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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Comstock Saloon's Pickled Eggs

Posted By on Thu, Jun 3, 2010 at 4:13 PM

click to enlarge Carlo Espinas. - LIZA GERSHMAN 2010
  • Liza Gershman 2010
  • Carlo Espinas.
In Parts 1 and 2 of our Q & A, Comstock Saloon chef Carlo Espinas described how he wanted to become a journalist before discovering the kitchen. And he talked about researching the city's hundred-year-old tastes in food. Here, Espinas ― he refers to himself as a saloon cook and grub slinger ― shares Comstock's recipe for pickled eggs, a formula he developed with sous chef Chris Kiyuna.

"Here at the Saloon, we slice the eggs thin and serve them atop toasted rye from Firebrand Artisan Breads, garnished with chervil, sea salt, and nice extra-virgin olive oil," Espinas says. "It's just another attempt to take a humble ingredient and dress it up slightly, like putting a bowtie on it." He notes that the seasonings can easily be changed at the whims of the cook.

For the brine:

2 quarts white wine vinegar

2 quarts water

1/2 cup salt

4 whole dried chile pods (chile de arbol pods, for instance) or 1 tablespoon red chile flakes

1 tablespoon paprika

1 head of garlic, split in half lengthwise

1 tablespoon whole mustard seed

1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns

1 sprig of thyme

1. First, you'll want to medium-boil your eggs. The goal is an egg with a yolk that's set, but without the sulfurous green rim of an overcooked egg. We like to bring a large pot of water ― let's say 3 quarts ― to a simmer, or just below boiling. Technically, we're looking for 190° F. For those without a handy-dandy thermometer, you'll want to look for a slow, steady stream of bubbles. A friend refers to this as a "champagne simmer."

2. Once the water is up to temperature, carefully place the eggs in the pot and cook for 9 minutes or so. After they're done, pull them out and place them in an ice bath or under cool running water to stop the cooking.

3. When the eggs are cool, peel and place in the jar or [nonreactive] jar that you want to pickle them in.

4. Place all brine ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes and pour over the eggs. It's best to refrigerate them. The longer you let the eggs sit in the brine, the more pronounced the flavors become.

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