Hard- or soft-cooked eggs are one of the first things many people learn to cook, yet there’s much discrepancy surrounding this fundamental technique. Some insist that starting the eggs in cold water, slowly bringing the water to a boil, and keeping them at a boil until they reach the desired doneness is the best way, while others proclaim that after the boil is reached the pan should be pulled from the flame to allow the eggs to gently cook in the residual heat.In my book, Eggs on Top, I researched the best way to cook eggs in their shells, and I’m confident you’ll find this technique your new go-to for tender whites and vibrant golden, lusciously thickened yolks that slowly flow—a texture I refer to as “molten.” The secret is to not actually boil eggs at all, rather cook them at a bare simmer to keep the whites soft and tender and the shells from cracking against each other.The cooking method I preach is to sink the raw eggs into already-simmering water for five minutes. This initial shock of heat helps make it easy to peel the eggs after cooking. (Sometimes the shells are so loose they practically fall off in my hand!) For easier peeling, it’s commonly recommended that we use eggs that are a bit older for in-shell cookery, but doesn’t that defeat the point of buying farm-fresh eggs? Luckily with this method, even the freshest of fresh eggs peels with ease.For this to be effective, be sure to start with room-temperature eggs rather than ones that are just out of the refrigerator. If you’re in a hurry to bring cold eggs to room temperature, do as I do and temper them in a bowl of warm tap water first to prevent the shells from cracking from the big temperature swing.I like to roll those perfect soft-cooked eggs in minced parsley, lending flavor and a stunning presentation to this spring salad with roasted broccoli rabe and creamy avocado dressing. Spring is the season when warm and cold ingredients ought to mingle on one plate, and this salad brings all that to life. To serve, keep the soft-cooked eggs and the roasted rabe on the warm side, rather than cold, and compose the salad on plates with a bit of artistic flare. Then I would tell you to pour a glass of Chablis and enjoy this spring situation for lunch or dinner, whatever suits your fancy.

Andrea Slonecker
April 2020

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Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food styling by Rishon Hanners / Prop styling by Audrey Davis

Recipe Summary

active:
25 mins
total:
25 mins
Yield:
6
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Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 450°F. Combine broccoli rabe, 1 tablespoon oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and black pepper in a large bowl; toss to coat. Spread in a single layer on 2 rimmed baking sheets, and roast in preheated oven until stalks are just tender but still firm and the florets and leaves are lightly charred, 9 to 10 minutes, rotating pans halfway through roasting time. Let cool while you make the dressing.

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  • Fill a bowl with ice water, and set near the stove. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil over high. Reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer, and slowly lower eggs into water using a slotted spoon. Cook 5 minutes. Remove eggs, and plunge into the ice bath briefly to stop the cooking process. Working with 1 egg at a time, cradle an egg in your hand, and gently tap the shell with the back of a spoon to make tiny cracks all over like a mosaic. Peel eggs under running water beginning at the thickest end. Let eggs stand at room temperature.

  • Combine egg yolk, lemon zest and juice, vinegar, honey, mustard, and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in a blender, and process until smooth. With blender running, slowly drizzle in remaining 1/2 cup oil through hole in lid, and process until smooth and silky.

  • When broccoli rabe is slightly cooled but still just a little warm, transfer it to a large bowl, and add avocado, pistachios, and chives. Toss with enough of the dressing to coat well; reserve any extra dressing for another use. Divide salad among 4 plates. Place parsley on a small plate, and roll eggs in it to coat thoroughly. Place an egg on top of each salad. For a dramatic presentation, cut a small slit in the side of each egg to let the yolk begin to flow out just before serving.

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