Thursday, November 4, 2010

How we peel a really, really fresh egg—if we get really lucky

By June

We are waiting for eggs. It's past time (by our eager calculations) for the first egg from our new little flock of Rhode Island Reds, and we can't even soothe ourselves with fresh goodies from the older hens; they are all molting.



First eggs are fun eggs. There's the thrill of discovering that first perfect offering, and then there's the thrill of cracking it open: Will it have a double yolk? And sometimes the first eggs are HUGE. See what happened last year...


But however large the eggs and no matter how many yolks are squeezed inside, the first eggs share something with all the eggs we get through the year: Fresh-from-the-hen eggs glow with rich orange and vibrate with taste...but they are hard to peel. Nay, they are impossible to peel. The white glues itself to the shell and comes off in great hunks.

So when we want to devil eggs, we either have to plan ahead (as old homesteaders did) and put aside some eggs to age. OR...what? Well, we set ourselves a mission to see if science had yielded any new tricks. We found this guy...



His technique, as you will see, involves boiling the eggs with baking soda, and then pinching a hole in each end and blowing the whole boiled egg out one end.

I am not going to show you pictures of us trying this technique; let's just say it wasn't the most dignified thing we ever did in the kitchen. We huffed, and we puffed, and we wheezed, and we coughed. Only Birch had the airpower to even dislodge an egg. We all stood around red in the face and fighting for breath, and we decide it was gross anyway. Who wanted to eat an egg that somebody had forced out of its shell with a lot of, er, spit?

But...we did find that the teaspoon of baking soda helped things along a bit. Even on a whim, the girls are now able to throw together a platter of deviled eggs. And, you know, a platter of deviled eggs create a party wherever they go.

I have to admit to a little motherly pride about their deviled eggs. You see, I grew up eating deviled eggs and watching my mother make them. But, years later, when I wanted to make them myself, I had to track down a recipe (this was before the Internet). So I felt a stirring of pride recently when I heard my daughters in the back seat discussing deviled egg recipes with a friend.

Blossom and Fern told what they did. Their friend discussed her recipe. That's self-sufficiency—knowing how to make something you love without being yoked to some writing on a piece of paper. Teach a child to devil an egg, she'll eat for a lifetime!


Here's Blossom's and Fern's recipe for Deviled Eggs from Really, Really, Really Fresh Eggs.

Put the eggs in a pot until the water is about an inch over their heads. Add a teaspoon of baking soda. Set the pot on the burner and fire it up high until it boils. Let it come to a really rolling boil, and then turn it off, put a lid on it, and let it sit for 12 or 13 minutes. (Lots of advice says 11 minutes, but we find that the yolk still has moist bits in it. We're trying to catch it at that perfect state between where it still has moist lumps and where the skin of the yolk turns that awful green. At our house, that's 12 minutes. Usually.)

Plunge the eggs into a bowl of ice and water. Shake it so the shells begin to crack. When the eggs are good and cold, peel away.



Slice the eggs in half the long way. Scoop out the yolk and whip it with a little mayo, a little Dijon mustard, and a little salt and pepper. According to Blossom and Fern, your fingers will know when it's the right consistency. Your taste buds will know when the seasoning is right.



Spoon it (or squirt it with a pastry bag) into the little bowls of the sliced eggs.


Sprinkle with paprika and fronds of dill. Try to get everyone to resist until dinner is served.


Now, ladies of the coop, please bring on those fresh, first eggs!

37 comments:

Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary said...

Well this story is near and dear to my heart. I feel your pain! We have deviled eggs at every party we host. If we don't there are unhappy folks. I have fresh chicken eggs from my farmer friend at work and discovered that they were almost impossible to peel too. So now when I'm having a party, I stash a dozen way back in the fridge in the garage.

I'll have to try the baking soda trick, but I agree about blowing the egg out of the shell - yuck!

Your recipe is similar to mine too!

June said...

Lisa, I'm glad we're not the only ones! Let us know how the baking soda works for you. It's funny how much time I've spent trying to fine-tune boiling the perfect egg. And still sometimes...

Conny said...

June, your posts are timely as usual. I laughed out loud here at my desk, as I just boiled 14 eggs last night to do just the same - make deviled eggs. We are swimming in eggs here at my house and I just HAD to find something to do with them. I've given a couple dozen away to co-workers, but still have just under 3 dozen at home. My four hens aren't moulting yet, and the weather warmed up for yet another heat wave, so they are still laying like it is summer. So, on to the deviled eggs we go.

There is another recipe I'd like to try out that you may already have made, but I think you'd enjoy. In the Splendid Table's: What to Have for Supper (cookbook) there's a recipe for french pan-fried eggs - something like deviled eggs, lightly pan fried in olive oil (flat side of the cut egg, down) and then placed on a bed of spring greens. If you have the book, check it out. My mouth waters every time I see the picture.

June said...

Conny, that's so funny! It's feast or famine with a flock. We have friends who want our eggs—but we don't have any! I can't wait to try the French pan-fried eggs, yum! Thanks so much for the recommendation. And good luck with that heat wave.

Curbstone Valley Farm said...

Ok, I'm definitely going to have to try the baking soda part...maybe not the huffing and puffing part though :P Our eggs are always too fresh to peel, and I never remember to set some aside far enough in advance. I'm sure your new girls will come online soon, but our decreasing day-length at this time of year, it just may take a little longer. How old are your pullets now?

Amanda said...

We're in the same boat - moulting older hens and not-quite-laying younger ones. I resent having to buy eggs *and* chicken feed!

meemsnyc said...

Yum, love deviled eggs. How awesome that you get them from your own chickens.

JGH said...

Devilled eggs are such a treat, and they always disappear when people take the time to make them. Now I'm really craving some. It seems the ice water really makes a difference for peeling ease, right? I did a post last easter on this too. http://nyackbackyard.blogspot.com/2009/04/theme-thursday-how-to-boil-and-peel-egg.html

Tom @ Tall Clover said...

I'm so glad to see Blossom and Fern are handy with a pastry bag. June you are teaching your daughters well, and Birch, let's not forget about that pizza oven-- maybe a little Deep dish deviled egg Sicilian pizza!

OurAmazingBlog said...

mmmm... deviled eggs are the best.

Curbstone Valley Farm said...

June, I had to drop back by, and let you know that we just tried the baking soda trick with our very fresh eggs, and it worked! Thanks for the tip!

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