Smoked Eggs for Easter and Passover
Photo by Richard Dallett.
“Eggs are meant for smoking,” observes Rene Redzepi. Yes, that Redzepi—chef-owner of Denmark’s celebrated Noma—named World’s Best Restaurant three out of the past four years by San Pellegrino. The accomplishment is all the more remarkable for the fact that the kitchen uses only ingredients found within a 50 kilometer (a little over 30 miles) radius of Copenhagen. On a visit to Noma last April, I enjoyed quail eggs smoked with birch wood and hay and lightly pickled with rosehip vinegar.
So how do you grill or smoke an egg? Let me count the ways.
- Grilled: Place the raw egg in its shell on the grate over a gentle fire. Grill, turning with tongs, until the egg is cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes per side. (It’s sort of like hard-boiling, but without the water.) In Vietnam, they roast eggs in the shell in this manner, then serve them peeled, quartered, and wrapped in lettuce leaves with chiles, mint, and bean sprouts. (See page 90 in The Barbecue! Bible.)
- Hot smoked: Hard cook the eggs for 11 minutes (at sea level; a little longer if you live at high altitude). Peel and chill. Set up your smoker following the manufacturer’s instructions and preheat to 225 degrees. Smoke the eggs until smoke-scented and golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. (Don’t over-heat or over-smoke or the egg whites will become rubbery.) That’s how they smoke eggs at the Auberge Schulamet in the artist town of Rosh Pina, Israel, where smoked eggs are chopped into what may be best egg pate (salad) you’ll ever serve with grilled bread. (See page 13 in Planet Barbecue!)
- Cold smoked: Hard cook the eggs for 11 minutes (at sea level; a little longer if you live at high altitude). Peel and chill. Set up your smoker for cold smoking following manufacturer’s instructions. The temperature should not exceed 90 degrees F. Cold smoke the eggs until fragrant and bronzed with smoke, 1 hour. You can also use a handheld smoking device, such as a Smoking Gun.
- Ember roasted: A traditional Sephardic Jewish method for cooking eggs known as huevos haminados. You’ll need a wood fire in your fireplace or grill that has died down to embers and ashes. Bury the eggs in the warm ashes and surround with a few live embers. Roast overnight until the shells are brown and the eggs are cooked through. (Spin the egg to test for doneness—if it spins easily, it’s cooked.) Huevos haminados were traditionally prepared on the Sabbath, when orthodox Jewish law forbids lighting a flame or cooking. The traditional way to cook the egg on the Seder platter is by roasting in the embers.
Have an excess of Easter eggs or want to cook Passover eggs by the traditional method?
Smoke and fire take eggs in gustatory directions you’ve never dreamed of. Hard-boiled egg? OK. Smoked hard-boiled egg? Awesome.
Have a wonderful holiday.