These beautiful “warmed eggs” get their name from a long, slow bath in warm water and onion skins. The slow cooking also yields an exceptionally velvety texture, a subtle, smoky onion flavor, and, if the shells should crack while cooking (or if you choose to crack them), patterns that suggest marble – though I’d be remiss not to mention that among the Rhodesli, cracked eggs were once the mark of an inferior cook!
At Passover, I love the marbleized effect because it’s festive and pretty. But my mother taught me the cooked whites should be completely unblemished and the palest shade of brown all over, like a very light cup of coffee. That’s an assurance the eggs have been cooked consistently at a low enough temperature to prevent their turning rubbery, or the yolks from turning gray. And that – pale brown and delicate – is how I remember my grandmother’s ouëvos haminados. I didn’t know what a feat that was until the first time I tried to make a batch. Either way, pay close attention to the pot, and you’ll turn out a surprisingly delicious egg.
For Passover make one egg for each person at the table, plus one for the Seder plate.
1 dozen eggs in their shells
2-3 cups of onion skins, wiped clean
fresh ground black pepper
2 tablespoons ground coffee
Line a non-reactive, heavy casserole with half the onion skins. Lay the eggs on top of these in one layer, and cover with the remaining onion skins. Drizzle the olive oil evenly over the onion skins, and add a few grindings of black pepper and the ground coffee. Fill the pot with cold water to cover the eggs. Bring the pot just to the boiling point and immediately lower the flame. Cover the with a heavy lid and simmer over the lowest possible flame for six hours. (If six hours is more than you can bear, you must give them a minimum of three). The eggs must remain fully submerged throughout the process. Check under the lid occasionally, and if the water level recedes, add a little boiling water to the pot and return the lid.
For a marbleized effect: In the last hour of cooking, remove the eggs one at a time from the pot and gently crack the shell, as much or as little as you like but without breaking the inner membrane. Cover the eggs again with the onion skins, replace the lid and continue cooking for one more hour. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
Do not remove the shells while the eggs are still warm. Peel only when ready to serve, taking care not to break the eggs. Peeling them under cool running water makes the job easier.
NOTE: Hard-cooked eggs turn rubbery if refrigerated. I always make these the day I’m going to serve them.