Hard Boiled Eggs - Recipe Ideas
This is an ode to the perfect hard-boiled free-range egg. Packed in this tiny ovoid are gloriously rich 'egg-y' flavour, textural interest of springy white against creamy yolk, and stunning good looks of smooth curves of stark white against rich yellow.
Stuffed Hard-Boiled Eggs
Stuffed hard-boiled eggs, in which the yolks are removed and blended with other ingredients and replaced, are easy-to-make visually attractive finger food. Imagination is the only limit to flavour possibilities.
Shrimp is a very popular addition to the stuffing. There are a myriad variations of shrimp-stuffed egg alone, depending on the seasonings used. The Spanish finish their rendtion - Huevos Rellenos de Gambas - off by blanketing the stuffed eggs with a light wine sauce and baking them for 10 minutes.
There's also the Spanish salmon-stuffed eggs (Huevos Rellenos de Salmon ). Hard-boiled eggs stuffed with flaked salmon and dipped into a béchamel sauce. They are then refrigerated until the sauce hardens. The coated eggs are then dipped into beaten eggs, rolled in breadcrumbs and deep-fried just before serving.
In the Thai dish Kai Kwan , the eggs are stuffed with a mixture of fried minced pork, crab meat, shitake mushrooms all ground into a paste with hard-boiled yolks, and seasoned with a spice paste of black pepper, coriander roots, garlic, fish sauce and sugar.
The stuffed egg halves are re-formed into whole eggs (using toothpicks to secure the halves together) and deep-fried until golden and blistered. They are then served with a decorative omelette "net" cast over.
Flavour & Texture Variations For Whole Hard-Boiled Eggs
Hard-boiled eggs readily take on different appearances and flavours with different treatments.
There's the Chinese marbled eggs, where hard-boiled eggs are gently cracked and simmered in a 'stock' of soy sauce, black tea leaves, star anise and water resulting in an attractive marbling effect on the whites as well as flavouring the eggs.
Adding peeled hard-boiled eggs to Chinese home-style dishes of soy-braised pork or chicken makes the dish go a longer way. Pierce a few holes through the eggs to allow the braising juices to seep into the egg.
Deep-fried hard-boiled eggs are popular in Southeast Asian cuisines. All you do is deep-fry the peeled eggs in hot oil until golden brown all over. It adds a lovely flavour and textural variation to the eggs.
They may be served topped with a sambal of gently fried chopped onions, chilli paste and blachan as a main dish alongside Malaysian curries.
The intriguingly named Thai 'son-in-law' eggs comprises deep-fried peeled and halved hard-boiled eggs which are served with a sweet-salty sauce made with palm sugar syrup and fish sauce.
Indian cuisine has myriad regional hard-boiled egg curries. Their equivalent of Scotch Eggs is Nargisi Kofta , named after the narcissus flower. The hard-boiled eggs are wrapped in a spiced lamb mince mixture and deep-fried. They can be eaten 'as is' for a snack or served in a spicy yoghurt sauce as part of a main meal.
As A Substantial Garnish
Hard-boiled eggs sit harmoniously with a diverse range of flavours makes this highly decorative protein a favoured finishing touch in the dishes of many cuisines.
Quartered, sliced or halved eggs bejewel dishes from East to West.
In the West, the Spanish Menestra a La Riojana (a spring specialty in Rioja in which mixed boiled and fried vegetables are baked briefly) is but one of an almost infinite list.
Chopped Hard-Boiled Eggs
Finely chopped hard-boiled eggs are widely used in Spanish cuisine, not just with vegetables (as in the salad below) but are also married with meat and seafood as well, particularly tuna, salted dried cod and salmon dishes.
A mere sampling of the versatility of chopped hard-boiled eggs include:
- as part of the filling mixture for tapas like Empanadillas de Atún (tuna 'pasties') and Tartaletas de Salmon (salmon tartlets); as well as in savoury pies which are eaten hot or cold such as Empanada Asturiana (Asturian chorizo pie which also includes pork and saffron);
- as a finishing touch to vegetable soups such as the rich tomato and bread soup of Cordoba called Salmorejo as well as seafood soups, in particular the Sopa Al Cuarto De Hora - literally quick seafood soup, as it takes only 15 minutes to cook.
- in substantial salads such as Empedrat Tarragoni (Codfish salad); and
- in hot main courses such as Pollo en Pepitoria (chicken in egg, almond and sherry sauce); and Merluza a la Vasca (fish steak in green sauce of parsley and peas).
Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs: No Dark Circles Around The Yolk
How To Make Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs
Choice of eggs:
It is best to use eggs that are 7 - 10 days old as these are much easier to peel than fresh eggs.
Ease of peeling has been found to be related to the acid/alkaline (pH) level of the eggs: the more alkaline the egg, the easier it is to peel. Eggs become more alkaline as they age due to loss of carbon dioxide. [Note: Some people suggest adding vinegar to the water when cooking hard-boiled eggs. This actually make matters worse as vinegar is acidic.]
Strict attention to cooking time and rapid cooling are critical to avoiding to the disfiguring green-grey layer on the yolk. This discolouration arises from iron in the yolk reacting with sulphur in the white under extended heating. Cook the egg long enough and the entire yolk will turn this horrible green-grey.
To achieve beautiful hard boiled eggs unmarred by the unsightly culinary equivalent of smudged mascara:
- place cold eggs in a saucepan with ample cold water to cover.
- Once the water comes to a rapid boil, reduce the heat so that the water is at a gentle boil.
- Cook for exactly 8 minutes from the time the water comes to the boil. A kitchen timer is very handy for this.
- Drain immediately and cool under running water for 5 minutes. A more water-wise method is to place the eggs in a bowl of cold water with lots of ice cubes. The aim is to stop the cooking process as rapidly as possible.
Recipe: Spanish Green Bean Salad
This is one of my favourite salads. Not only is it delicious but you can make it the night before you need it. In fact, it is much better after standing for a few hours in dressing before serving.
Approx. 400g fresh green beans
1/2 medium Spanish red onion, finely chopped
1 roasted red capsicum, chopped*
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1 hard-boiled egg, finely chopped
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Cook green beans in boiling salted water until just tender. Drain and rinse in ice cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain well and place in a large bowl.
- Toss the beans with the chopped onions, roasted red capsicum and parsley.
- Whisk dressing ingredients together until well blended.
- Pour dressing over the beans and toss well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours or overnight.
- Just before serving, scatter the chopped hard-boiled egg over.
*To make roasted red capsicum: Place capsicum on a wire rack or in one of those barbecue contraptions over open flame on a gas stove. Roast until the skin is completely charred black. Turn it using tongs to ensure all sides are completely charred. Place in a plastic bag and twist the top of the bag to seal completely. Leave until cool. Then peel the charred skin off. Rinse under the tap to get rid of all the blackened bits. Remove the seeds. You'll have beautiful intensely flavoured roasted red capsicums!