What is it about Deviled Eggs that makes them so popular? I have yet to attend a gathering (office pot luck, family gatherings, parties that include food) that the Deviled Egg in some form doesn’t make an appearance. Perhaps it’s the versatility of the Deviled Egg – the personal touches that makes each platter as individual as the creator. Even store-bought deviled eggs, with a few touches, are transformed from ordinary to extraordinary. Just as there are countless ways to make the deviled egg, there are a multitude of platters whose sole purpose is to serve those eggs in style.
I was about ten the first time I made Deviled Eggs. It was a New Year’s Eve party my parents were hosting. While I was too young to attend the midnight gathering of their friends and neighbors, it didn’t mean that I wasn’t there, lurking in the hallway, listening to conversations I didn’t fully understand, hoping against hope that someone would mention my Deviled Eggs. Some did, some didn’t. All I knew was that when the party was over, not an egg was left. I felt so proud of myself. From that day on, I was the official Deviled Egg maker in our house.
Over the years, my original recipe evolved, as recipes do. The key to deviled egg success is to develop a base egg, a blank canvas from which colors, textures and flavors spring forth. There are two different bases for deviled eggs – one is truly “deviled” using dill pickle juice or wine vinegar at its core; the other is a sweeter mixture, with sugar or sweet pickle juice. While it’s strictly a personal preference, my “core” is of the devilish variety. To deepen the yellow of the yolk, a little mustard may also be added. Different mustards will impart different color and texture. A basic yellow will give a little kick with a deep yellow color. Dijon will bring more bite with a paler yellow. Stone ground mustards bring more texture to the palate. The yolk filling can also be colored with the simple use of yellow food coloring without changing the basic texture or flavor.
Ingredients – Basic
16 Hard Boiled Eggs
1 cup mayonnaise
3 teaspoons mustard (yellow, stoned or Dijon-Style Mustard – it’s a matter of personal tastes – try each to see which flavor suits you)
4 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
Onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste
Tip: Boil 2 eggs more than required to fill serving tray. The extra eggs give more yolk filling, the extra whites allow for tasting and adjusting seasonings if necessary.
To Boil eggs, place eggs in a pan and cover with cold water. Bring to a full boil. Remove from heat, cover and let rest for 12-14 minutes. Drain, then plunge eggs into ice-cold water to cease the cooking process. The results will be a perfectly cooked egg with a sunny yellow yolk.
Tips for Peeling Hard-Boiled Eggs: Once eggs are cool enough to handle, roll gently on counter to crack shells. Place into cold water, refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from water and peel. Water will work its way into shell, the result is an easily peeled egg.
Peel eggs and cut in half lengthwise. Remove egg yolks and place yolks in food processor with mixing/chopping blade. Place 12 white halves on serving dish or egg platter. Select best of the halves.
Mix/chop yolks until fluffy and are fine grade resembling bread crumbs. Add mayonnaise and mustard and mix until creamy. Mix in red wine vinegar one tablespoon at a time and season to taste.
Fill the egg white halves with yolk mixture. For “fancy” eggs, place yolk mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip and pipe mixture into egg halves. Chill for several hours before serving.
Ingredients Ideas – Beyond Basic
Capers, 2-4 Teaspoons, finely chopped
Dill Relish,3 tablespoons
1 Cup Ham, ground fine
Bacon, 10 slices cooked crisp
Basic Deviled Eggs with Capers: Add capers with yolks and chop to a fine meal. (If piping filling, use a large tip, smaller tips will clog). Additional whole capers may be used as a garnish.
Basic Deviled Eggs with Dill Relish: Add dill pickle relish to mixture. To fill whites, use a small scoop to form rounds on top of egg whites. Small sprigs of dill may be used as a garnish.
Basic Deviled Eggs with Ham or Bacon: Add finely chopped ham or bacon bits (This mixture will not pipe well. If you want to pipe filling, place ham in the food processor first, grind to a fine meal, then add egg yolks and continue to process for the basic recipe. More mayonnaise may be needed to create a creamy filling. Add 1 tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached. When using ham, remember that the ham will add salt. Before seasoning the mix, be sure to taste. Additional salt may not be necessary.
Ingredients – Garnish
Paprika, sweet or smoked
Olives, finely chopped
Cooked Shrimp, tails removed
Salmon, thinly sliced
To add more color, texture and flavor, garnish is always a nice touch. The most basic garnish is paprika. While most people prefer the sweet Hungarian Paprika, for fillings that include bacon or ham, a smoked paprika is a nice alternative. When it comes to garnish, there are no rules, no limitations. If you can visualize it, you can use it. Think color and texture, then go for it.
For a Mexican influence, use taco seasoning in place of the onion and garlic powders and add a garnish of chopped Jalapeno.
For an Italian flair, try adding a few fresh or dried herbs to the mix such as oregano or rosemary. You could even use a few tablespoons of dry Italian Dressing mix. Garnish with a little Prosciutto.
For Bacon-Ranch deviled eggs, add dry Ranch Dressing mix to the yolk. Garnish with bits of bacon.
The best part of Deviled Eggs is that they look great all dressed up, so don’t hesitate to invite them along to more formal affairs, too.