Anyone who has known me for a span longer than two years has seen me get on “kicks,” preoccupations of various types that turn into hobbies, habits or regular entries in my repertoire of recipes. My latest cooking craze is deviled eggs.
It started a few weeks ago when I was hosting a small cocktail party built primarily around the showcasing of two cheese fondues (another of my culinary kicks). I wanted to feature something else besides just fondue on my hors d’oeuvres menu, but I didn’t want to spend much additional money (since I am generally poor and had already spent my weekly “entertainment budget” on the sum of food and booze). Most easy hors d’oeuvres that came immediately to mind were cheese-based spreads and dips, both of which would be silly accompaniments to fondue. Also, I wanted something finger-food-ish, since the fondue would already require much dipping. Any vegetable-based appetizers I found seemed either too complex for a last minute addition or two expensive (fresh vegetables are not cheap, so even something as simple as crudites was off my list).
At long last I discovered a fairly standard deviled eggs recipe when browsing Food.com. I had never really liked hard-boiled eggs because of the predominance of the egg white; on rare occasions when I do have breakfast eggs, I get them sunny-side up, dip bread in the yolks and leave the cooked whites untouched. But I figured, I didn’t really have to eat them, did I? I was embellishing my menu for the sake of my guests, anyway. I would be happy enough making do with fondue alone, and deviled eggs met my other criteria of being a finger food and being cheap (eggs are under $2 a dozen and I had most of the other ingredients for deviled eggs in my cupboards already)
As with most recipes, however, I’m usually not satisfied just to make the “standard” recipe, especially when a classic food seems ripe for experimentation. I delved further into the online recipe archives before finding two varieties of deviled eggs that seemed promising. The first was a recipe for seafood eggs that gave me a starting place, but ended up largely altered from the original.
SARAH’S SEAFOOD DEVILED EGGS
12 hard-boiled eggs, shelled
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1 can crabmeat or salmon, drained and flaked
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives or green onion
paprika, for sprinkling
Cut eggs in half legnth-wise and scoop out the yolks. In a small bowl or container (I use 3 cup measuring cup), combine yolks, mayo, lemon juice, mustard, pepper, Old Bay, fish and chives. I like to use electric egg beaters because they combine the yolk mixture easily and thoroughly without pulverizing the texture of the fish or eliminating the color flecks of the chives like a food processor or immersion blender would. Once the yolk mixture is combined, spoon the mixture into the yolk halves and chill for at least two hours before serving.
I have made the above recipe twice now, once with crabmeat and once with salmon, and it turned out delicious each time. What I especially like about this recipe is the fact that it produces enough filling really to load up the egg. Since the egg white is my least favorite part (I regard it as something of a protein-rich cracker, i.e. merely a means of yummy yolk delivery), the more of it heaped with filling, the better.
The second deviled egg recipe I tried was the biggest hit with my guests that night, and I cannot deny that it was mighty tasty. This recipe was also a bit altered from the original to suit my aesthetics.
SARAH’S MANGO CURRY DEVILED EGGS
6 hard-boiled eggs, shelled
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon mango chutney
1 tablespoon green onions or chives, minced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Cut eggs in half length-wise and scoop out the yolks. In a small bowl or container, combine yolks, mayo, mango chutney, green onions, lemon juice, and spices. Once the yolk mixture is combined, spoon the mixture into the yolk halves and chill for at least two hours before serving.
As I found myself having increasing success with deviled egg recipes, and thus found myself making the recipes more frequently, two points of interest arose. The first was logistical. Shelled hard-boiled eggs are slippery characters, and in my first attempts to transport deviled eggs (even just from the refrigerator to the table, but also in the car to other locales) I discovered how easily the finished deviled egg will tip, depositing filling on its neighbor or on the bottom or sides of its container.
The logical recourse was, of course, to find a plate or container specifically designed for the purpose of corralling deviled eggs. Seems like a simple enough endeavor, but it turns out that finding a deviled egg tray to suit all my needs was a taller order than I imagined. First of all, most of the trays I found were serving plates… all well and good for the table, but without a lid they did me no good (the deviled egg filling will get dry if stored uncovered in the refrigerator). Most of the containers with deviled egg trays and lids were either too cheap (i.e. cheaply made with a dozen bad reviews on Amazon) or too expensive ($40, really? For a plastic deviled egg tray?)
After much investigation I stumbled upon the Snapware Egg-tainer. Not only is it a stackable tupperware-style container designed for deviled egg transportation and storage, but the indented egg trays are plain white and removable so to be attractive for serving on a table that’s a bit classier than a tupperware spread. Unfortunately Amazon failed me on this one. While I did find it on Amazon, it was only offered by third party sellers, and thus saddled with sizable shipping costs. After some further research I found that it was available in-store at my local Bed, Bath and Beyond for $8.99 (two stacked trays for 12 eggs each). So far I’m getting a lot of use out of my trays, and thinking I may have to get another set sometime soon.
The second point of interest as I delved further into deviled egg cookery was aesthetic, namely that most pictures of deviled eggs in cookbooks feature yolks that have been squeezed out through the starred tip of a pastry bag. To give my eggs a professional appearance, I decided to invest in a pastry bag and tip set. My pastry bag research left me a bit confused as to whether I would need a large or small bag, and whether I would need a coupler attachment. In the end I decided on the Ateco Extra Wide Pastry Decorating Tip Set plus a Large Tip Coupler. Unfortunately the tip coupler did not come with instructions on how to install it on the pastry bag, so I decided to try the bag once without it. The tip was difficult to keep in place, so the next time around I decided to use the coupler. To the best of my assessment the only way to install the coupler would be to cut off a small part of the bag; I did and it seems to hold in place well enough (though I do have to remove the coupler for cleaning). The pastry bag allowed me easily to make stylish deviled eggs, but the unfortunate part of the bag is that it’s difficult to get all the filling out in the end. With my curried egg recipe that doesn’t have much extra bulk, this means that I’m scrambling for filling by the time I get to the last eggs. It’s worth making the more attractive, though.
Check back soon as my adventures in deviled eggs continue.