Finnish Egg Butter Kicks Butt
My favorite thing to do when I go out to breakfast is to smash my eggs (any style) over my toast and add a few shakes of salt. If the establishment is reputable, the neatly stacked sliced of bread will be buttered. The combination of creamy egg and slightly salty butter with a bit of crunchy-chewy toast is just the most satisfying thing. Little did I know, I was essentially making a variation of the egg butter dish, munavoi (or munavõi). Egg butter, a spread of crumbled hard-boiled eggs and butter, has roots in both Finnish and Estonian cuisine. Egg butter is typically smeared on Karelian pasties, rice or potato filled rye flour pastries, or over rye bread.
Creamy egg butter starts with properly hard-boiled eggs. Hard-boil 2 or 3 eggs according to your preferred method. Here's the method I was taught: Place eggs directly into a saucepan of water with a splash of white vinegar and a pinch of salt, then bring the water to a boil over medium high heat. Immediately after the water comes to a boil, cover the saucepan and turn off the heat. Let the eggs sit in the water for at least 8 and no more than 12 minutes, then pull out the eggs with a slotted spoon and plop them into a bowl of ice water. Let the eggs sit in the water for at least half the amount of time they sat in the water after the pan was taken off the heat. Then peel off the shell.
To turn hard-boiled eggs into egg butter, simply mash the eggs with a fork along with 2 or 3 tablespoons of butter. Add salt to taste if you like, and, although it’s not part of classic recipe, I add a few grinds of black pepper.
Smear Finnish egg butter over multigrain or no grain, sourdough, rye, or whatever bread you happen to enjoy. Do it again. Be happy.
There you have it! You know know how to make egg butter at home. But wouldn’t it be better if you didn’t have to do some of that work? If your answer is “Sure, why not!” listen up. Head to your local diner or breakfast joint. Order two hard-boiled eggs and a few slices of toast. When the food arrives, ask for a side or a few packets of butter and a cereal bowl. Don’t be embarrassed if the server gives you an odd look—you know where this is going.
While you’re waiting, mash the eggs with a fork in the small dish the came in. When the waiter brings the butter and the dish, scoop the eggs into the larger bowl along with the butter and add salt and pepper to taste. Smear on your toast and be proud of yourself.