Friday, March 5, 2010

Your Grandpappy's Gin-Soaker

There's a place in southeast Minneapolis called Town Talk Diner and it was here that I was first introduced to pickled mustard eggs. On a summer evening (okay, afternoon) a few years ago I spotted a big glass jar at the back of the bar. Between sips of a gin fizz, I asked the bartender about the bulbous yellow contents of the mysterious container. His answer was simple: "Ya want one?" "Sure," I said. "They're pickled mustard eggs," he added eventually. "A classic gin-soaker."

My friend Jessica had a Prohibition-themed birthday party recently and I decided that it was a great reason (excuse) to try my hand at making this culinary oddity. They're delicious in the way that dry vermouth is--a stodgily effective way to temper the spirits.


Recipe for Pickled Mustard Eggs:
dozen hard-boiled eggs
100g jar of Colman's mustard (preferred)
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
1 bulb fennel, chopped
3c white vinegar
3c cold water
1c sugar
cupped palm of black peppercorns
cupped palm of salt
dozen whole cloves
1 tsp tumeric (optional, really)

1) Hard-boil the eggs: place the eggs in a big pot and cover them with water that reaches a couple of inches over their heads. Bring the covered pot to a boil. Once the water's got a nice bubble going, turn off the heat and let the eggs hang out in the covered pot for 12 minutes. After 12 minutes, move the pot to the sink and let the cold faucet run over the eggs until they're cool to the touch. Peel the eggs.
2) Add all of the remaining ingredients, save the mustard, to a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the hit a bit and let the mixture simmer until it stinks up your kitchen, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the mustard.
3) Let the pickling mixture cool for just a couple of minutes. Place the eggs in a tall plastic bin or giant glass jar (anything that has a lid or can be covered). Pour the pickling mixture over the eggs, cover, and place in the refrigerator.
4) Let the pickling brew stay in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours (but probably no more than 72 hours) before eating so the eggs are able to adequately soak up their surroundings.
5) Enjoy with a stiff cocktail and a few napkins.

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