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Eggs have prominent role during Easter, use after the holiday’s overOriginally Published March 28, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated March 27, 2013 at 9:55 a.m.
Eggs are a familiar common denominator throughout history and nature. They are the basis of life itself and have always been viewed as a symbol of fertility and renewal by many cultures and religions, with varying explanations. One thing that is constant with an egg, though, is that it will play a star role on the Easter holiday.
Eggs are a staple in the fridge and on the plate. They are nutritious, easy to prepare and readily available. Their components lend the sweet airiness to meringues and the silky smoothness to mayonnaise. Easter, though, dictates the preparation that can stump even the most accomplished cook — hard-boiled. The basic task has been such a killer in the kitchen that the quintessential authority on cooking, Julia Child, included instructions in at least one of her cookbooks, The Way to Cook. According to her writings, the basic instructions came from the Georgia Egg Board, and she perfected it.
What would seem like a straightforward task involving the most basic ingredients, only boiling water and the egg itself, is fraught with pitfalls. Unattractive green rings around the yolk, exploding eggs, cracked shells and unevenly cooked yolks are common nerve-shattering events; then comes the decorating.
The Internet offers more options than can be counted or completed, when all one really needs to dye eggs is grocery-store-brand food coloring, a little vinegar and hot water. Choose glass containers (any color residue will easily come clean in the dishwasher). Add a teaspoon of household vinegar, half a cup of very hot water and about 20 drops of food coloring. Lower the boiled egg carefully into the cup and let rest for about 20 minutes. Remove the egg with tongs or a clean spoon, and let dry completely on a rack.
But what to do with all these hard-boiled eggs after the hunt is over? Deviled eggs, egg-olive salad and eggs sliced into salads are obvious choices, but for variety, you can spice up your mixtures with sriracha or wasabi for zing, top with bacon for a savory twist, or try one of the recipes below for something new.
THE PERFECT HARD-BOILED EGG
Recipe by Julia Child, The Way to Cook
3 1/2 quarts water (water should cover the eggs by 1 inch — so use a tall pan with a tight fitting cover, and cook no more than 2 dozen eggs at a time.)
Large bowl with water and ice cubes — enough to completely cover the eggs.
Place the eggs in the pan in a single layer, and add the amount of cold water specified. Set over high heat and just bring to a boil; remove from heat, cover the pan, and let eggs sit exactly 17 minutes.
When the time is up, transfer the eggs to the bowl of ice cubes and water. Chill for 2 minutes while bringing the cooking water to a boil again. (This 2-minute chilling shrinks the body of the egg from the shell.)
Transfer the eggs (6 at a time only) to the boiling water, bring to the boil again, and let boil for 10 seconds — this expands the shell from the egg. Remove eggs, and place back into the ice water.
Chilling the eggs promptly after each step prevents that dark line from forming, and if time allows, leave the eggs in the ice water after the last step for 15 to 20 minutes. Chilled eggs are easier to peel, as well.
Eggs cooked this way can also be peeled neatly.
SMOKED SALMON STUFFED EGGS
5 thin slices smoked salmon, finely chopped
3 tablespoons onion, finely grated
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons finely chopped dill, plus sprigs for garnish
A few dashes hot sauce
Salt and ground black pepper
1/4 cup salmon roe (optional)
Boil the eggs, allow to cool and peel.
Halve the eggs and scoop out the yolk, reserving them in a bowl. Using a fork, mash the yolks and combine them with the chopped salmon, onion, 1/4 cup mayonnaise, chopped dill, and hot sauce, salt and pepper to taste. Make sure the mixture is smooth; transfer the mixture to a zip-top bag, squeeze the mixture to the bottom, snip off a small bit from one corner of the bag, and pipe into each of the eggs.
Garnish each egg with a sprig of dill and a few pearls of salmon roe, if desired.
Adapted from Bon Appetit
This delicious bite gained its popularity in Britain, where it is sold everywhere, from pubs to grocery stores. You can find it on many gastropub and bar menus everywhere.
6 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
8 ounces bulk breakfast sausage
Vegetable oil (for frying)
Freshly ground pepper
A deep-fry thermometer or electric deep-fryer
Hard-boil the eggs. Drain, cool and peel the eggs, then chill. (This can be done a day ahead, and eggs will be well chilled.)
Whisk two remaining uncooked eggs in a small bowl to blend. Prepare a breading station with flour in a shallow bowl, whisked eggs in a bowl, and panko crumbs in another shallow bowl. Divide sausage into 4 equal portions. Pat out one portion of sausage into a thin patty covering your palm. Lay one hard-boiled egg on top of sausage and wrap the sausage to cover the egg, sealing to completely enclose. Repeat with remaining sausage and eggs.
Working gently with one sausage-wrapped egg at a time, dip eggs into flour, shaking off excess, coat in egg wash, then in bread crumbs. Set aside to chill while the fryer heats.
In a large heavy pot or electric fryer, heat 2 inches of oil to 375 degrees. Fry eggs, turning occasionally and maintaining oil temperature of 350 degrees until sausage is cooked through and breading is golden brown and crisp, 5 to 6 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer eggs to paper towels to drain. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Serve warm with your favorite mustard.