In Grandma’s day, breakfast meant some form of eggs and toast. However, because eggs contain cholesterol they were thought to raise people’s cholesterol levels and they became a restricted food – no more than three or four a week. In recent nutrition studies, it has been discovered that yes, eggs do contain cholesterol, but it does not significantly affect human cholesterol levels.
Eggs are again, just as Grandma knew, a great nutritious package to be enjoyed regularly. A high-protein, inexpensive, easy-to-digest and simple-to-prepare food, ideal for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
The technique that follows produces a quality hard-cooked egg (note, not a hard-BOILED egg). This method gives a perfect hard-cooked egg, to be savoured as a quick snack, breakfast on the run, or transformed into the recipe ideas that follow.
But first, produce a quality hard-cooked egg. Here’s how:
The perfect hard-cooked egg
Why hard-cooked rather than hard-boiled? A hard-boiled egg has a tough, rubbery texture from overcooking the protein of the egg, frequently with an unsightly dark green ring of sulfur around the yolk caused by the high heat.
Using a gentle heat creates a tender white with a bright yellow yolk free of smelly sulfur.
Arrange eggs in a single layer in a saucepan large enough to accommodate them. Do not be afraid to cook more eggs than you need because leftover eggs can be used countless ways and make an excellent snack.
Cover eggs with cold water 1 inch (2.5 cm) over eggs and bring to a simmer (water just starting to bubble, but not rapidly boiling) and simmer for 12 minutes.
Remove from heat. Drain and plunge into cold water to stop cooking process.
When cool enough to handle, crack egg completely around the middle. Immerse in cold water to allow water to seep under the shell and allow for easy shelling of the egg. Pat dry and try these recipes:
Egg salad three ways
Egg salad sandwiches are popular but the filling but can be used in other ways.
The filling can be packed into a plastic lined loaf pan and unmolded to produce a sophisticated paté. It can be heaped onto cucumber slices garnished with dill sprigs and served as an appetizer, or served as open-faced cocktail sandwiches.
6 hard-cooked eggs, shelled
1/2 cup (125 mL) low fat mayonnaise
1/2 cup (125 mL) well-drained, finely chopped pimento olives (optional)
1 ½ tsp (7 mL) curry powder
1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground cumin
1/2 tsp (2 mL) each, salt and black pepper
Grate eggs on the coarse side of a box grater. Add to mixing bowl with mayonnaise, olives, curry powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Mix with a fork to combine well. Makes enough filling for four sandwiches (about 3 cups/750 mL) or a paté or appetizers.
Spring salad with hard-cooked eggs
The bright appearance of sliced hard-cooked eggs adds colour to this zesty salad.
8 cups (2 L) arugula
2 cups (500 mL) cooked, shelled shrimp
1 cup (250 mL) orange or grapefruit sections
1/2 cup (125 mL) fresh dill sprigs
4 hard-cooked eggs, halved
1/4 cup (60 mL) each, fresh lemon juice and vegetable oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
1/4 tsp (1 mL) fresh black pepper
In a salad bowl, toss together arugula, shrimp, oranges and dill sprigs. Toss with enough dressing to coat leaves; garnish with eggs. To make dressing: whisk together lemon juice, oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Pour into jar.
Jan Main is an author, cooking instructor and caterer ~ firstname.lastname@example.org