Food & dining

The confident cook

Recipe: Jammy eggs have slightly runny yolks you see in bowls of ramen and in French salads

Sheryl Julian for The Boston Globe

You know jammy eggs, even if you don’t think you do. They always garnish bowls of ramen and they’re often on French salads, like salade Lyonnaise, which is made with frisee lettuce and lardons of bacon. The salad is traditionally garnished with poached eggs, but jammy eggs are much easier.

A jammy egg — a new name for a classic method — is an egg that’s firmer than soft-boiled, not as firm as hard-cooked, with a spoonable yolk. (The firmer eggs are pictured on the left; the runny yolks are the jammy eggs.) To make them, drop the eggs into boiling water, let them bubble for 6 minutes, lift out, run under cold tap water until they’re cool enough to handle, then carefully peel them. The white is firm enough so you can hold an egg in your hand. Pat it dry and set it on a plate to cut into it. As soon as you do, the yolk will come spilling out, so you have to set the egg on the dish you’re making as soon as possible.

In general, the longer you cook the egg, the lighter the yolk becomes. So a jammy yolk can have a dark, almost orange, color, while hard-cooked (you may call this hard-boiled, but, in fact, the eggs shouldn’t be cooked at a hard boil) are a paler golden color. Whatever your ultimate yolk goals, when the eggs are cooked, transfer them right away to a bowl of cold water and let cold tap water run into the bowl as you crack the shells with the back of a spoon. This prevents that horrid green rim around the yolk.

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There are so many eggs on spring holiday menus, and plenty of eggs in most fridges, so it’s a fine time to cook eggs. Here are traditional hard-cooked eggs and jammy eggs. When making jammy eggs, start with 6 minutes; if you decide it’s too runny, try 7 the next time. Add one to a dish of angel hair pasta with a few sauteed cherry tomatoes, drop one into a bowl of chicken soup and let the yolk thicken the broth, or leave it on the plate you cut it on, and add some toast and real jam.

Jammy eggs

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Choose a saucepan that will hold 4 eggs with plenty of space around them (the timing here is for size large eggs). Fill the pan with water and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, make a pin prick in the rounded end of the eggs; this keeps them from cracking in the water. You can also let the eggs sit at room temperature for half an hour before cooking.

With a slotted spoon, lower the eggs into the water, and immediately set the timer for 6 minutes. With the handle of the spoon, roll the eggs around in the water for the first minute of cooking — this will set the yolks in the center.

Use the slotted spoon to transfer the eggs to a bowl of cold water. Run cold tap water into the bowl while you use the back of the spoon to gently tap the shells to crack them. When the eggs are cool enough to handle, peel off the shells and remove the nearly invisible thin membrane on the rounded end.

Gently pat the eggs dry, use a small sharp knife to cut them on a plate, and transfer immediately to the dish you’re adding them to.

Sheryl Julian

Hard-cooked eggs

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Choose a saucepan that will hold 4 eggs with plenty of space around them (the timing here is for size large eggs). Fill the pan with water and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, make a pin prick in the rounded end of the eggs; this keeps them from cracking in the water. You can also let the eggs sit at room temperature before cooking for half an hour.

With a slotted spoon, lower the eggs into the water, and immediately set the timer for 9 minutes. With the handle of the spoon, roll the eggs around in the water for the first minute of cooking — this will set the yolks in the center.

Use the slotted spoon to transfer the eggs to a bowl of cold water. Run cold tap water into the bowl while you use the back of the spoon to gently tap the shells to crack them. When the eggs are cool enough to handle, peel off the shells and remove the nearly invisible thin membrane on the rounded end. Return the eggs to the cold water and let them sit until cold.

Remove from the water, pat dry, and use a small, sharp knife on a cutting board to half them lengthwise or horizontally.

Sheryl Julian

Sheryl Julian can be reached at sheryl.julian@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @sheryljulian.