Aren’t they pretty?
The biggest, darker eggs are from the store. The smaller green and brown eggs are from hens on my friend’s parents’ property. They keep the grass bug-free, and in return they lay these beauties.
This generosity meant that I suddenly had two and a half dozen eggs, counting what was already in the fridge, and I wasn’t about to let them go to waste. Hence: a deviled egg-making party (of one, but one who gets to choose the music). But before we bedevil these eggs, let’s talk about creating the perfect hard boiled egg.
When I started college, I had to call my mom to ask her how to boil eggs. It may sound dumb, but it turns out that there are plenty of ways to make less-than perfect (if usually still edible) hard-boiled eggs. There’s the disastrous under-boiling. There’s slightly under-boiling, so the yolks are cooked but the white is awkwardly soft. And there’s over-boiling, so the yolks turn that weird gray-green color.
Enter Alton Brown. The man has done Science! in the kitchen so we don’t have to. His most recent recommended method for best-cooked, easy-to-peel eggs involves adding the eggs to already-boiling water, then dunking in ice water to stop the cooking process. (He also has a method for steaming, rather than boiling, eggs, which I skipped as I have no steamer basket.) He also recommends cooling eggs for 15+ minutes and peeling under running water.
While it’s a little finicky, it’s worth it to have nicer-looking eggs, especially if you’re going to show them off by deviling them. As a bonus, the ice bath actually removes most of the air-bubble dimple, so if that’s a thing that you’d like, ice is your friend.
And then, we devil.
There are bajillions of ways to devil eggs, of course, but I’ve used a very simple classic one here. The eggs yolks are mashed to smoothness with mayonnaise and Dijon mustard (I used a stone-ground Dijon) and a little minced dill pickle is mixed in, with salt and pepper to taste. Paprika, for color and subtle flavor, to finish. And instead of trying to glop filling in with a spoon, a sandwich-turned-piping bag for a faster and prettier fill.
If you’re a process person, then Alton Brown’s long “egg-speriment,” where he describes exactly how he arrived at this method, is right up your alley. And if your perfect boiled eggs are just begging for a finicky gourmet deviling, try Serious Eats’ 9 In-Your-Face Deviled Egg recipes. This includes Deviled Eggs with Crispy Chorizo & Smoked Paprika and Deviled Eggs Benedict!
What’s your favorite deviled egg? Pickles? Relish? Plain mustard-and-mayonnaise? Your grandma’s secret recipe? I’d love to hear it!
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