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Pop's Deviled Eggs

Much is made of the humble egg this time of year. And why not? In terms of symbols for growth, regeneration, and promise, the egg may be the most logical choice. I'm still not sure about the whole rabbit thing, but I'll play along since they're so adorable...and prolific.

But the egg is something worth celebrating in and of itself. A tiny, insular edible treat. Eggs are sort of magical, especially for those of us who do a lot of baking. Eggs are the reason that things like Angel Food Cake and meringue exist. Their ability to be whipped, frothed, and beaten has given rise to hundreds of fantastically light recipes.

But eggs aren't just culinary lightweights, making cakes fluffy and topping lemon custard pies. Eggs are nearly as magical when boiled, the white conforming to the shape of the shell and the yolk suspended like a golden sun within, making for, at the very least, a dramatic but elemental dish.

The egg being such a primal food, you might think we'd have figured out its tricks by now. But all too often, hard boiled eggs are an abomination--chalky, sulfurous, and tinged with a sickly green hue from being boiled to kingdom come. This is an unnecessary culinary tragedy that can be solved with a good kitchen timer.

For deviled eggs, we like an 8-minute egg. This is just enough time for the yolk to firm up completely, readying it for mixing with other ingredients. And as for those deviled egg add-ins, we prefer to keep things simple, almost always referring to our standby recipe in JOY--Pop's Deviled Eggs ("Pop" being Ethan's father, John). If you're feeling creative, fresh herbs, capers, chutney, pesto, whole grain mustard, or minced olives all make wonderful additions.

We use a cold water start for our boiled eggs. This method actually makes eggs a little harder to peel, but you avoid the breakage that often occurs when dropping eggs into already boiling water.

Use eggs that are several days old, as they will be easier to peel. There are two reasons for this. One is the increased alkalinity of the egg over time, which weakens the bonding strength between the membrane and the egg white. The other is that as the egg ages, the air sac within the egg gets larger. In any case, whether using fresher or older eggs, you may want to boil extra in the very likely event that some of them will be very difficult to peel without damaging the white.

Other articles you might enjoy: Separating Eggs, Whipping and Folding Egg Whites, Spring Strata With Greens and Garlic Scapes

Pop's Deviled Eggs
Makes 12 stuffed eggs

Place in a saucepan just large enough to hold them snugly:
           6 large, room-temperature eggs
Cover the eggs by one inch with cold water. Put the pan over high heat and bring to a boil. The moment the water comes to a boil, remove the pan from the heat, cover, and let sit for exactly 8 minutes.
To stop the cooking, rinse the eggs under cold water or put them in an ice bath to cool completely.
To shell, gently crack the eggs all over by tapping them gently on your countertop. Roll the cracked eggs between your palms to loosen the inner membrane, making the eggs easier to peel. Starting at the large end of the eggs (there is a small air pocket at the large end that makes for a good starting place), gently peel them.
Cut the eggs lengthwise in half. Remove the yolks carefully to a bowl and gently crush and mix them with:
           3 tablespoons mayonnaise, homemade or store-bought
           1 1/2 teaspoons chili sauce
            (3/4 teaspoon curry powder)
           1/4 teaspoon black pepper
           1/4 teaspoon celery salt
           1/4 teaspoon mustard powder

Once the mixture is smooth, spoon it back into the hollowed whites. Or, for dramatic effect, use a pastry bag. Chill for at least 30 minutes before serving. Garnish with:
           Chopped fresh parsley
           Smoked paprika

Comments

Ange DeSouza's picture

I love deviled eggs. You don't get them very often at get togethers any more. But when you do, they disappear quickly. I'll have to make some this weekend.

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Make the brandied peaches first. In a medium bowl, combine:
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     2 tablespoons sugar
     3 tablespoons brandy or bourbon

Let the...