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pickled-eggs

pickled-beets

My mom loved nothing better than a social gathering and was always prepared for a houseful of  guests.  One of her favorite cocktail snacks was pickled hard boiled eggs, so throughout the summer there was always a jar of them in the fridge.  Recently we were at a dinner party where the first course was a meze platter consisting of hummus and pita chips, prosciutto, olives, pistachios, and pickled eggs.  Our hosts had purchased the eggs at a local delicatessen and although they weren’t pickled in beet juice, they immediately reminded me of my mom’s.  So, when making pickled beets (with yellow and red beets from the farmers market) the other day I had to replicate her favorite eggs.  I think I left the eggs in the pickling juice a little too long but they were certainly a glorious color and tasted pretty darn good too.  One bit of warning – the longer you pickle them the tougher the white becomes, but it will never become inedible.  Here’s my pickled beet recipe, but you can also purchase jarred pickled beets and use that juice or make your own pickling liquid with any type of vinegar; just remember, whatever color the vinegar that will be the color of your eggs.  All you do is hard boil some eggs, let them cool, peel, and submerge them in pickling liquid.  If you like a little heat, add some fresh chiles to the liquid.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours to allow the egg white time to absorb the pickle.
A word about pickled beets.  When I was a girl, all kinds of pickles were on the table for every meal, even breakfast.  Home-canned jars of pickled vegetables of all kinds along with at least 4 or 5 different kinds of pickled cucumbers , sweet, spiced, and dilled set center stage.  Although there has been a recent resurgence in pickling (both in cookbooks and in the artisanal food movement), I think the only place that you might still find an array of pickles on the table is in an Amish farmhouse.

Pickled Beets
2 bunches fresh beets, washed, trimmed of the greens (remember to save the greens for a quick
    sauté in a little olive oil and garlic), and cooked
1 large red or sweet onion, peeled, trimmed, and cut, crosswise, into thin slices, then pulled into rings
1½ to 2 cups white (or other) vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoons caraway seeds, optional
Salt and cracked black pepper to taste

Peel and trim the beets; then, cut, crosswise, into slices about ¼ thick.  Place in a bowl.
Add the onion rings, tossing to combine.  Add the vinegar, sugar, and, if using, the caraway seeds.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and toss to blend completely.
Transfer the mixture to a nonreactive container – I like a glass refrigerator storage container or large glass jar – taking care that the pickling liquid covers the beets and onions.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before using.  When covered and refrigerated the beets will last for up to 10 days.

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