I’m going to use to make this again soon.
Oops! I never measure when I make salad dressings, so I’ve given approximations. When the dressing is mixed you’ll have to taste and see if you need a little more of anything.
Part of what makes this a successful recipe is that you add some of the dressing to the potatoes while they are hot. When they are still hot they absorb the dressing really well. No more of those cold, bland potatoes sitting on the side of your niçoise salad!
What you need for the salad:
- one large free-range egg per person
- fresh green beans, or a mixture of green and yellow
- tender salad greens
- new potatoes, cut in half
- olives (niçoise if you can find them – I could not – kalamata work too)
- (niçoise salad often has tuna on it; add that if you wish)
For the dressing:
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- freshly ground pepper
- white wine vinegar
- olive oil
What you do:
- Begin by placing the eggs in a small pot; cover with a lid and let this heat up until they have just barely reached a boil. Now turn off the heat, keep the lid on and set the timer for 12 minutes. Pour the hot water out of the pot and place the eggs in cold water. There are many methods for boiling egg – in this one we don’t actually boil it; boiling an egg makes it tougher. 12 minutes works for a large egg; use more or less time with different sizes of eggs, and longer if you are at a high altitude. When they have cooled (I actually like to add them when they are still slightly warm) you can peel and quarter them.
- Place the halved potatoes in a pot with some salted water and bring to a boil. Cook until you can pierce the potato easily with a sharp knife. You will need to prepare the dressing while they are cooking.
- Chop the onion. Add the Dijon, sugar, a pinch of salt and a few grindings of pepper to a bowl. Mix the onion into this. Now slowly add a few tablespoons of white wine vinegar as you mix with a fork until combined. Drizzle in a few tablespoons of olive oil, constantly mixing with the fork, and stopping to taste as you go. Add as much olive oil as you think tastes good, then adjust the salt and pepper to taste.
- When the potatoes are cooked, drain the water. Keep the potatoes in the pot and add about half of the dressing to them while they are still hot, and then give them a gentle stir. Set them aside to cool.
- Bring another liberally salted pot of water to a boil while you clean and cut the ends off the beans. Some of the salt will absorb into the beans as they cook. Have a large bowl of ice water waiting for the beans when they come out. Cook them for only a few minutes; they should still be bright green and tender-crisp. I say better to err on the side of undercooked. As soon as they are done, drain the boiling water and add the beans to the ice bath. Leave them there until completely cooled. This stops the cooking process, so you don’t end up with sad wilted beans. I like to drain them and then roll them in a clean dish cloth to dry them off.
- Wash the tomatoes and cut into wedges if you are not using cherry tomatoes.
- Toss the salad greens with a little bit of dressing, then arrange on the plate. Decorate with the beans, potatoes, eggs tomatoes and olives. You can add a drizzle more dressing if you want. I like to add another little sprinkle of salt and pepper to the top.