It’s all about the Egg.

It’s hard to believe it is already this time of the year! I quite like it when both Easter and Passover occur simultaneously – doesn’t happen that often but when it does it really highlights the cultural diversity in Australia.

Egg and Onion for LetsLunch

It’s hard to believe it is already this time of the year! I quite like it when both Easter and Passover occur simultaneously – doesn’t happen that often but when it does it really highlights the cultural diversity in Australia.

As the entire nation is feasting on Easter eggs (in every shape, size, composition and quality) as well as hot cross buns from the (ordinary) now-choc-chip-filled supermarket varieties in neat half-dozen plastic bags to the irresistible spice-scented glazed sourdough version at the local organic baker – it is hard to resist. At the same time, members of the Jewish community are buying up boxes of matzo (unleavened bread), matzo meal, matzo flour, matzo cakes (I could go on) and many many MANY dozens of eggs. Everyone links Easter with the egg, but really Passover should be called the FESTIVAL OF THE EGG.

I think for my mum’s Passover Seder (the traditional meal on the eve of Passover), she must go through at least 10 dozen. Eggs are the main ingredient in matzo balls and flourless egg ‘noodles’ for soup, boiled eggs with salt water are served as part of the Seder to represent the hardened hearts and salty sweat and tears of the Jewish slaves. Eggs are essential in most Passover cakes which, containing no flour or rising agents, require stiffly whisked egg whites to give them volume and substance. Macaroons are made with egg whites and nuts to give a luscious chewy Passover biscuit. A favourite Passover breakfast is ‘Matzo-brai’, a dish somewhere between French toast (using matzo instead of bread) and scrambled eggs.
So at least we know why we are all talking about the egg!

Without a doubt, my favourite egg recipe is the simplest one I have, and probably the oldest one I know. It’s known as ‘Egg and Onion’, or ‘E & O’ if you have been eating it for over 40 years, as I have!

Egg and Onion has been part of my parents’ Shabbat (Friday night) dinner for as long as I can remember and it is now part of mine. I serve it in bowls on the table so everyone can help themselves. It makes me smile to think of my mum who always serves each person at the table one whole scoop of egg and onion (using an ice-cream scoop!) on a piece of lettuce on each individual plate. The recipe originated from my Buba (grandmother) Shendel in Poland in the 1920s. She taught it to her daughters, but not to her son (my father), who in turn taught it to their wonderful Greek housekeeper, Pat. When Pat started helping my mother in the kitchen on Friday afternoons, she passed it on (or rather, back) to my mother and eventually to me. It won’t be long before my kids will be making it. One of my best food memories from my years at school was walking in on a Friday afternoon to the aroma of frying onions and being allowed to help Pat season (and of course taste!!) this wonderful dish.

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Egg and Onion’, or ‘E & O’

  • 4 brown onions, chopped
  • 185 ml (3/4 cup) vegetable oil
  • 12 eggs

Put the onions and oil in a large frying pan and fry for about 20 minutes on a medium to high heat, until golden brown and very soft. Meanwhile, boil the eggs for 8 minutes until hard-boiled. Remove the pan from the heat, drain and then cover the eggs with cold water. When just cool enough to handle, peel the eggs and grate into a large bowl using the coarse side of a grater.

Spoon the onions onto the egg, leaving most of the oil in the pan. You may need this oil so don’t discard yet. Season generously with salt and pepper, and combine the onions and egg with your hands or a wooden spoon, tasting as you go. If too dry, add a little oil from the pan. The mixture should stick together if pressed with your hand, but should not be overly oily.

Until ready to serve, cover with plastic wrap, pressing it onto the surface of the egg and onion so it doesn’t dry out. Keep at room temperature and serve with challah or bagels. It is also delicious eaten on crackers or matzo at Passover time.

Serves 12 as a starter. I use the guide of 1 egg per person for a shared first course.

Boil the eggs. See? Easy!
Fry the chopped onions in a generous amount of oil. Don’t be shy here!
The onions need to be deep golden brown before they are ready for the eggs
Grate the egg by hand, using the coarse side of the grater. If you keep the egg in your palm, you will avoid grated knuckles which add nothing to the dish
Combine the egg and the onion..reserving the oil so you can add as needed. Season well!
Tada

 

Here are some of the other LetsLunch posts this month:

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5 Comments

  1. Joyce Rachlin

    Lisa, I look forward to having the eggs and onion (which I used to make weekly but now haven’t had in over ten years. However, you should know that Rosh Hashana is celebrated for two days in Israel as well. It’s the only two day holiday.

    1. Lisa Goldberg

      Joyce – thanks for your message! I hope your egg & onion is as good as you remember it being for all those years. Thanks for your note re Israel – I have now amended the post and I am very happy to now know that fact. I assumed (like Pesach) that it was only a one day holiday in Israel….but now (thanks to you!) I know!
      Chag sameach,
      Lisa

  2. Laurie

    Can you keep this in the fridge? Or is it better to use right away?

    1. Lisa Goldberg

      Hi Laurie, it is best when eaten within a couple of hours of making and not refrigerated. If you must make it ahead of time, either bring out of the fridge an hour or so before eating or pop in the microwave just for 20 seconds to give it a little warmth.
      Happy cooking!
      Lisa

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