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Easter side-dishes: #1 Deviled Eggs

April 19, 2011
Deviled eggs

Image by Mandajuice via Flickr

After our annual Easter Sunday mid-morning egg hunt was over our mothers would rush into the kitchen to make use of all the cracked eggs.  The badly cracked ones would go into potato salad and the less cracked ones would be split in half, the yolks scooped out and creamed with lots of mayonnaise, salt & black pepper, finely chopped sweet pickles and some finely minced onion, a little splash of white vinegar and put back into the scooped out egg halves and then topped with some paprika powder.  Lots of paprika! It was the same recipe every year and I detested them. But, my aunts loved them more than the ham, even more than the cakes and pies.

When I was old enough to think about writing as a career I found myself soaking up conversations.  I knew someday I’d write.  I knew my aunts were full of gab!  And I knew their gab was interesting enough to entertain.  So, I started to record in my memory sights, sounds, smells, and words.

“Not me, I’d rather eat deviled eggs than Ham!” declared Aunt Louise.

“Mom! Not even angel food cake over deviled eggs?” spoke up Barbara.

“No, the devil wins out” Louise said as she winked at Barbara.

And so it went, year after year.

—————–    ——————

First let me tell you about boiling an egg.  I know, I know!! You are raising your eyebrows, tilting your head to one side and saying under your breath: Oh, really?

Yes! Really.

Eggs are little jewels from our friends ‘The Chicken’ okay, so I’ve taken it too far but eggs are like jewels, they either shine or they don’t.  That means they either ‘shine on you table’ and everyone wants to eat them, or . . . well, they don’t shine and everyone makes the sign of the cross over the top of the dish and they go uneaten.

1. The first thing you do is pick a pot with a lid. Place eggs into the pot and pour enough water to completely cover the eggs.  Then, pour in the salt! Lots of it.  A little will do nothing so put at least 1/4 to 1/3 cup of salt into the water. In other words, salt those babies up!

2. Then, cover the pan with its lid.  Bring to a boil.  After it boils, without removing cover, turn off heat and let set on the burner for ten minutes.  (I’ve read 7 minutes on this but 10 actually works best)  The result is an egg that has a firm but softer white, little (if any) dark ring around a fully cooked yolk, which is neither dry or rubbery.

3. Let eggs cool enough to be able to peel, or refrigerate to be used later.  You decide.  I usually never peel my eggs until I am ready to make them up.  However, they will keep for several hours (or overnight) in the refrigerator made ahead of time of serving.

It is important to me to give direction that allows you, my reader, to cook as you like!  I detest having to follow a recipe to the letter, unless, of course, it is a cake in which case, we’d best follow to the letter.  But, we are talking eggs here, so please yourself.

The stuffing I like to do:  I mash the egg yolks with a fork; add just enough mayo to make them come together and be fluffy (about 1/4 to 1/3 cup to a dozen eggs); I add a small amount (1 teaspoon) of grated onion (my kids do not like onion in their deviled eggs but unbeknown to them mine have always has onion, the trick is that I grate it! And, just add the tiniest amount); I add some finely rubbed oregano (I do this by taking the oregano flakes between my palms and rubbing my palms together to create a fine powder, I know this sounds weird to unsanitary, but this is what I do; and I only add enough salt & white pepper to lightly flavor the yolks; then I add a splash of white vinegar.  That’s it, folks! When the eggs are filled I sprinkle some parsley flakes and some smoked paprika on top for color.

Variation#1:  In the south, deviled eggs always have sweet pickles in them. So, if you want the southern version, add some very finely chopped sweet pickles to the eggs and omit the oregano. Also, most southerners add a tiny amount of mustard for pep.

Variation #2: Equal amounts of mayonnaise and sour cream; tiny amount of dijon mustard, equal amounts of pickles juice and lemon juice (for a dozen eggs maybe only a total of 2 tsp); salt & white pepper to taste; dash of hot sauce for pep!

Variation #3: add small amount of dijon mustard (maybe 1 tsp.) and twice that amount of curry powder (maybe 2 tsp.) to the mayonnaise.  Also, add finely minced celery stalk (use the light green, tender inside stalk); salt & white pepper to taste and sprinkle with smoked paprika to finish off.

You have noticed I have not given you measurements on all the ingredients.  This is on purpose.  Just go light on each ingredient, taste, adjust until your filling is exactly as you like.

Wow, that is a lot of writing for a simple side dish of Deviled Eggs!

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