That's what Tom said when I mentioned I was going to write this. He said, "Just put some eggs in water in a pan, boil them, then rinse them in cold water in the sink. That's what my mother taught me. " I said, " For how long?" He said, " 2o minutes for hard, 3-4 minutes for soft."
Whoa! Hold your horses, I thought. You haven't eaten an egg cooked like that in years and years. Not in our house. They are rubbery, with greenish yolks, if cooked that way.
I, too, used to just throw them in boiling water and let them bounce away for too long. Then, somewhere along the way, I learned a better way.
Just to make sure I wasn't off the wall, I checked my recently-acquired- from- the-used- bookstore cookbook by Julia Child, The Way to Cook (which is great -- I highly recommend it.)
She does a similar, but more involved method, so I am know I am in good company.
This technique produces tender, well-cooked eggs. You bring them to boil for only one minute, remove from the heat, cover for 12 minutes, then rinse and chill immediately. The hardest part is to let them boil for only one minute. I tend to get distracted. Use a timer.
Hard Boiled Eggs
Place eggs in a saucepan that has a well-fitting lid because you'll need the lid later.
Cover them with cold water, plus at least an inch more of water, so they will have lots of room when boiling.
Turn stove on high and bring to a boil.
When it they start to boil, time them for one minute. That's all. Only one minute.
Turn off the heat. (Remove from burner if you have an electric stove.)
Cover. Put timer on for 12 minutes.
Rinse in cold water until the eggs are completely cool. Where I live, the water is very cold, but you could use water with ice cubes and plunge them immediately.
Place rinsed, cooled eggs in cold water in the refrigerator. Uncovered.
This time of year I am overly enthusiastic at the Farmer's Markets and buy too many eggs for our needs.
So, I end up making hard boiled eggs for egg salad lunches, serving deviled eggs as hors d'oeuvres, and taking along a single egg on painting or photography expeditions.
It's often recommended that you never photograph in the field on an empty stomach, so packing an egg in your gear bag is a photo tradition. Brain food. ( However, most people nowadays would opt for a power bar instead.)