Long-Cooked Eggs

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About

An intriguing alternative to the standard hard-cooked egg is the Middle Eastern hamindas (Hebrew) or beid hamine (Arabic), which are cooked for anywhere from 6 to 18 hours. They derive from the Sephardic Sabbath mixed stew (called hamin, from the Hebrew for “hot”), which was put together on Friday, cooked slowly in the oven overnight, and served as a midday Sabbath meal. Eggs included in the stew shell and all, or alternatively longsimmered in water, come out with a stronger flavor and a striking, tan-colored white. During prolonged heating in alkaline conditions, the quarter-gram of glucose sugar in the white reacts with albumen protein to generate flavors and pigments typical of browned foods (see the explanation of the Maillard reaction). The white will be very tender and the yolk creamy if the cooking temperature is kept in a very narrow range, between 160 and 165°F/71–74°C.