For the past six years, I've helped a friend prepare foods for his annual Christmas party and the chore I hate the most is peeling hard-boiled eggs--especially the eight dozen eggs he requires. Each dozen gets its own recipe treatment. This onerous chore is made maddening by the peeling of the shells, which resist easy peeling no matter how much of the shell is cracked. Inevitably half of the egg-whites come off with the shells. The result is unattractive egg halves which then need to be stuffed. Hiding those ugly, pock-marked egg white halves is a challenge.
We have run them under cold water. We have pricked holes in one end to create an air pocket. We've used eggs that are five weeks old. Nothing seems to work. Until now.
I was recently reading Food52, the popular food community website created by Amanda Hesser and Meryl Stubbs. There I found a posting by one of the members that suggested the perfect and full-proof technique of steaming for soft, medium or hard boiled eggs. It works, it really works. I've now steamed dozens of eggs for breakfast, for egg salad, etc., and the shells practically come off by themselves. A relatively soft-boiled egg is done in six minutes once the water comes to a boil in the steaming vessel. Medium boiled will take seven or eight minutes. I allow a full 10 minutes for hard-boiled eggs.
Whatever version I want, I remove the pot to the sink when I'm done and slowly allow cold water to cool down the pot and steamer and the eggs. I add a big handful of ice for hardboiled eggs and allow them to come to room temperature before peeling. For softer-boiled eggs, I allow the eggs to cool enough to handle before peeling and adding to a bowl with a little butter, salt and pepper.
This is a really good technique, so give it a try the next time you're in the mood for deviled eggs!