A mother-daughter conversation on food and cooking (mostly)

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Beet Pickled Eggs

I had only eaten one pickled egg before this. It was between undergrad and grad school, when my friend John was hanging out with some guys who met every week at a local bar to watch pro wrestling on the big screen. I went with them once, and one guy had pickled some eggs. He pulled a big warm jar out of a paper bag. I ate an egg. It was strange.

Now it's...what, 9 years later? A few months ago I saw a picture of a beet pickled egg, all purple and Easter-y and lovely, and I decided I would make a batch.

I poked through various recipes, thought about my own pickling past, and came up with this.

The Eggs

First, I hard-boiled a dozen eggs.

My eggs never seem to get that ugly blue discoloration between yolk and white. They used to when I was younger. I buy brown free-range eggs -- I suppose that could be a factor -- but it's more likely my standard method that makes the difference.

I put cold eggs in a pot of room temperature water and brought it to a boil over medium-high heat, uncovered. As soon as it boiled, I put the lid on and took the pot off the burner. I let it sit for about 8 minutes -- no longer -- and then took the eggs out and ran cold water over them and put them in a dry cool bowl immediatley into the fridge.

This method always seems to make perfect eggs.

I peeled them about 20 minutes later, as soon as they were cool.

The Pickling Mixture

I mixed the following ingredients and let them sit in a pan on the stove until the eggs were peeled:
  • One small beet, roasted and peeled and sliced, left over from the previous night's dinner
  • Two cups water
  • Two cups vinegar
  • One tablespoon sugar
  • Two tablespoons salt
  • Half teaspoon dry mustard
  • Bay leaves
  • One teaspoon brown mustard seed
  • Several allspice berries
  • One teaspoon dill seed
  • Half teaspoon celery seed
  • One teaspoon black pepper
I used a big glass jar with a hinged locking lid -- I love those. I put the eggs in it and brought the mixture to a boil on the stove, then poured it immediately over the eggs.

I got the jar cooled down as quickly as possible and put it in the fridge.

After three days, I ate an egg.

I loved it. Sweet and sour and pickly and mild -- really delicious.

I had to coax Lawson into trying one. After trying it, he said "I think that's something I'd have to be in the mood for."

Nobody else who's visited has wanted to try one, either. Pickled eggs are something they sell in rural convenience stores around here, all weird and yellow and bobbing around in massive jars next to the crock pot of boiled peanuts.

So I've been happily eating a pickled egg every few days. They're almost gone.

Look, a perfect dinner: vichyssoise, Heather's seeded sourdough, salad with Parmesan, and a few pickled things.

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