Easter eggs are good for more than just the hunting

Published 12:40 am Wednesday, March 25, 2009

One of my favorite things to do to prepare for Easter is to dye Easter eggs for the Easter bunny to hide. My children loved the whole process when they were growing up from the decorating to hunting the eggs. I knew mine had outgrown hunting eggs when they tried to see who could find the most so they could have egg fights. Thank goodness the exploding boiled eggs made the dogs happy. We would always be sure that there were plenty of eggs for the bunny to hide, and I always made extra to use in egg salad or deviled eggs. Here are some tips for making the perfect boiled egg and then some recipes to use them up.

One thing people ask about boiling eggs is how to keep from having a green tinge around the yolk. This is from iron sulfide and while it is safe to eat it doesn’t look very pretty. Timing the cooking of your eggs and getting them out of the hot water and into cool water quickly will help stop this. This is the method I use and I got it from “The Good Egg.”

Place the eggs in a saucepan that is large enough to hold them in a single layer, add enough water to cover by about an inch. Set over medium — high heat, uncovered and heat until just about boiling, (one or two bubbles breaking on the surface) remove from the heat and cover. Leave the eggs in the hot water for 12 minutes for large eggs; they are the only size I use.

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When the time is up, drain off the hot water, cover the eggs with cold water and a handful of ice. Carefully lift out each egg and on the large rounded end tap the egg with a spoon and just crack it. Return to the water to cool completely. When the eggs are cooled completely carefully peel and use.

The following egg recipe yields pretty marbling on the whites that look pretty in salads. The tea and soy give them a smoky taste.

Tea Eggs

6 to 8  boiled eggs, cooled

2 T soy sauce

1 / 2 teaspoon salt

3 teaspoons of loose tea leaves (Formosa, Earl Gray or any other smoky tea)

When eggs are cooled, tap the eggs all over with the back of a teaspoon until the shell is completely cracked. Do not peel. Place cracked eggs in a saucepan with the soy sauce, salt and tea leaves and add enough water to cover. Simmer 15 minutes. Cool in the cooking liquid. Refrigerate overnight still covered in the water, in which they were cooked. Drain and wrap individually in plastic until ready to serve. To serve, carefully peel eggs. Whites of eggs will be marbled with dark lines. Cut into quarters to serve. Will keep refrigerated up to one week.

Hor d’oeuvres Everybody Loves

Smoked Salmon Stuffed Eggs

6 boiled eggs, cooled

4 ounces smoked salmon, finely chopped

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon finely snipped dill

1 tablespoon finely chopped chives

Freshly ground pepper to taste

1 tablespoon no-fat plain yogurt

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

Chives or dill for garnish

When eggs are cool to the touch, peel them and halve them lengthwise. Remove the yolks carefully and discard two of them. Force the remaining 4 yolks through a sieve (I use a fine mesh colander) into a medium bowl. With a fork, stir in the remaining ingredients until combined. Slice a tiny slice off the bottom of each egg white so they will sit flat. Spoon a generous mound of the salmon-yolk filling into each egg half. Place a bit of dill or chives on each. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving.

I love egg salad on wheat bread with a thin slice of tomato and, in the summer, a leaf or two of fresh basil. I don’t always use Hellmann’s mayonnaise but in this recipe it seems to make a difference.

Egg Salad

8 large boiled eggs

1 large celery stalk, finely chopped

10 to 12 chives, finely chopped or 1 small shallot, minced

3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

1 / 2 teaspoon kosher salt

Pinch of black pepper

1 / 2 cup Hellmann’s mayonnaise

Chop the eggs to the consistency of your liking. I like to separate my yolks and whites, chop the whites very finely and then crumble in the yolks, they seem to break up just the right amount with the rest of the mixing.

Christina Hall writes a weekly column for The Natchez Democrat.