The Return of the dreaded Recipe of the Week, January 3rd, 2013
- A new year and a new subject. Did you think I forgot you?
Which came first? The Chicken or the Egg? Well, this year it’s the egg.
Eggs are integral ingredients in practically every cuisine.
The Tacuinum Sanitatis contains entries on chicken, goose, and ostrich
eggs. The eggs of duck and other domestic foul such as, guineas and
peacock would certainly have been available. The eggs of wild birds
were also collected.
Eggs were used as binders, leavening agents, to color and glaze, to thin
and thicken, as stuffing and garnish in Medieval cookery. This month
we’ll be looking at recipes featuring eggs in a starring role.
This week we’ll look at some variations on stuffed eggs. These recipes
show up in a variety of cultures. They share the basic plan of a hard
boiled egg. sliced in two, the yolk scooped out and combined with herbs,
spices, sometimes cheese, raw eggs, and other seasonings. But first you
have to boil the eggs.
Le Menagier de Paris (Janet Hinson Translation, available on line)
offers this familiar advice on boiling eggs:
A Note on the Nature of Eggs. Put them on to cook in boiling water and
the yolk will not be hard, so long as you have not first put them in
cold water: but if you put them in cold water and then incontinently
into boiling water, they will surely harden. Item, if you put them in
boiling water and leave them on the fire, they will always get hard.
Item, hard or soft, if as soon as they are cooked, you put them in cold
water, they will be easier to peel.
And once your eggs are boiled you can stuff them. Most of you are
probably familiar with farced eggs or split nuns but you might not have
seen these from southern Europe.
From Italy both the Toscano and the Venezianna offer versions.
From the Toscana Note that the author references other methods of
cooking eggs so well known that nothing need be said of them.
 Take eggs, boil them and peel them, and cut each one in half, and
take out the yolk; and taking marjoram, saffron and cloves, mix them
with said egg yolks, and pound them well, adding grated cheese: and for
every eight eggs dilute with one raw egg; and when this is done, from
this sauce fill the gaps in the eggs and fry them in good lard; and eat,
adding to it the sauce called French verjuice. Fried, roasted, and
beaten [scrambled?] eggs are so well known that nothing need be said
And from Veneziano
XLVII Stuffed eggs
If you want to make stuffed eggs. Take the eggs and put them to boil
and make sure that they are hard cooked. When they are cooked pull them
out (of the hot water) and put them in cold water. Peel and slice (the
eggs) in half and remove the yolk (reserve). Take the fattest sweetest
cheese that you have. Take the best herbs that you have, peel them
(from the stalk) wash and grind them together in a mortar. When they
(the herbs) are well ground take the egg yolks, the cheese and spices
and put them in the mortar with the good herbs. Grind all these things
together to make a fine paste and temper (mix) with raw eggs until it is
good (has the right consistency). Meanwhile put a frying pan over the
fire. Take the egg halves and stuff with the paste (of egg yolks and
cheese) and put them to cook (in the frying pan). When they are cooked
remove from the pan and powder them with sugar before serving them hot
to the table. And if you want to serve them savory take them (without
sugaring them), etc.
An Anonymous Andalusian Cookbook of the 13th Century(Charles Perry
Translation as available on line) offers these two variations. Note the
technique of slicing the eggs with a thread and refastening the halves
together with a stick.
The Making of Stuffed Eggs
Take as many eggs as you like, and boil them whole in hot water; put
them in cold water and split them in half with a thread. Take the yolks
aside and pound cilantro and put in onion juice, pepper and coriander,
and beat all this together with murri, oil and salt and knead the yolks
with this until it forms a dough. Then stuff the whites with this and
fasten it together, insert a small stick into each egg, and sprinkle
them with pepper, God willing.
Cook eggs, remove the shells and cut them in half. Remove the yolks, put
together in a platter and throw on them cilantro, onion juice, spices
and cinnamon; and it will become a paste with which you will stuff the
eggs. Tie them with thread and hold them with a small stick. Dissolve
some egg white and grease them with it along with a little saffron, and
dust with fine flour and fry with fresh oil on an even fire, and when
finished, sprinkle with chopped rue and serve. Make a sauce with the
filling and sprinkle with spikenard and cinnamon, God willing.
And on a final note; I recently tuned into an episode of Jacques Pepin,
and there he was cooking up a recipe his mother had taught him that he
called Eggs Jeanette. Hard boiled eggs, filled with a mixture of cooked
yolk, fresh herbs and fried in butter. Hmm, where I have I seen that