Saturday, July 5, 2008

That Was Easy: Deviled Eggs

This tip came from my Mom, who got it from a friend who got it from her granddaughter. In other words, nothing original here, but if you don’t yet know about it and do make deviled eggs occasionally, you’ll thank me. I used to love deviled eggs when I was young, partly I think because they were something I could help with, but partly because there’s something simple and squishy and very appealing about these unlikely delicacies to a kid. My five-year-old nephew was once heard to say: “I was born … to eat … stuffed eggs!” My sentiments exactly. I can’t say I make deviled, or stuffed, eggs all that frequently these days, but I happened to get this tip on the Fourth of July, which seemed like an appropriately festive, homey occasion to try it out.

Hard-boil your eggs, as usual. (Incredible how many variations there are on hard-boiling eggs. I like the method where you put them in water, bring to a boil, then turn off the heat and let them sit, covered, for about 12 – 15 minutes. This results in beautifully bright-yellow yolks – especially nice for something like stuffed eggs where the yolks play such an important visual role in the final product.)

Immediately after the eggs have cooked, immerse them in ice water. This causes the whites to pull away from the shell and greatly speeds up the peeling process. After several minutes in their ice-water bath, the eggs are ready to be dried and peeled. Slice each egg in half lengthwise, and pop out the beautiful sunny yolks.

Now comes the trick: rather than mixing the filling in a bowl, drop the yolks into a small Ziploc bag. Add to the yolks whatever you choose – variations on deviled egg fillings abound, but I grew up doing them with just egg yolk, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Then zip up the bag and smush away, mixing everything thoroughly, and opening occasionally to taste and adjust.

When the filling is properly mixed and seasoned, keep the bag closed but snip off one of the bottom corners. Holding the Ziploc like an icing bag, carefully squeeze equal amounts of filling into each of your egg whites. Obviously, the clean-up is now a snap, but what’s really great about this method is how much easier it is to neatly fill each egg cavity without residual filling on the plate, smeared on the rest of the egg, etc..
Sprinkle with paprika, or whatever garnish you prefer, and they’re ready to serve. I used Spanish Hot Paprika, which gave them a nice kick. They were delicious, as always. You wouldn't want to eat them all the time, but a deviled egg now and then is reassuringly tasty and familiar.

Lesson Learned: Well, the Ziploc trick, obviously.

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