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Devilishly Delicious: Excelling the Deviled Egg

By Inside Columbia
brook

Photo by L.G. Patterson

Once you lock eyes on deviled eggs at an event, you know you’ll have two, three or even a dozen. Fortunately, exactly how they’re counted is somewhat contentious. Technically if you consume a dozen, it is only six eggs. I prefer to go with that math if asked. The modern version of deviled eggs, with mayonnaise as a binder, dates back to the late 1800s, appearing in the Boston Cooking School Cookbook. This was a few years after the first American recipe had been published in a newspaper in Alabama, albeit without mayonnaise.

EGG

While an older egg may peel easier because of the enlarged air sack, that may lead to a misshapen egg that is not as symmetrical. There are several methods to hard-cooked eggs, some add them to hot water, some boil them with the eggs, and some bring them to a boil and let it sit, this is my preferred method. If you limit the amount of time the eggs are at a hot temperature, you can hopefully prevent the green ring around the outside of the yolk. The green is caused when cooking at a high heat. The protein will start to break down and release a sulfur gas, causing the green ring, and sometimes the smell associated with the cooked eggs.

COOK

This method may have to be tweaked some but will become foolproof, use the same pan, the same number of eggs, the same volume and temperature of water to start, and the same amount of time sitting after coming to a boil. The Cook — one dozen eggs, covered by one inch of cold water, bring to a boil over high heat, once the water has boiled, turn off, cover the pan and let sit for 12 minutes. Gently pour out hot water, and run under cold water for about two minutes until they are just cool enough to handle.

PEEL

It’s best to peel the eggs as soon as they are cool enough to handle. I leave the cool water in the pan and crack the egg with several dozen small hits to the counter evenly spread throughout the egg. Then carefully pick at the broken shell, trying to get just under the shell membrane. I dip the egg under water to separate the membrane from the egg. Keep repeating and dipping until the shell comes off in several large pieces. Then place the eggs into ice water to chill and rinse off any small pieces of the shell.

CUT

While the traditional method involves cutting the egg vertically to create an oval shape, cutting horizontally offers a sturdier circular base, ideal for heavier toppings. This may work better if you are topping with a more substantial item and you need a more sturdy base to grab. While you can cut the egg all the way through, you also can roll the egg as you pull the knife across, leaving the yolk whole, and then pop out the yolk like an avocado pit.

FILLING

I have some suggestions on filling amounts below. The filling should be adjusted to taste, as the moisture content of yolks can vary. Mixing and tasting is going to be your best guide. If it seems a little dry, add more mayonnaise, pickle juice, vinegar or even water. You can swap out the mayo for other items like butter, ranch, relish or avocado depending on what flavor profile you want to go with. You can use a two-spoon method (scoop filling with one, push onto the egg with the other), or a piping bag (have a dedicated pastry piping bag and tips) or scoop the filling into a ziplock bag (this method may not be as pretty, but it sure is easy). Fill a bag, cut off a corner and squeeze the mixture onto the egg).

TOPPING

Here is where you can get creative or keep it basic. If you want, just dust it with a little paprika. It will be delicious, and I will probably eat at least five. If you want to switch it up, pick a theme and break it down. What items would go well mixed into the yolks (avocado, soy sauce, miso, ranch, blue cheese, jalapeno pickle juice), and what items need to go on top (charred corn, crispy bacon, jalapeno slices, Cotija cheese, salmon, shallots, herbs, spices). The sky’s the limit, and if you build it, they will come to eat it. Sometimes a swing and a miss is what it takes to come up with a hit the next time (my favorite of the shoot was the elote egg).

Basic Deviled Eggs

Ingredients
  

  • 6 eggs
  • 2-3 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp relish or diced pickles
  • 1-2 tbsp pickle juice or cider vinegar
  • 1-2 tsp mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Paprika to dust

Instructions
 

  • Cover eggs with about an inch of cold water, bring to a boil, cover, turn off the heat and let sit for 12minutes. Pour off hot water, and run cold water over eggs until cool enough to handle. Once cool, gentlycrack several times and peel, place each in ice water to cool the rest of the way down for 10 to 15minutes while peeling the rest of the eggs. While the eggs are cooling, gather the rest of your ingredients for classic deviled eggs or your variations.
  • Cut eggs in half and remove yolks, place into a mixing bowl and crush with a fork, set whites onto a platter or serving vessel. Whisk in other ingredients until the mixture is mostly smooth. Taste and season as needed with salt, pepper, and more pickle juice, mustard, or relish as desired.
  • Fill egg white halves with the mixture until mounding about 1⁄4 inch above the hole where the yolk cameout. Dust with paprika, or top with other ingredients as desired. Serve or store in the refrigerator for oneto two days. The best practice is to make mix the day beforehand, not have it unrefrigerated for morethan a few hours while serving and dispose of or consume extras within a total of three days of making.If somehow you have leftover deviled eggs, chop them up with a little more mayonnaise and seasoning,they do make a great egg salad. Play around with some ingredients, take a flavor profile or concept youlike, and make it your own. Here are a few suggestions, but feel free to branch out and be creative.
  • Classic – mayo, mustard, pickles, vinegar, paprika
    Bleu and Steak – bleu cheese, caramelized onions, steak, chives
    Popper – cream cheese, jalapeno, bacon
    Lox – cream cheese, lox, capers, shallots, black sesame seeds
    Miso Scallion – miso, scallion, soy sauce, sesame seeds
    Elote – avocado, charred corn with butter, cotija cheese, cilantro, tahini, lime juice and zest
    Fried Chicken – fried chicken, hot sauce, pickle

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