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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Colored Easter Eggs You'll Really Want to Eat


Forget synthetic dyes and artificial food coloring. These eggs are colored naturally with a beet-balsamic vinaigrette, which also makes them taste good. The purple they soak up on the outside is a stunning contrast to the bright yellow yolk inside.

I made a simple filling but you could make it as fancy as you want by mixing in minced shallot, fresh herbs, cornichon, capers, or anchovies. If you want a purple filling, you mix in a bit of the vinaigrette or some puréed beet.

I garnished these eggs with thyme leaves but any fresh herb would be a fine substitute, especially dill or tarragon. Or you could garnish with any of your mix-ins: a caper or two here, a sliver of cornichon there, maybe an anchovy draped over the top of a few.

I added a splash of raw coconut vinegar to the vinaigrette to lighten up the balsamic vinegar, which goes well with beets but can sometimes be a bit heavy and sweet. If need be you can substitute any sharp vinegar like red or white wine vinegar.

2 bunches beets
6 hard boiled eggs, peeled and rinsed to remove all bits of shell
Sea salt
Freshly ground peppercorn
1/2 cup cold-pressed olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon raw coconut vinegar
Real mayonnaise
Punch turmeric 
Thyme leaves to garnish
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.  If the greens are still attached to the beets, cut them off and save them for another use. (Sauté them with olive oil and garlic then season with salt for a quick side dish.) Scrub the beets and place them in the middle of a piece of aluminum foil. Fold the foil over the beets or place another sheet on top and pinch them together. Transfer them to the oven and bake for an hour. Cool to room temperature. (This step can be done in advance.)
  2. Rub away the roots, stem ends, and peel of the roasted beets. Cut small ones into 4 wedges, medium ones into 6 wedges, and large ones into 8 wedges. Add them to a glass bowl and toss them with salt, pepper, olive oil, and both vinegars. Taste for seasoning and make any necessary adjustments.
  3. Gently stir the whole peeled hard-boiled eggs into the beets and allow them to settle on the bottom of the bowl, covered by the beets. Transfer them to the fridge and marinate for several hours, gently stirring occasionally so they develop an even color, as not all parts of all eggs will always be in contact with the vinaigrette at the bottom of the bowl.
  4. After several hours or overnight, remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and place them briefly on a paper towel to absorb any excess liquid.
  5. Cut each egg in half. Remove the yolks and add them to a mixing bowl. Mash them together with a dollop of real mayonnaise (or more olive oil), a pinch each of salt and pepper, and a dash of turmeric until smooth. (If you have enough yolks, use a mini food processor or hand blender to achieve a perfectly smooth consistency.) 
  6. Spoon the yolk mixture into the egg white halves. (If you're feeding a crowd and have a good amount of perfectly smooth yolk, spoon it into a piping bag then squeeze it into the egg white halves.) Transfer them to a serving plate and garnish with thyme leaves. 
  7. Serve the eggs with the beet salad or save the beets for another occasion. The beets will last for several days stored in an airtight container in the fridge.

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