a peek inside the fishbowl

26 Feb, 2009

My perfect boiled egg

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Recipes and Food

 the perfect boiled egg

I used to hate boiled eggs. Scratch that, I hate most hard boiled eggs … the kind that are tinged with green, are are so dry and pasty it feels like I’m chewing on an old egg-flavoured sponge. *shiver*

Being of of Czech descent I grew up a world in which sliced eggs graced many food items, most notably, open-faced sandwiches. The concept of the open-faced sandwich doesn’t really exist here, which is why someone invented that special designation of “open-faced” so it cannot be confused with the regular term of “sandwich.” Seems like most people are all about slapping that second piece of bread on top.

I grew up eating these open-faced things, called chlebícky. The word actually translates to “little sandwich.” (I was going to write out the phonetics but the first syllable sounds like a blocked airway and I can’t think of how to write that out). Chlebícky almost always had a sliced egg on top. Chlebícky also feature different combinations of ham, egg or potato or crab salad, gherkins, salami, and cheese on a thin slice of baguette, maybe with adorned with a tomato or bit of red pepper for decoration. When I was in Prague there were special lunch counters devoted only to chlebícky.

But this post is about the eggs. I thought I hated them, and then, realized I didn’t.

This is the only way I like to eat hard-boiled eggs.

  1. 1. Pierce a tiny hole at the very top of your egg. (Our egg-piercing tool has disappeared, so we use a corn holder.) Mark insists this cuts the risk of the egg cracking, but I’m not so sure. This is tricky business and takes practice. 
  2. 2. Place egg into pot of rapidly boiling water. There should be enough water to cover your egg. If you’ve pierced the eggshell you’ll see a stream of bubbles come out of the egg. I guess that’s air escaping and that’s a good thing.
  3. 3. Turn heat down to a simmer (#3 on our stove). 
  4. 4. Set timer for 10:30. (This ensures the egg is exactly how I like it, softly hard-boiled! Picky? You’re right.)
  5. 5. Rinse under cold running water. 
  6. 6. Enjoy with a sprinkle of sea salt.

How do you like your eggs? And what are your feelings about open-faced sandwiches? ;)

17 Responses to "My perfect boiled egg"

1 | Roz

February 26th, 2009 at 9:03 am


easiest way to boil an egg for me:

place egg(s) in a pot just covered with cold water.

cover with lid, and bring to a boil.

as soon as it comes to a hard boil, remove pot from heat and let sit for 3 minutes for soft boiled with slightly gooey spots (2.5 mins for softer and 2 minutes for runny).

cut off top and eat with a spoon in an egg cup (or peel away shell and eat how you like!)


2 | Chantal

February 26th, 2009 at 9:17 am


I often steam my eggs in my veggy steamer. Occasionally the shells do crack. Maybe I should try that hole thing and see if that helps. Do you let your eggs go to room temp before you boil them? I seem to remember hearing that somewhere but I am not sure if it is necessary. I am usually in too much of a hurry to wait anyhow.

3 | Randa

February 26th, 2009 at 9:27 am


We start off with farm eggs from either friends of ours or our sister-in-law, so they are beautifully fresh. And to make boiled eggs — we have it down to a science! Place the eggs in a pan and cover with fresh cold water. Bring water to a boil, then turn heat off, leaving pan on element. Set the timer for 11 minutes. Take off element and run cold water over the eggs until the water in the pot runs cold. Et voila! Perfect, creamy, yummy boiled eggs. They turn out EVERY time :)

AND we love open faced sandwiches.

4 | Loukia

February 26th, 2009 at 9:55 am


Our family eats a LOT of eggs… my 3 and a half year old eats 2 eggs almost every single day for breakfast. He is not a breakfast person – we have to basically beg him to eat in the a.m. – but with eggs, he’s game! He loves ‘dippy’ eggs, and omelets with cheese. Yum… I love eggs!

5 | Mom on the Go

February 26th, 2009 at 10:28 am


I’m in the cold-water-until-boiled camp. But I leave them to sit for 20 minutes. I like my yolks all the way cooked – dry and yummy. Pasty, pah! Reid was introduced to hard-boiled eggs at daycare and so complains if I try to feed her ones that aren’t green around the yolk. She’ll compromise and eat only the white, though.

Open-faced sandwiches are pretty rare in my life. Funny, I don’t really think of them.

6 | andrea

February 26th, 2009 at 10:48 am


Okay. I’m convinced. I am trying the cold water technique. I might have to try bringing them to room temp., but I also find it hard to wait. :)

7 | Mark

February 26th, 2009 at 11:43 am


Poking a hole in the egg technique should always be done on the broad end of the egg (not the pointier end). The broad end is where the air sac is and ultimately it is the expansion of the air that causing the cracking. Release the air, no cracking. If you accidentally prick the narrow end you’ll end up with raw egg leaking into the water.

8 | DaniGirl

February 26th, 2009 at 12:10 pm


My technique is almost identical to Randa’s, except I just make note of when the 10 minute line will be crossed and usually take anywhere from 10 to 25 minutes before I get back to them. Then again, I’m not fond of any hint of soft-boiledness in my eggs. *makes face* The cold-water run afterward is key to easy peel-ability! I boil a LOT of eggs, maybe half a dozen a week just for snacks, plus more if we’re having egg salad sandwiches or devilled eggs.

9 | porter

February 26th, 2009 at 1:00 pm


I don’t really like eggs (or sandwiches) but if I’m in the mood for one, or if I’m making them for my family I use the cold water method that Roz uses. I could totally go for an open faced tomato sandwich, a bit of toasted rye bread (or any crusty bread) some mayo (the real stuff only), fresh tomatoes (preferably home grown) some coarse salt and pepper…..ohhhh so yummy.

10 | LO

February 26th, 2009 at 7:09 pm


I married a German boy and learned so much more about eggs (and other things) than I ever thought I needed or wanted to know.
I know this- I do not like ‘wet’ eggs. I like a hardboiled egg, hard poached and scrambled.
We have the egg hole thing you are talking about-from Germany. They break easily and do disappear but using one makes the eggs boil better for sure. Also, we double pierce and single pierce according to who’s egg is who’s.
Open faced sandwiches also introduced to me by hubby.
Hey, let’s talk about perogies….yum……..where are my polish and ukraine friends!?!?

11 | LO

February 26th, 2009 at 7:12 pm


p.s. it is a rule around here to never eat egg salad sandwiches at a public function or potluck. it’s more about the mayo or miracle whip as often the sandwiches sit out and get warm and then, well, you know….:)

12 | words words

February 27th, 2009 at 3:23 pm


Ever put a tiny bit of butter on your boiled egg? Yum. It especially saves the day if you’ve (gasp!) overcooked the yolk.

13 | andrea

February 27th, 2009 at 3:40 pm


That’s just plain crazy talk.

14 | Honeymom

February 28th, 2009 at 11:05 am


My 6 yr old daughter loves sliced or whole hard boiled eggs (cold water to boil method) for snacks or any old time of day and my 10 yr old daughter likes semi soft boiled with toast soldiers to dip (dippy eggs!) for breakfast.
Since that whole deli meat recall last year we have been consuming a lot more eggs, especially for school lunches as my girl’s school, like many, is peanut free.
By the way your photos are beautiful.

15 | words words

February 28th, 2009 at 1:37 pm


Try it. I thought so too. Not crazy.

16 | Delicious Ham

March 2nd, 2009 at 7:15 am


I’ll have to give this a try, the thought of boiled eggs makes me nauseous, but my pregnant girl loves them.

17 | Lunch as Therapy II >> a peek inside the fishbowl

June 16th, 2009 at 8:07 am


[…] butter with sliced bananas and a tall glass of milk. It could be a spicy soup, chickpea salad, boiled eggs, or leafy greens with a thick slice of fresh bread and gooey cheese. Whatever you decide, it has […]

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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