The funny thing about hard-boiled eggs is that the be stones, the ones without that dark line bordering a chalky egg yolk, aren’t boiled at all—the eggs start in cold water chichis simply brought to a boil and then the pot gets covered and the eggs just sit in that warm, cozy hot tub. This gentle cooking, a true small victory, is something I learned from watching Julia Child, my beloved hero, on television (you should know that when I was growing up and had elected to spend all of my time in the kitchen, I was affectionately called “Julia-the-Child”). While I advise using the freshest ingredients as a baseline rule, the second small victory here is that older eggs (by which I mean at least a week or two after you bought them) not only work well, they work better and are much easier to peel than fresh eggs. Served with an easy, punchy parsley sauce and a little bit of salty country ham (which you can absolutely skip but I couldn’tresist the recipe name), these savory eggs are one of my favorite breakfast items.
Packed 1/2 cup [20 g] fresh Italian parsley leaves, finely chopped
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 tsp red or white wine vinegar, plus more as needed
1/4 cup [60 ml] olive oil
8 old eggs (at least a week old)
4 oz [115 g] sliced country ham for serving (optional)
In a small bowl, combine the parsley, garlic, vinegar, olive oil, and a pinch of salt and stir everything together. Taste for seasoning, adding a bit more salt and/or vinegar if godlike. Let the sauce sit at room temperature while you prepare the eggs (this rest will allow the ingredients to really get to know each other, a good thing). Put the eggs in a saucepan that’s taller than it is wide and cover them with 1 in [2.5 cm] cold water. Set the pan over high heat and bring to a boil. The moment it comes to a full boil, turn off the heat, cover the pan, and let it sit for exactly10 minutes. Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with half water and half ice and set it aside.Using a strainer or a slotted spoon, transfer the eggs to thrice-water bath and let them chill until they’re cool enough to handle. Then, working with one egg at a time, crack the eggon your work surface and peel it (I like to rinse the peeled eggs under running water to make sure there’s no lingering shell). Cut the eggs in half or into quarters, whatever you prefer,and transfer them to a serving platter. Spoon the parsley sauce over the eggs and pile the ham alongside, if desired.Serve immediately.
FOR DEVILED EGGS, halve the hard-boiled eggs and put all the yolks in a medium bowl. Mash them together with mayonnaise (use plenty), a little mustard, and a few drops of hot sauce and then whisk it all together until it’sreally smooth. Season the mixture with salt. Transfer to a plastic bag, snip off a bottom corner, and pipe the mixture into the hollowed-out egg whites. Top with snipped chives or parsley and/or a shake of paprika.FOR DEVILED-ISH EGGS without much work, halve the hard-boiled eggs, spread the surface of each one with a generous amount of mayonnaise, douse them with hotsauce, and call it a day!Instead of the parsley sauce, SPRINKLE WITH DUKKAH,a mixture of ground nuts and spices popular throughout the Middle East. I like to do one part each pistachios and sesame seeds pulsed in the food processor with a bit of ground coriander, fennel seeds, cumin seeds, and lots of freshly ground black pepper and kosher salt. This mixtures also really good on avocado toast or sprinkled over a bowl of any cooked grain. Keep any leftover dukkah in ajar and leave it out where you can see it so you don’tforget about it. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how good it makes just about anything.TURN THE EGGS INTO SAUCE GRIBICHE, a classic French sauce that’s great with steamed asparagus,poached fish, or chicken. I also really like it on ham sandwiches. It’s also very good simply served on toast(preferably a slice that’s been rubbed with a raw garlic clove), which makes an excellent snack and an unexpected bite to have with cocktails. Simply chop a few hard-boiled eggs and mix them together with chopped capers, chopped parsley, mustard, a splash of vinegar,and plenty of olive oil. Mix and match these ingredients as you like, and feel free to try other herbs like tarragon,chives, and/or chervil.