What draws us to Culinary Arts as a profession? What makes us want to share our knowledge as instructors?
Each of us at Elizabethtown Community and Technical College will have our own answers to these questions, though some responses may show up more frequently than others: love of cooking, family business or television.
Whatever the reason, we all have a need to eat and some of us are more particular about what we eat and how it is prepared than others.
What I will try to do is give you some tips on how we do things in a professional kitchen and share some insights from my culinary trip.
Let’s investigate the use of the simple egg in cuisine. If you are familiar with the tall hats that chefs are prone to wear, you know they are called a “toque” and if you are really into culinary lore you know there should be 101 folds or creases in the toque. Each crease is supposed to represent a different way the chef can prepare an egg. I am not going to attempt to teach you all 101 ways in this article, just one.
We often boil eggs for use in salads, garnishes, or to use by themselves. Now when we boil eggs, if we don’t pay attention to the process we use, we don’t get the best product.
How often when you boil eggs at home do you end up with a green outer color to your egg yolk? If you say quite often, then you are doing something wrong. I challenge students to produce a perfectly boiled egg, one that completely is cooked yet minus that green ring. I must now insert a disclaimer: any times I provide are based on using our stove, our heavy bottomed pots and all the other influences we have at our location such as ambient temperature and relation to sea level so on and so forth.
The bottom line is you will have to adjust my cooking times to your particular environment. Once you find that “groove” you simply repeat as needed.
Now to the actual process:
• One heavy bottomed sauce pan or small brazier with lid.
• Eggs, as needed
• Cold water to cover eggs by one inch.
• Stove, hot plate etc.
• Place eggs in sauce pan and cover with water.
• Place on surface unit and turn heat to medium.
• Bring water to a roiling boil.
• Remove pan from heat and put lid on top.
• Wait 17 minutes, then remove one egg and peel it. Check to ensure the yolk is fully cooked and you should not have the infamous “green ring.” If not fully cooked, leave the remainder of your eggs in the hot water for another minute then remove one more and check how well it’s done.
• Once you reach that magical point where your eggs perfectly are done, drain off the hot water.
• Crack the shells of the remaining eggs and cover with cold water to stop the cooking process. By cracking the eggs you allow the cold water to get between the membrane and the egg itself, hopefully making it easier to peel.
• You don’t need to add salt or vinegar to the water, they don’t make it any easier to peel the eggs — at least in my experience.
Now you properly have prepared hard-boiled eggs. Dig out your favorite recipe for deviled eggs or possibly egg salad or just enjoy them on your garden salad.
This is not the only way to achieve a hard-boiled egg minus the “green ring,” just one I have found to work in our kitchen and hopefully in yours.