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Jacques Pepin's Tips For Boiling the Perfect Egg

Jacques Pepin on the Perfect Boiled Egg

One of my favorite seminars at this year's Classic was a cooking demo performed by French luminary Jacques Pépin along with his daughter, Claudine. On this sunny Saturday in Aspen, you'd never have guessed that Jacques, who's cooked for Charles de Gaulle and with Julia Child, turns 74 this year: the ebullient chef and his witty daughter exchanged lots of lively banter, and managed to make a whopping six tomato dishes in 45 minutes!

Although I can't wait to make the pair's appetizing tomato dishes, the most useful facts were his tips on boiling eggs, which they used in a harlequin tomato salad. "Just cooking an egg white is like a big deal for me," Jacques said. To see how the world's most blissful boiled egg is made, read on.

  1. Use a sharp object like a thumbtack to puncture a hole in the round end of the egg, where the air chamber is. It releases pressure inside of the egg, so the shell won't crack.
  2. Let eggs cook in a very gentle boil for 10 minutes. They should not boil at too high a temperature, otherwise the the egg white will be tough, and the inside green and rubbery.
  3. After the eggs have simmered, pour out the hot liquid, and shake the pan to crackle the shells.
  4. Next submerge it in an ice water bath. Leave the eggs in the cold bath for 15 minutes, enough time to allow the eggs to cool and the stinky sulfur inside the eggs to dissipate into the ice water.
  5. Peel the egg under a stream of water. This makes it easier to peel away the egg's thin outer membrane. Enjoy tender, perfectly cooked egg!

Jacques also explained that as eggs get older, their air chamber gets larger. To get a sense of the age of an egg, submerge it in water. Older eggs will float, while fresh ones will sink.

I can't wait to go home and try his tips — especially the one that helps prevent boiled eggs from cracking. What pointers can you proffer for cooking an egg just right?


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Talldiva45 Talldiva45 7 years
Sounds easy - good tips.
Talldiva45 Talldiva45 7 years
Sounds easy - good tips.
Kelliegrl Kelliegrl 7 years
I love watching Jacques! Nice post.
chiefdishwasher chiefdishwasher 7 years
I am going to print this up so I don't crack up every time I boil eggs.
fuzzles fuzzles 7 years
I use the same technique as hyzenthlay, but without puncturing the shells prior to cooking. Works perfectly every time!
hyzenthlay20 hyzenthlay20 7 years
I have been boiling eggs the Alton Brown way. I puncture the egg shells, then put them into the pan with some salt and cover them with water. Bring the water just to a boil, turn off the burner and let them sit for 10 minutes. Run them under cold water, then shake them in the pan to break the shells. That's where I had problems. You don't have to shake nearly as hard as I did! My eggs (which were perfectly tender and cooked) broke into pieces and shell was mixed throughout the mess. Ugh! I made egg salad with it, because the pieces were just so small! Next time I'll shake GENTLY and then peel under water, like Pepin suggests.
Leanne1078 Leanne1078 7 years
Awesome! I'm always trying to get it perfect!
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