Originally published March 22, 2013
By Kathy Casey, former Pacific NW magazine contributor
I WISH I had known the most important “hard fact” about hard-cooked eggs when I had my first big catering job in college: Never use super-fresh eggs, because they will not peel!
But, before we jump into cooking and peeling eggs, we’ve got to talk about choosing and purchasing them. If you’ve ever puzzled over the differences between brown eggs and white eggs, wonder no longer: There aren’t any. Aside from the fact that brown eggs come from red and brown chickens, and white eggs come from white chickens, the eggs are virtually identical these days in size, taste and nutritional value.
There are many types of eggs available, and the choices can be dizzying. Grocery-store brands, farmers markets, organic, free-range, cage-free … you even can get eggs from your neighbor down the street. Most of these options have to do with personal choices about where your food comes from and the environment the chickens inhabit, but those factors also can make a difference in taste. Chickens that have been allowed to forage for their food and eat a predominantly wild diet will produce richer, more flavorful eggs. Whichever eggs you choose, look them over to ensure they are clean and free of cracks.
For easy peeling, hard-cook eggs that have been refrigerated for at least seven to 10 days. This allows time for the egg to take in some air, which helps separate the membrane from the shell. Store your eggs small-end-up or on their sides overnight before hard-cooking; this helps center the yolk.
When it comes to boiling eggs, the most frequent problem is that people often overcook them. This leads to a dark-green ring around the yolk and a funky, sulfurous taste.
Follow this method carefully: Place 1 dozen eggs in a large, nonreactive saucepan, and add cold water to 1 inch above the eggs. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove the pan from the heat, and immediately cover. Let the eggs sit covered for 15 minutes, then run cold water over the eggs in the pan until they are cooled. When cooled, carefully peel them under running water.
Emerald Asparagus & Sweet Onion Deviled Eggs
1 dozen hard-cooked eggs
12 spears baby asparagus, bottoms trimmed
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
3 tablespoons sour cream
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon finely minced fresh mint
2 tablespoons minced sweet white onion
1. In a medium pot, bring 4 cups of water to a boil, then add the asparagus and quickly blanch for 30 seconds. Immediately remove the asparagus from the boiling water and run under cold water to stop the cooking. Drain well. Cut off the tips, slice the tips in half lengthwise and reserve for garnish. Slice the stems (you should have about ½ cup), and purée in a food processor with the mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice and salt, until smooth.
2. Halve the eggs lengthwise, and transfer the yolks to a mixing bowl. Set the white halves on a platter, cover and refrigerate. With a fork, mash the yolks to a smooth consistency. Add the puréed asparagus mixture, and mix until smooth. (You can also do this using an electric mixer with a whip attachment.) Stir in the mint and onion. Taste and season accordingly.
3. Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a plain or large star tip, then pipe the mixture evenly into the egg-white halves. Or fill the eggs with a spoon, dividing the filling evenly. Top each half with one of the reserved asparagus tips.
— from “D’Lish Deviled Eggs” by Kathy Casey (Andrews McMeel Publishing, $14.99)