German Soleier, or pickled, hard-cooked eggs, are typical pub food all over Europe, not just in Germany.
Originally, foods were pickled to preserve them for consumption in the winter. But the unique flavor caught on and now foods are pickled year-round. Fruits, vegetables, meats, seafood and eggs are all fair game.
When farmers who raised chickens had an overproduction of eggs and there was a glut in the marketplace, they preserved them by pickling.
It's no secret that German pickles are revered and take pride of place on the dining table, from a street vendor, in a pub or in a biergarten. But pickled eggs can hold their own against the almighty pickled cucumber.
Since these eggs will be pickled, the recipe calls for 5% vinegar. That means vinegar with a 5% acetic acid content. So check your label. Some cooks add thinly sliced onions to the brine so feel free to do that if you like.
This recipe is perfect for using up all those decorated Easter eggs that seem to multiply just by sitting next to each other. It's OK if the food coloring as seeped onto the whites of the eggs, as often happens. It will just make them more colorful!
- In a nonreactive (no aluminum but stainless-steel, ceramic, glass and plastic are OK) bowl, stir together 1 cup 5% vinegar, 1 cup water and 2 tablespoons salt until the salt is dissolved. Add 2 whole bay leaves, 1/2 teaspoon whole caraway, 1/2 teaspoon whole peppercorns and 3 whole, peeled cloves of garlic.
- Place cold, peeled hard-cooked eggs in a large glass jar or other container with a lid. Pour the brine over the eggs to cover (make more if necessary). Place the lid on the jar and refrigerate for 3 days before eating with oil and vinegar.
- Once the jar has been opened, store it in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
How to Eat German Pickled Eggs
You can eat the eggs whole or cut them in half, spread with some rémoulade sauce or serve simply with oil and vinegar.
You also can eat pickled eggs as they do in the Ruhr ("Ruhrgebiet"):
- Cut the egg in half and remove the egg yolk carefully.
- In the egg white hollow, add a dab of hot mustard, freshly ground pepper and a few drops of oil and vinegar.
- Place the egg yolk in your mouth and follow it quickly with the entire filled egg white. Chew and enjoy.