As more and more of us receive our vaccines to protect us from Covid-19, we are filled with hope. The greatest of these is the hope of a family get together. It has been over a year since any such event has happened for us here in South Carolina and far longer since we have seen the New Jersey branch of the family. With thoughts of these gatherings comes thoughts of the food we share. With the South Carolina gatherings, comes the probability of large amounts of potato salad and the certainty that deviled eggs will be a part of the menu. It is a given. Any omission of the deviled eggs gets met with questioning and dismay. It is such an old fashioned, simple dish, but eternally loved in this family. It is actually the first thing I learned to cook as a child from my Better Homes and Gardens Junior Cook Book.
I will admit though, that there have been times that I have wanted to pull my hair out while attempting to peel massive amounts of hard boiled eggs for gatherings with friends and family. You see, I am of the mind that both potato salad and deviled eggs are better on the same day so making them too far in advance isn’t an option. So there have been times in my life that I’ve had a bit of a meltdown knowing that people would arrive soon and having one egg after another stick to the shell and have the appearance of having already been gnawed upon by something or somebody. If I was making potato salad and deviled eggs, not so bad… just set those aside for the salad and hope to get as many pretty eggs as possible for the deviled eggs, but let’s face it, this is no way to live.
So, for a long time I was on a quest. I tried all sorts of different methods to consistently make easy to peel hard boiled eggs. I tried adding salt or vinegar or salt and vinegar to the water. Fail. I remember trying some method where you boiled the eggs, shocked them, then returned them to the hot water momentarily. I tried making sure I was using my oldest eggs. I made sure I started peeling from the wide end of the egg. The results were always consistently inconsistent.
Once when Tom returned home from a visit with his family in New Jersey, he brought back an interesting gadget called the Hammerhead Products Eggsact Eggtimer. It’s a sort of funny story. He was with my sister-in-law in a cooking shop when they came across the odd looking red egg shaped item and must have had a discussion about it. Tom moved on, but Marie decided she’d buy one. Actually, Marie bought two. She opted to surprise Tom and by extension me with our own little egg timer by placing one in Tom’s luggage. Tom was indeed surprised when TSA discovered the egg timer and pulled him aside to question him about it and determine whether or not it was a risk to public safety! They eventually concluded that it was okay to board the flight with the egg timer. After arriving home, he tossed the little red egg to me while scowling, “Here. This is from my sister”. Does the egg timer work? Actually it does, but it still doesn’t make an egg easier to peel.
Eventually, I found not just one, but two ways to make an easy peel egg. The secret may very well be not to hard boil at all. My first discovery was to learn that my electric pressure cooker can do the trick. Not only does it consistently make eggs that are easy to peel, you can cook a lot of them all at once. I have a Cuisinart pressure cooker and the method is easy. Place the rack in the bottom of the pot, place eggs on the rack, add 1 cup of water, cook on low pressure for 6 minutes, quick release then place the eggs in an ice water bath. I do not have an Instant Pot, but the method that seems to be popular is the 5, 5, 5 method. Five minutes to come to pressure, 5 minutes of cook time, and then 5 minutes natural release. I just made a batch of pressure cooked eggs yesterday, and it was just as successful as ever.
The second method I found for easy peel eggs is to use the Dash Rapid Egg Cooker. I was looking for a method to cook eggs at work that had a closed heating element and came across this little device. I was discussing it with Ray and discovered that he already had one, and he strongly endorsed it. Were the eggs really that easy to peel? He assured me they were. In fact, they are so easy to peel, and the device is so easy to use that for a while I had one egg cooker for work and another for home. This method is essentially using steam to cook the eggs. It is quick and easy and my go to method. My tip for this device is to use slightly more water than is on the measuring cup and I let the eggs sit for about 5 minutes after the timer goes off to avoid a medium cooked egg.
In life it is good to sometimes remind yourself not to sweat the small stuff and for me, that includes peeling eggs.