As I’ve mentioned before, pickled bar eggs are a particular favorite of mine, even if they are a bit old fashioned (or just plain divey). Here and there, you still find bars that have a large glass jug with pickled eggs bobbing around in vinegar and bay leaves. Whether they really rise and fall with changes in the barometric pressure—as some flannel-mouthed bartenders claim—is a question for another day.
Some of my pickled egg experiments don’t turn out as well as hoped (the Cape Malay masala version needs work). Overall, though, eggs make great spiced pickles, exactly the kind I’d like to see more often grace back bars for hungry drinkers. The smack and tang of vinegar also make them a good mid-day snack when I’m peckish, but don’t want to eat a whole meal. A pinch of salt, maybe some Sriracha hot sauce, and I'm good.
When the latest batch of bread and butter cukes was down to just a few slices, the jar still held nearly a quart of pickle juice flavored with seeds of celery and mustard and the ubiquitous turmeric (the rhizome that turns ballpark mustard yellow). Rather than pitch it, I cooked a batch of eggs, slipped them into the spiced liquid, and pushed the jug to the back of the fridge. After two weeks, the eggs firmed, turned a luminous turmeric yellow, and took on the definite sweet-and-sour tang of the original pickle.
Here’s the shortcut to make them without the cucumber prelude. Remember, hardboiled eggs are a mistake. If you’re boiling them, you’re doing it wrong. See here for easy instructions on cooking eggs without that sulfurous, stanky green ring.
Bread and Butter Bar EggsServe with beer, whiskey, boilermakers, a pinch of salt, and a grind of pepper. Get all fancy if you like and slice them into quarters lengthwise for adding to salads. Toss them in a picnic basket or a shoebox lunch.
2 dozen hard-cooked eggs, peeled
1 lb onion
1 ½ Tbl kosher or sea salt
1 ½ tsp celery seed
1 tsp powdered turmeric
¼ tsp cracked allspice (or 1 tsp pimento dram)
1 Tbl each brown and yellow mustard seeds
4 cups cider vinegar
3 ½ cups light brown sugar
Peel and slice the onions into half-moons, about ¼” wide. Toss with the salt in a nonreactive bowl and set aside for an hour. Rinse and drain.
In a nonreactive pot, add the remaining ingredients (except the eggs) and bring to a boil. Stir as needed to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat and simmer 3-5 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover, and let cool to room temperature.
Place the eggs in a nonreactive container, such as a big glass preserving jar or food-grade plastic, and pour the liquid over them. Cover and refrigerate. The eggs should be fully pickled in two weeks, but even a few days will make a dramatic difference.