However, I don’t think that even somewhere as painfully hip as The Spotted Pig has ever thought to update its bar menu with one of the more colorful components of a well-dressed Pennsylvania buffet: the beet-pickled egg.
Part of the Pennsylvania Dutch influence on the state’s potluck food traditions, the vibrantly gorgeous eggs have long been a popular PA bar snack, deli item, and complement to the Easter or Christmas ham. Bobbing in their ruby brine, the eggs take on a twangy, slightly sweet flavor that offsets the richness of the yolk and gives some much-needed punch to the typically bland egg white. Like Mallo Cups and city chicken, the eggs are something I grew up loving and was shocked to learn at a relatively late age that the rest of the world was relatively unaware of their charms.
I’ve tweaked a throwback Gourmet recipe to gussy up the traditional deviled egg appetizer that you hipster hostesses are finding it so fun to serve these days. For everyday eats, dice and mash the fuchsia orbs into a tangy egg salad with a few leaves of romaine on thick sourdough bread.
Beet-Pickled Deviled Eggs
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 1 hour (plus 2 days chill time)
Makes 1 dozen eggs
- 1 dozen large peeled hard-boiled eggs
- 1 quart water
- 1 cup distilled white vinegar
- 1 large beet, peeled and cut into wedges
- 1 small shallot, sliced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 scallion, sliced into paper-thin rounds
- hot sauce to taste
To make the beet brine, combine the water, vinegar, beet wedges, shallot slices, sugar, and bay leaf in a large saucepan and simmer, covered, for 20-30 minutes or until the beets are fork-tender. Transfer to a large jar and cool completely.
Add the eggs to the room-temperature beet brine and refrigerate for at least 2 days. The pink color will slowly penetrate the egg white for a uniformly brilliant color right up to the yolk.
They can be served as is, or if you want to make them deviled, slice and remove the yolks from each egg half, and mash the yolks thoroughly with the mayo, mustard, scallion, and hot sauce.