Fennel Seeds Are The Key To Give Pickled Eggs A Robust Burst Of Flavor

Pickling is a surefire way to feel like a "proper" home cook. The intersection of gastronomy and science is a delicious, impressive territory tread with mouth-watering grace. It's time to pickle some eggs. Eggs are super savory umami bombs on their own but aren't exactly loaded with flavor. That's where the fennel comes in. Dried fennel seeds tote an aromatic, earthy flavor with a licorice-like snap. They're often used as a pickling spice and are sold in the dried herb aisle at most grocery stores.

This single humble ingredient instantly lends an unexpected dimensionality to your hard-boiled eggs. Fennel errs on the sweeter side but with herby complexity even further diversified by the piquant vinegar. It's a sexy snack — and a mature facelift to the complementary pickled egg that your bartender passes you as a sign that it's time to leave soon.

These mouth-watering, crave-able herby pickled eggs come from Tasting Table recipe developer Jennine Rye, and they're all about the perfect marriage of elegant ingredients. The fennel is further showcased by tarragon, a leafy green herb that totes a similar licorice flavor. Tarragon is bittersweet but with a fresh, springy taste that has made it popular in French Béarnaise sauce over chicken, fish, and (you guessed it) eggs. 

Eggs-actly the note you've been missing

Unlike punchy apple cider vinegar or full-bodied red wine vinegar, this recipe calls for white wine vinegar, whose light and fruity profile gives subtle sweetness and clarifying acidity to your herbaceous egg brine. Plus, clear white wine vinegar doesn't affect the color of a dish, allowing the leafy herbs to remain the star of the show visually. These herby pickled eggs are objectively cooler than the kitschy fuchsia beet juice pickled eggs that remain a landmark at buffet salad bars everywhere. For presentation bonus points, they look extra pretty floating in the leafy green tarragon-filled brine jar — cottage core apothecary aesthetic lovers, rise up.

Perhaps best of all, these eggs are ready in about 20 minutes from start to finish and are just as impressive as they are economical. Skip the stress of the holiday season and its myriad parties that require you to bring a covered dish. These thrifty, sophisticated little bites have you covered. Due to the delicate, volatile nature of tarragon's tender leaves, opt for a bundle of fresh tarragon for this recipe rather than dried tarragon in a jar. If you prefer a stronger fennel flavor, hit up your local farmers market or herbalist shop and get whole fennel seeds rather than the dried version. The taste is punchier if you grind the seeds yourself.