16.7.07

Boiled eggs


Hard-boiled eggs. What a hundrum subject, no? Is there anywhere in the world where people don´t boil eggs? I doubt it. But, is there anywhere where they eat as many boiled eggs as we do in Spain? Still doubting.

I´d never given this subject much thought. Then once, over the course of the same week, three people from three different countries said to me "oh, you Spanish and your eggs. You´re obsessed. You put eggs in everything".
If Freud spoke Spanish (and were alive, of course) he´d utter a very loud Aha! at that. For in Spanish eggs are balls. So you could argue that it´s all some macho plot. Or else you could be sensible, and say that eggs are cheap protein, and this has always been a poor, hungry country.

But still, that can´t be all. It just doesn´t make sense that vegetables are always eaten with some form of egg on them. And that hard boiled eggs make their way onto every surface, from salads to soups to sandwiches vegetales to tapas of garbanzos. It´s a joke. I don´t mind a boiled egg every now and then, but I think one must draw the line at considering them a sort of complement to salt and pepper.

To my mind, the worst insult is the dish referred to as huevos a la bandera española, or Spanish flag eggs. It consists of hard boiled eggs, hollowed, filled with whatever you can come by, smothered in bechamel, and then covered with two wide bands of tomato sauce, and a middle band of the chopped yolks.
This is clearly the invention of some separatist republican who could think of nothing worse to do to the flag. Burning one is kinder to the national symbol, I promise. Served hot, these eggs achieve the texture of the costliest rubber. Quite a feat.

Actually, the colour scheme might improve if people didn´t spoil the whole concept by doing what I beleive in technical terms is called "boiling them to buggery". Who wants a pale yellow yalk neatly ringed by grey? Come on, people! It´s grey! The only time that´s acceptable in food is in caviar. Really.

I don´t boil eggs very often, and so every time I have to look up the method. This annoys me, so I´m going to see if by writing it here, I can imprint it on my mind.

If the egg is cold from the fridge, put it in when the water is cold. If not, lower it carefully when the water comes to the boil. Once the thing is at a rolling boil, count the minutes. I think five is good for soft boiled, six should do it so it won´t be runny , and (update) eight for a firm one you can use in a sandwich.
Nigella says to put in a matchstick in the water so that the shell doesn´t crack. I don´t know if that works, but I think it´s fun.

15 comentarios:

Cottage Smallholder dijo...

Boiled eggs, poached, fried, omelettes, eggy bread we love eggs too. I agree 5 minutes for a large soft boiled egg although some of our bantams produce eggs so tiny, 2 minutes is perfect. 10 minutes for a hard boiled egg for a salad or scrummy egg mayonnaise sandwiches with cress.

I know that eggs are out at the moment (diet wise) but we continue to gobble them. Hopefully soon someone, somewhere will discover that 6 eggs a week are good for you... It always seems to happen eventually!

lobstersquad dijo...

Fiona, I think I let my enthusiasm for orange yolks run away with me. I´ve added the eight minute note, thanks for reminding me.
and let´s hope those diet people find out at some point that eggs are the best thing you could ever have.

Pille dijo...

Eggs are balls in Estonian, too - muna(d) - what a coincidence, eh..
I quite like boiled eggs, stuffed or not. But huevos a la bandera española do sound a wee bit OTT to me..
I've never heard of that matchstick trick. I wonder what's the explanation behind it? Must ask K.

Lydia dijo...

I love hard boiled eggs; I make a dozen at a time, peel them, and keep them in the refrigerator. My boiling method is simple. Put cold eggs into cold water (cover the eggs by one inch). Bring to a rolling boil, then cover the pot. Turn off the heat, remove the pot, and let it sit, covered, for 12 minutes. Then run the eggs under cold water, and peel.

SMASH dijo...
Este comentario ha sido eliminado por el autor.
Angie dijo...

Ditto with lydia on the boiled egg method. I have a question though...Sometimes eggs are really easy to peel and sometimes the shell gets stuck to the egg making ugly dimpled eggs while peeling. Does anyone have any tips on ensuring a good peel? Perhaps this is the last cold water step in lydia's comment.

RedDoll dijo...

My mouth is watering! All this talk of eggs... My daughter is allergic to eggs and I miss them so... I think this weekend when she is out I am going to have to sneak some eggs into the house and have a few hardboiled!

xps dijo...

Esperanza, Esperanza, tu no sabes bailar cha cha cha!!!

nopisto dijo...

Yes there are people who eats mor biled eggs than the spanish, take a look to the film "Cool hand Luke", where Paul Newman eats 50 in a row ;-)

Blanche dijo...

Me siguen gustando más tus dibujos que los huevos.... Cómo son las gallinas!

Homesick Texan dijo...

My boiled eggs often suffer from grey yolks, which is ugly, but they taste just as good. Hopefully someday I'll master the technique so they'll be pretty and yellow.

Anónimo dijo...

My mother used to overboil the eggs and my sister and I called them "dinosaur eyes" because when she peeled those eggs, you could see the greyish yolk. I know it's a childish and disgusting thing but we keep on calling like this now.

Rosa dijo...

I love your witty illustrations and posts! Angie, the fresher the eggs are the more likely the shells will be hard to peel. It's best to boil eggs that have been around for a while - within reason, of course!

SteamyKitchen dijo...

matchstick? I've never heard of that nifty technique.

i personally like my eggs fried with (gasp) spam.

(shamefully hangs head)

Meghan dijo...

yes, running cold water over the eggs after they're done boiling will help the peels come off easier.

and to make sure the yolks are yellow and not grey/green, lydia's method above is the best. putting them in the cold water also helps them not crack. i usually let them sit in the boiling water for about 60 seconds, then turn off the heat, cover, and let sit for 12 minutes.

perfect yellow fluffy yolks every time.

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