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!
(Also, we’re on Twitter! Follow us at @BearandBugEats!)
12 hard boiled eggs
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon minced dill pickle (we like Claussen)
Salt and pepper
Sandwich bag (for filling)
Boil enough water to cover eggs. Gently add eggs by lowering in with a spoon.
Boil for 30 more seconds. Cover and reduce heat to a bare simmer. Cook for 11 more minutes
While the eggs are cooking, fill a bowl with ice water. As soon as eggs are done, move from hot to ice water.
Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes. Peel under running water. Store in fridge for up to 5 days.
Slice eggs in half, longways. Remove yolks to bowl, reserving whites.
Mash yolks and mayonnaise until smooth. Stir in mustard and pickle. Taste before adding salt and pepper (the more pickle used, the less salt will be needed).
Cut one tiny corner off of a sandwich bag and spoon in filling. Use as a piping bag to fill egg whites. The easiest and cleanest way that I found to do this is to hold the tip in the center of the hollow and pipe until yolk mixture mounds up nicely.
Dust with paprika. Serve cold.