by Chef Dez
A tradition in my family has always been the customary ritual of decorating eggs for Easter.
As far back as history can take us, the egg seems to have always been a symbol of continuing life and resurrection. Therefore, it was natural to decorate them and give out as gifts for part of the feasting after the solemn fast of Lent.
Although it is now more contemporary to exchange chocolate or candy eggs, many families still carry out the historic practice of using real eggs. However, what is to become of all the excess hard-boiled eggs other than the habitual egg salad sandwich?
Allow me to give you a few examples that will hopefully inspire some culinary creativity in your kitchen.
A quick and simple idea would be to slice or chop them to garnish salads. This would not only add bright colours to the salad, but is also is a fantastic way to add additional protein. Crumbled eggs are also vivid garnishes for stir-frys or rice. Add a splash of freshly chopped parsley over the rice, and you will have transformed the bland grains into something more attractive. The crumbled mix of white and yellow is much more eye appealing than egg slices.
Egg slices are better used along with spinach and cheese rolled inside the middle of a pork loin for a stuffed roast that is extraordinary. Egg slices can also be layered in many different casseroles.
If one were to search the internet or visit the local library, they would discover a variety of hard-boiled egg recipes. They will include a number of egg and cheese dips, pickled eggs, and many versions of deviled eggs. For example, try combining the yolk mixture for deviled eggs with smoked salmon before stuffing back into the egg white halves for a delicious variation.
My favorite hard-boiled egg recipe is Scotch Eggs. This recipe is prepared by encasing hard-boiled eggs with sausage meat. They are then rolled in a mixture of cracker crumbs and fresh chopped parsley, and baked in the oven. Once cooled, they are sliced into quarters for a sensational presentation.
Hopefully all of this egg inspiration will keep your mind from questioning, “what was cooked first – chicken or the egg?”
Dear Chef Dez,
I hate making hard-boiled eggs. I find it difficult to peel them without having huge chunks of the cooked white staying attached to the shell pieces. Also, they always have that “green ring” around the yolk. Are there any tricks to help me?
Janet C., Maple Ridge
Firstly, when selecting eggs to boil, one wants to make sure they are choosing older eggs rather than the freshest ones. This is because over a period of time more air develops between the shell and the shell membrane, and thus making it easier to peel. Also try rolling the cooked egg on the counter with some gentle pressure to makes cracks all over the surface, and then peel under cool running water.
The “green ring” indicates a chemical reaction between the iron in the yolk and the sulfur in the white. This happens when the egg is either cooked too long, or at too high of a temperature. Try adjusting your cooking time and plunge them into an ice water bath immediately to stop the cooking process.
– Chef Dez is a food columnist and culinary instructor in the Fraser Valley. Visit him at www.chefdez.com. Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or to P.O. Box 2674, Abbotsford, B.C. V2T 6R4