One of the many things that drove me crazy about culinary school was that there was always only one right way to do things. If you deviated from this method, you were wrong and would likely be reprimanded. I first started giving my chefs the side-eye when my Phase I instructor was teaching us how to achieve “perfect hard boiled eggs every time.” I asked a question about a method I’d seen Jacques Pepin use (without mentioning him by name) and chef responded “Sure, that’s what a HOME COOK MIGHT DO.” My side-eye got even more use when I arrived at Phase II and suddenly my new chef had entirely new methods that were the only one right way to do things.
At my school, the only way to PERFECTLY HARD BOIL EGGS EVERY TIME OMG was to bring water to a rolling boil, add the eggs, cook them for 12 minutes, and then transfer them to an ice bath. The problem with this method is that no matter how delicately I add the eggs to the pot, I often crack at least one due to the rolling boil. Maybe I’m not as gentle as I think I am, I don’t know (I use a slotted spoon to lightly place them on the bottom of the pot). I also found that this method sometimes results in the unsightly green sulfur ring around the yolk that means I cooked them too long. Maybe my timer is broken? Everything else seems to be cooking fine. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Whatever. This time I decided to try a different method I had read about: starting with cold water. You know what? It worked like a freaking charm. Not a single cracked egg, not a single spot of green. Just call me a professionally trained home cook here. And proud of it.
- 12 large eggs
- ⅓ cup mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream + more as needed
- 1½ - 2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon sweet paprika + more for garnish
- Place the eggs in a large pot and cover with cold water by at least 2 inches. Bring the water to a boil, and then remove the pot from the heat and cover. Let stand for 12-15 minutes and then transfer to an ice bath to halt the cooking process.
- Peel the eggs (I find this easiest to do under cold running water) and slice them in half using a sharp knife. Scoop the yolks into a medium-sized bowl.
- Add the mayonnaise, mustard, 3 tablespoons heavy cream, 1½ teaspoons Old Bay, black pepper and sweet paprika. Mash the ingredients together using a fork at first, and then switch to a spatula, pressing firmly down to blend any pieces of yolk. If desired, add some additional heavy cream for a smoother consistency.
- Taste for seasoning. Add an additional ½ teaspoon of Old Bay if desired (Old Bay is very flavorful but very salty, so it's best to add in stages).
- Carefully spoon the mixture back into the eggs, taking care not to disturb the egg whites.
- Garnish with additional paprika before serving.