Halved hard-boiled eggs, stuffed with a paste of anchovies, butter, egg yolks and seasonings is one of the oldest traditional recipes in Europe.
Apicius records a recipe that included garum, garlic, olive oil, pepper and wine.
From imperial Rome to modern Italy the recipe evolved, anchovies replacing the garum for a less punguent taste, butter replacing oil for a creamy texture, chopped parsley adding an artistic touch.
This exact recipe is found in Sweden, made simply with anchovies, butter and seasonings, arranged on a bed of lettuce with a garnish of chopped anchovy fillets and sliced tomatoes.
It is also found in Poland and Russia, where it disappears into a collection of a hundred variations on the theme – from the exquisite lemon juice, mustard and sour cream paste (popular in the Baltic states) to the esoteric salmon and liver paté (popular in Scandinavia) and the enigmatic creamed caviar (popular among celebrity chefs).
In Kaliningrad, as in mother Russia and other northern European countries, hard-boiled eggs are part of the festival culture, when unpeeled eggs are decorated, shelled eggs are coloured, and egg halves are stuffed with every kind of filling imaginable.
This is the basic recipe, with one suggestion for colouring, with anchovy paste. Other fillings below.
- 1 litre water, boiled
- 4 eggs, hard-boiled
- 2 red beets, peeled, grated
- 75 g butter
- 10 anchovy fillets, minced
- 10 g parsley, chopped
- 1 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
- Water, for boiling eggs
Boil eggs timed according to size, from five minutes for small eggs to seven minutes for large eggs, immediately plunge into cold water until they are cold, about 15 minutes, peel, halve along their length, set yolks aside.
Grate beets into a large bowl, pour in boiling water, add egg halves, leave for an hour.
Sieve yolks into a bowl, cream with butter, add anchovies, black pepper and parsley, retaining some for the garnish.
Remove halves from beet water, dry.
Spoon anchovy paste into halves.
Other Stuffed Eggs
- … with anchovies, capers and olives
- … with apples and mackerel
- … with capers
- … with carrots and onions
- … with caviar
- … with cheese (any hard raw milk cheese)
- … with chicken livers
- … with cream cheese
- … with green peas
- … with ham (bacon, ham, pancetta, prosciutto)
- … with ham and onions
- … with herring mousse
- … with horseradish
- … with mint and tarragon
- … with mushrooms and peas
- … with mushrooms and tomatoes
- … with mustard
- … with nuts (almonds, pistachios, walnuts)
- … with paprika
- … with radish
- … with raisins and cheese
- … with raisins and grape juice
- … with raisins and wine
- … with sardines
- … with shrimp
- … with smoked bacon
- … with smoked salmon
- … with sour cream
- … with spinach and white cheese
- … with sprats
- … with squid
- … with tarragon and Mascarpone
- … with tuna.
Note — one or more of brandy, butter, cream, lemon juice, milk or olive oil will loosen the yolk.