Got eggs? Devil them for a real crowd pleaser

Published 12:07 am Saturday, April 7, 2012

Over the five years since I have been writing this column, I usually think of deviled eggs for Easter since there are usually so many hardboiled eggs to use. I am always amazed that, of all the foods I prepare for coffee hour at church, the deviled eggs are the first to go. They are just the perfect two-bite hors d’oeuvre for any gathering, and they are easy to make and highly portable. I have recently bought my own special container just for my deviled eggs.

Where in the world did the term “deviled” come from? I found that it dates back to the 18th century, referring to the use of hot spices in cooking. “Devil” in the Oxford English Dictionary became a verb, in its referral to various highly-seasoned broiled or fried dishes. Contemporary versions of deviled eggs may include garlic, horseradish, chutney, capers, salsa, hot sauce, wasabi, spinach or sour cream. Some of these are not hot. Some parts of the United States such as the South and Midwest refused to use the term “deviled” and would call the eggs “salad” or “dressed” eggs.

Some of the people down South only use Duke’s mayonnaise, and some people use pickle relish. The ones I made used firm yolks combined with mayonnaise, mustard and a little bacon fat. You can finish the eggs with toppings of paprika, caviar, or as I did, use the bacon for a topper.

Bacon Deviled Eggs From ‘bon appétit’

Makes 24. Skip the bacon if you like and substitute 2 Tbsp. melted butter instead.

Place 12 large eggs in a saucepan; add water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil, cover and remove from heat. Let sit 10 minutes. Drain. Transfer eggs to a bowl of ice water and let cool completely, about 10 minutes; peel. Halve lengthwise and remove yolks. Coarsely chop three slices of bacon. Cook in a medium skillet over medium heat until browned and crisp. Transfer bacon to paper towels. Strain drippings through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl. Add melted butter if needed to measure 2 Tbsp.

Finely mash reserved yolks, bacon fat (and /or butter), 1/3 cup mayonnaise, 2 tsp. Dijon mustard, and 1 heaping Tbsp. chopped scallions in a medium bowl; season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Transfer to a large re-sealable freezer bag, then cut 1/2 “ off one corner. Pipe into whites; garnish with thinly sliced scallions and reserved bacon.

This is a new twist with deviled eggs, using salmon in the filling. I tried these and they are keepers.

Taken from the April 2012, issue of ‘Food and Wine.’

Smoked-Salmon Deviled Eggs

8 large eggs

½ cup finely chopped smoked salmon (2 ounces)

1/3 cup mayonnaise

2 cornichons, cut into ¼ -inch dice plus 2 teaspoons pickling liquid from the jar

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard


Old Bay seasoning for sprinkling

In a large saucepan, cover the eggs with water and bring to a vigorous boil. Cover the saucepan, remove from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes.

Drain off the water and shake the pan gently to crack the eggs. Cool the eggs slightly under cold running water; then peel them under running water. Pat dry.

Cut the eggs in half lengthwise and carefully remove the yolks. Transfer the yolks to a bowl and mash well with a fork. Stir in the salmon, mayonnaise, cornichons, cornichon liquid and Dijon mustard. Season with salt. Mound the filling in the egg-white halves and sprinkle with Old Bay. Serve slightly chilled.

Even if you do not like the contents of a deviled egg, the plain hardboiled is good for you. Of course the best eggs to buy are the pastured or free range, but they are pricey and hard to find. The organic indicates cage free and free of hormones and antibiotics. They would probably be next best. The cage free means they were not confined to cages but they may never have left the crowded barn. The natural label means nothing since every raw chicken egg is natural. Just read your labels. I’ve come a long way in my understanding of where my food comes from. On a trip to England in the 1980s, I remember seeing a sign “free range eggs.” Great, free eggs!

One large egg weighs about 2 ounces, has 74 calories and is made up of many interconnected parts. The yolk delivers three-quarters of the egg’s calories and nutrients and contains the proteins that create emulsions like aioli. The white is 90 percent water, and the remainder is mainly protein. The inner white of the egg cushions the yolk and will appear cloudy when very fresh. The outer white will cook more quickly than the inner (as in a fried egg). Older eggs have a higher proportion of this thin white. It is good to remember that the yolk and white go together just like peanut butter and jelly.

Happy Easter! Enjoy the eggs!