The pickled eggs taste better if they are slow-cooked with onion skins. But plain, hard-boiled eggs work well too. Serve as appetizer, drizzled with good, fruity olive oil, sprinkling with salt and pepper, or add to any salad of fresh, boiled or steamed vegetables. They complement beautifully bean, chickpea or lentil soups.
6 eggs ( 6-12 appetizer portions)
6 hard-boiled eggs (12 minutes or more), preferably simmered in onion skins (huevos haminados)
1/3 cup good quality red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons honey or sugar
4-5 sprigs wild fennel or 1 fennel bulb, sliced, plus the fennel fronds
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
1 small onion, sliced
2-3 fresh, pickled or dried chilies, halved lengthwise
About 1 cups white wine vinegar, as needed
Drain the hard-boiled eggs or the ones you have simmered in onion skins, and cool under running water.
Peel and place in a 1 1/2 pint (750 ml) glass jar. Warm the red wine vinegar with the sugar or honey, stirring until the sugar or the honey dissolves.
Place the eggs, the fennel, the coriander seed, the onion slices, the scallions and the chili pepper in the jar. Top with the vinegar mixture, and the white vinegar which should cover the eggs. Add extra vinegar if necessary.
Let stand at room temperature for at least 2 weeks, shaking occasionally, before serving.
Pickled huevos haminados will keep for 6 months to 1 year in a cool place.
The recipe is from my book Mediterranean Pantry (Artisan 1994), which is lavishly photographed and illustrated by Martin Brigdale and the painter Sophie Kelly who created the stunning trompe-l’œil backgrounds.