Sunday, November 24, 2013

Déjà vu: Tavern-style Pickled Eggs

This weekend I found an extra dozen eggs tucked way to the back of the fridge―something that is more likely to happen around Easter.  At the time, I was thinking about the approaching holidays and the need to clear the clutter of forgotten leftovers and near empty containers taking up value real estate.     

With hard-cooked eggs in mind, I deposited a half dozen of them into a pot of water on the stove, set them to simmer, and returned to peering in the fridge for whatever else might have been overlooked. 
Absentmindedly, my eyes fixed on a large jar of dill pickles―I had a momentary flashback to all of the jars of pickled eggs that I used to make.  In family days of yore their cool, spiciness made them a handy and satisfying snack.  Well, why not?
Once the eggs were at a rolling boil, I turned off the heat and let them stand for about 15 minutes to gently finish the cooking process.  Then I drained I them and covered them with icy water to discourage any egg yolk discoloration. 

Of course, the recipe was probably so simple I didn’t think it necessary to write it down, and the Joy of Cooking, my old standby during those days, was of no help.  A few online sites I reviewed verified that it is pretty basic and one or two accounts even confirmed my suspicions of diluting the vinegar―as full strength might toughen tender egg whites unnecessarily.      
While the eggs were cooling, I heated the pickling solution.  Apple cider vinegar was the best I could do, which I diluted with water, plus I added salt, a variety of pickling spices, garlic, and onion. 

Thanks to my refrigerator diving, I also freed up a medium glass container just the right size to hold my 6 eggs.  Of course, it was probably not necessary to chill the eggs down, since I poured the very hot liquid over the eggs.  Not sure how bright that was, as the egg I have since tested had a very slight ring around the yolk―certainly no deal breaker. 

Biting into the egg, I recalled that familiar slight resistance of the egg white, its tangy saltiness, and all the wonderful flavors that the yolk absorbs.  Oh, my.  Déjà vu.   

Tavern-style Pickled Eggs

6 hard cooked eggs, peeled
1½ cups of distilled vinegar plus ½ cup water
2 teaspoons sea salt
pickling blend:  a pinch each coriander seeds and mustard seeds, a few peppercorns and dried whole cloves, 3-4 dried red peppers, 1 bay leaf

½ onion, sliced
1clove garlic, sliced in slivers

1 qt. wide mouth jar, cleaned and dry. 

In a medium pot,  bring the salt, the vinegar, and water to a boil to dissolve the salt; add the spices and simmer 5 minutes, add the onion and garlic and simmer an additional 5-10 minutes.      
With a strainer spoon layer the eggs, onions, and garlic in clean wide mouth jar.  Pour in the pickling mixture to fully cover the eggs.  Allow to cool before storing in refrigerator. 
Chill and allow the eggs to set overnight or longer.  Since these are not sterilized, they are best enjoyed within about 2 weeks. 



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