An integral part of Sephardic cuisine, huevos haminados are often served at the Sabbath meal and for Passover. Cooks save brown onion skins during the week and then gently simmer the eggs under them, adding coffee grounds or tea leaves to give the eggs a rich color. Occasionally a dash of wine vinegar is added to the cooking water along with the olive oil.
The word hamin means “oven, ” as the eggs were traditionally cooked in a baker’s oven, although today they are more easily prepared on top of the stove. During the long cooking process, the eggs pick up a slight onion perfume and a creamy texture. Italian Jews from Trieste call the same eggs Turkish eggs, while Greek Jews call them Selanlik yamurta (Salonika eggs) or Yahudi yamurta (Jewish eggs).
Put the eggs in a large saucepan. Cover them with the onion skins and the tea leaves or coffee grounds, then add the olive oil, vinegar, and water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to very low, cover the pan tightly, and simmer gently for 6 hours. Check the water level from time to time and add more water as needed to maintain the original level.
When the eggs are ready, plunge them into a bowl of cold water placed under a tap of running cold water.
© 2000 Joyce Goldstein. All rights reserved.