The Art of Preparing Deviled Eggs
This article is not going to be a recipe as all of our tastebuds differ, and each person will want more or less of a certain ingredient. I'm assuming you have two basic abilities: you can taste, and you can boil eggs.
The first most important thing about making good deviled eggs is that you have to boil eggs PERFECTLY. If you are not sure you can do this, practice on the day prior to the event to ensure that you're timing is just right. With deviled eggs, it's not only important that the egg be cooked perfectly, but that you CONTINUE TO STIR the boiling eggs once the water start to heat up. The latter is to ensure that the yolk of the egg solidifies precisely in the middle of the boiled egg, as much as possible. As far as what the "perfectly boiled egg" is - when you peel one open, you should have a perfectly yellow yolk, cooked through with no runniness, and ABSOLUTELY no grey or darkened edges around the rim of the yolk. If it's turned colors, you boiled it for too long - try again. Every stove will vary, but whatever you do, do not forget to continue slowly and regularly stirring the eggs, softly making sure that you do not crack the eggs.
Let's assume you have a batch of perfectly boiled eggs. If you boiled 5, you will have 10 deviled eggs. I usually calculate that each person will have 2 eggs each, and this is usually too few - but deviled eggs are not supposed to ruin your appetite or serve as a meal. It's simply a start to a cocktail hour or party dish.
Dunk all the boiled eggs into icy cold water to prevent them from cooking further. As each egg cools down, peel each one and lay aside. Once all the eggs are done - slice each in half. Now, take a teaspoon and lightly scoop out the yolk of each egg by pushing down a bit on the whites of the egg, which will show you a clear demarcation of where to insert the spoon to pluck out the yolk. If you boiled your eggs correctly, this should be an easy task.
Lay each yolk into a bowl large enough to hold all the yolks you will have, times two as your final product will be about that much. Carefully lay aside the whites as you will be needing these in a few minutes.
Here is where everyone's individual tastebuds come into play.
What I always use in deviled eggs are the following: salt, pepper, mayonnaise, dijon mustard, sour cream, dill leaves, Tabasco sauce, ham or spam, red onion, and green onions, fresh parsley and paprika.
In the bowl full of yolks, scoop up enough mayonnaise to create the consistency you think you want. Less is better as you can always add more, and use a potato masher to completely mash the yolks. If it's too crumbly, add more mayonnaise. Also, during this time, add a small teaspoon of dijon mustard, and if you so choose, you can replace up to 1/4 of the mayonnaise required with some sour cream, though I am not sure that sour cream is any healthier than mayonnaise. Mash until you have the consistency you like. Personally, I prefer my deviled eggs soft but some prefer a denser egg yolk - this part is completely up to you and controlled by the mayonnaise and/or sour cream.
Now, once you have the consistency you desire, taste it and see if it needs any salt. Again, this depends on your taste, as does the pepper you will now use. If you like lots of pepper, go to town. If not, skip it altogether.
Now you have the base ready, and this is when you will chop as much of the ham as you want for your deviled eggs. I have used SPAM on occasion, and it's actually more popular, but this is up to you. Once in a while, if it's for a daytime event, I will fry some bacon and chop it up into tiny little pieces, drain all the oil, pat them down with paper towels, and add the crisped bacon in lieu of ham/SPAM. It becomes a delicious breakfast treat then. After you have chopped up enough of the meat source, put it into the bowl.
Then, you will chop up as much of the red onion and green onion you want. This is not just for taste, but also to add an interesting color and texture contrast that keeps your eggs tasting fresh and delicious. Chop, pour into bowl.
Sprinkle the mixture with dill, pour in as much Tabasco as you can handle (also keeping in mind that Tabasco has a lot of salt and will add saltiness), take a spoon and softly mix all the ingredients together. Do not use the masher anymore as you are not trying to crush the new ingredients, but simply mix them all into the egg yolk mix. Taste, and make sure this mixture is to your liking.
Now, the artistry begins.
Take each emptied egg white, and use a teapspoon to scoop the yolk mix and put the top bulging part of the spoon facedown into the pocket where the yolk used to be. This way,. you ensure good filling without having to push your yolk mix down. Take an additional scoop of the mix to top off the whites, and create the appearance you like. Repeat for all of the others.
Now, you're almost done.
Lay out all the finished eggs onto a nice plate, and chop up your fresh parsley into small bits. On each egg, sprinkle a small amount of parsley, and then add a drop of tabasco on top. Finally, sprinkle all the eggs with a tiny amount of Paprika, which will mainly be for decoration more than taste.
Now - - you have the perfectly finished deviled eggs before you, ready to be enjoyed by all. If you will not be serving them soon, place the whole batch into the refrigerator to bring out 15 minutes before serving.
-If you follow my directions - you will almost ALWAYS have leftover yolk mix. Feel free to be generous with your filling as you fill each egg white with the yellow mix.
- Always boil 2-3 more eggs than you will ideally need. Some eggs break while boiling, some don't peel correctly, and some may have the yolk too close to the edge and the whites will rip as you de-yolk them. Leave room for error. Also, if you have friends or family around you while you make this, you will find that they will always grab one or two each while you're making them, so it's best to have extras on hand when boiling.
- Make enough to satisfy your guests. If you made too much, you can always store in the refrigerator for a couple of days, tightly covered, and they taste just as good tomorrow as they do today, assuming you stored them properly. Tupperware works great for this purpose.
- In general, wines (both white or red) do not go perfectly with any and all egg dishes. The same applies to deviled eggs, although I have had them served with a Viognier, or a nice Riesling on occasion. They do, however, go nicely with Bloody Marys, or beers - and are most popular at Super Bowl parties, or friends' gatherings at other sport events. Also, deviled eggs are extremely popular with kids - even those who normally exclaim, "I hate eggs!"
Get ready to be the most popular host for the evening!