Tom: What's the best way to peel a hard-boiled egg?
Q. What’s the right way to peel a hard-boiled egg? What happens all the time is that after I crack it, the shell only breaks away in tiny flakes, and it takes forever to get them all off.
A. This question come sup about every six weeks on the radio show, which is long enough for me to forget the technique every time. I’m glad you asked now, when I can get the story into the database once and for all. This will also allow people who have different methods to post them here.
And there are many methods, most of what are only marginally effectual. Adding vinegar or salt to the water, for example, seems not to help the problem.
Here is what we know:
1. Don’t use really fresh eggs. The lady across the street from me raises chickens. The yard eggs are wonderful for scrambling ad poaching, but not very good for boiling. It seems that old eggs–like the ones you get at the supermarket most of the time–come our much better when boiled than fresh ones do.
2. Start the boiling with extreme temperature contrast. This means take them right out of the refrigerator and shock them in a lot of water at a rolling boil.
3. Finish the boil at a simmer. After a minute or less (if you’re only doing one or two eggs–another minute for five or six), lower the heat to a low simmer and let them go for nine minutes for medium eggs to 12 minutes for extra-large.
4. Chill them right away in ice water. Wait until they’re cold throughout–five minutes a longer, with a change of ice cubes–before trying to peel them.
5. Break the egg on the ends, not on the sides. You start with the fat end: one whack on the counter. Then the more pointed end, again with one good tap. Then peel.
Alternate trick: Before starting, shove a needle through the shell about half an inch deep on both ends before starting the boiling process, as above.
All right. Let’s hear from you with your favorite method. This one I know works.
This post originally appeared on Tom's website, NOMenu.com