Really Ugly Eggs

Soon, soon we will be awash in hardboiled eggs. Up to our elbows in pink, green, blue, purple, yellow eggs, if the Easter Bunny has anything to say about it. I’ve never regarded a pile of boiled eggs as a problem, because I am exceedingly fond of egg salad sandwiches and deviled eggs. And I like to bash them up a bit and sprinkle them on salads. Hard-boiled eggs broken up and put into a cream sauce, flavored or not with curry, served on toast is a great lunch, or supper, or breakfast. In fact, I boil eggs just for the heck of it in order to have them on hand.

A couple of weeks ago my niece Sarah, who lives in Belfast, came for a visit to the island, bearing as a gift, a container of the ugliest eggs I’ve seen in a while. They looked as if someone had soaked them for a week in March mud. We quartered one on the spot and ate it, and I thought, what fun: these are delicious.

Sarah explained they are brown from being soaked in tamari or soy sauce. You’ve seen brilliant pink eggs soaked in beet juice to make pickled beets, right? This is a variation on that kind of process.

I served the ugly eggs on a bed of claytonia, also known as miner’s lettuce, a very succulent little cold-tolerant green growing like mad in the hoop house right now. Lightly dressed with oil and vinegar, it tastes very good to a winter-weary palate. I had a little leftover tortellini salad that I heaved onto the plate as well. It was all very tasty.

I’m sure you’ll figure out what to do with the ugly eggs to suit yourself and your households. I’ve advised this before and will again: if they look really bad to you, close your eyes while eating.

A couple of words on tamari: it is very like soy sauce, and you can use soy sauce in place of it. I like to buy tamari in a largish bottle, a pint or more. Soy sauce too often comes in tiny little bottles for sprinkling, unsuited for cooking in any quantity. My niece also thought that perhaps eggs boiled until they could be peeled but are still a little soft might prevent eggs that get too hard. Up to you. Obviously, if you use leftover Easter eggs, that is not an option.

Tamari Eggs

6 boiled eggs, peeled

1/3 to 1/2 cup tamari

Put the tamari in a large sauce pan over medium to low heat. Add eggs. In Sarah’s words, “Stir, shuffle, cajole and poke eggs almost constantly to make sure all surfaces get covered with the simmering/gently boiling and evaporating tamari. Do this until you fear scorching…then stop.” The eggs should be a deep mahogany color. Let cool before serving.

Makes six eggs.


Sandy Oliver

About Sandy Oliver

Sandy Oliver Sandy is a freelance food writer with the column Taste Buds appearing weekly since 2006 in the Bangor Daily News, and regular columns in Maine Boats, Homes, and Harbors magazine and The Working Waterfront. Besides freelance food writing, she is a pioneering food historian beginning her work in 1971 at Mystic Seaport Museum, where she developed a fireplace cooking program in an 1830s house. After moving to Maine in 1988, Sandy wrote, Saltwater Foodways: New Englanders and Their Foods at Sea and Ashore in the 19th Century published in 1995. She is the author of The Food of Colonial and Federal America published in fall of 2005, and Giving Thanks: Thanksgiving History and Recipes from Pilgrims to Pumpkin Pie which she co-authored with Kathleen Curtin. She often speaks to historical organizations and food professional groups around the country, organizes historical dinners, and conducts classes and workshops in food history and in sustainable gardening and cooking. Sandy lives on Islesboro, an island in Penobscot where she gardens, preserves, cooks and teaches sustainable lifeways.