Don Mauer rethinks hard-boiled eggs with help from readers

  • The Devil Made Me Do It deviled eggs get a kick from some Caribbean-style habanero hot sauce.

    The Devil Made Me Do It deviled eggs get a kick from some Caribbean-style habanero hot sauce. Courtesy of Don Mauer

 
 
Updated 4/28/2022 12:33 PM

Six weeks ago, I thought that writing about peeling a hard-boiled egg was so mundane a topic that I came close to not writing about it. As you may recall, I wrote about it anyhow.

Astonishingly, I got more emails about that column than I had in a long time. Here's a sample from Brenda M. suggesting a kitchen appliance that met all of that column's criteria: "Dash Rapid Egg Cooker is worth the $20 on Amazon."

 

Richard Z. wrote me a similar email: "I've been using my 50-year-old Sunbeam egg cooker since my wife was gifted it at her wedding shower! (I thought it was a dumb gift, I was WRONG.) Perfect hard-boiled eggs steamed! Roll and peel in two pieces! Easy peasy! Much easier than your suggested process!"

I had forgotten that my mom had the same appliance and used it for hard-boiled eggs and poached eggs 50 years ago. Those eggs always turned out perfect.

Making a tiny hole in the egg before steaming or boiling doesn't help them peel easier, Don Mauer says.
Making a tiny hole in the egg before steaming or boiling doesn't help them peel easier, Don Mauer says. - Courtesy of Don Mauer

Mom's egg cooker came with a way to puncture an egg's end to give the egg room to expand while heating by expelling the air naturally inside an egg's shell; I figured that was to keep the shell from cracking.

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Believing that hole made peeling easier, I found a sharp thumbtack, put a hole in the round end of six eggs, and steamed them. I used ice water to chill them and then refrigerated them for later use as I had always done. Disappointingly, they peeled about the same way as before.

A bit later on, I talked to my friend Granger who told me the one thing he contributed to potluck summer dinners: deviled eggs. His eggs always peeled with ease, and he used an automatic egg cooker.

Granger also said he peeled those eggs when they were just cool enough to handle and chuckled that the shells nearly fell off in two pieces.

What I hadn't learned before sharing my earlier efforts at easy-peeling was when you should be peeling them.

It didn't matter how I cooked my eggs or how fresh they were (although freshness makes a slight difference). The best peel happens when the egg is still warm, right after cooking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Usually, I hard-boil a dozen eggs, chill them in ice water, and then refrigerate them (unpeeled) until needed. I believed that they'd stay fresher by remaining in the shell.

I was wrong about that, too. In a recent article on food52.com, Coral Lee wrote that it didn't matter whether a hard-boiled egg was peeled or unpeeled. It would: " ... stay A-OK for up to a week in the fridge."

Lee indicated that the shell protected the egg from drying out during its refrigerator stay.

I've certainly learned a lot about hard-boiled eggs.

The cover of Debbie Moose's "Deviled Eggs: 50 Recipes From Simple to Sassy."
The cover of Debbie Moose's "Deviled Eggs: 50 Recipes From Simple to Sassy." - Courtesy of Debbie Moose

Since my previous hard-boiled egg column was printed with my recipe for avocado-based egg salad, I thought I might share a deviled egg recipe.

I turned to my friend Debbie Moose, who wrote "Deviled Eggs: 50 Recipes From Simple to Sassy," and asked if I could share one of her deviled egg recipes.

Lucky for us, she approved and also shared this:

"Fun fact: There used to be two terms for this tasty egg treat, stuffed eggs and deviled eggs. Stuffed eggs referred to ones with fillings that weren't spicy. But over time, the same term became used for both fiery and non-fiery."

Here's Moose's recipe. Enjoy!

• Don Mauer welcomes questions, comments and recipe makeover requests. Write to him at 1leanwizard@gmail.com.

The Devil Made Me Do It deviled eggs are great for a spring or summer gathering.
The Devil Made Me Do It deviled eggs are great for a spring or summer gathering. - Courtesy of Don Mauer
The Devil Made Me Do It

6 hard-cooked eggs, peeled, cut in half and yolks mashed in a bowl

cup mayonnaise (see note)

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoons Caribbean-style habanero hot sauce, plus more for garnish, if desired

1 teaspoon curry powder

teaspoon garlic powder

Salt and black pepper to taste

Combine the thoroughly mashed yolks with the mayonnaise and mustard. Stir in the hot sauce, curry powder and garlic powder. Taste, then season with salt and pepper (you may not need any).

Fill the whites evenly with the mixture. If you really like it hot, garnish each egg half with a dab more hot sauce.

Notes: I used avocado oil mayonnaise to make Moose's recipe. Moose suggests not using a vinegary hot sauce like Tabasco for this deviled egg.

Makes 12

"Deviled Eggs: 50 Recipes From Simple to Sassy" by Debbie Moose, published by Harvard Common Press

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