If you grew up in the South, or even if you only arrived a few months ago, you’ve surely figured out that deviled eggs are a staple dish at events ranging from family cookouts to chic wedding receptions. Inexpensive and easy to make, simple deviled eggs can be made with a dollop of mayonnaise and a dab of mustard. More sophisticated varieties feature layers of savory and smoky flavors cradled in the silky, smooth egg white, which provides the ideal conveyance and eliminates the need for forks at casual events like tailgates and picnics.
Part of the fun of making deviled eggs is the opportunity to experiment until you hit upon the perfect combination of flavors for your crowd. I’ve tried pesto eggs, Southwestern eggs, and classic Southern eggs, but the recipe below is my family’s favorite. My co-workers, neighbors, friends, and fellow tailgaters gobble them up, too.
To make deviled eggs that are easy to peel, start with eggs that have been in the refrigerator for a week or so. Fresh eggs can be frustrating to peel, which results in waste, not to mention ugly eggs.
Remove the eggs from the refrigerator and allow them to come to room temperature. Meanwhile, bring water to boil in a large saucepan. Once the water has reached a vigorous rolling boil, gently lower the eggs one at a time into the pan. After all the eggs are covered by water, set a timer for 11 minutes.
While the eggs are boiling, fill another pan or mixing bowl with ice and cover with water. After the timer dings or beeps, carefully remove the eggs from the boiling water and lower them into the ice water. This helps to make the eggs easier to peel. After the eggs are cooled, you can return them to the refrigerator.
When you are ready to peel the eggs, crack the bottom of each egg on the countertop or cutting board and do your best to peel away the membrane, which will (most of the time) remove the shell quite easily. If the shell doesn’t peel quite so easily, I suggest praying. Cursing doesn’t really seem to help much. Peeling the eggs under cold, running water may help a little bit.
Once the eggs are peeled, slice them in half lengthwise with a sharp knife, wiping the blade between each cut. Place the yolks in a separate bowl or, if you are transporting the eggs, in a gallon-size zip-top plastic bag. Set the eggs whites aside.
To make the egg yolk filling, smash the yolks with a fork until very fine. For a dozen deviled eggs add:
2 to 3 tablespoons Duke’s mayonnaise
2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon capers
2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
1/8 teaspoon garlic salt
Smoked paprika for garnish
Mix until smooth, either with a handheld mixer or with a fork and elbow grease. Gently spoon the yolk mixture into each egg white, and arrange the eggs on a platter. Fresh-cut rosemary stems make a great garnish and prevent the eggs from sliding around if you’re presenting them on a platter or other flat surface.
If you’re transporting the eggs, mix the yolk filling by massaging it in the zip-top bag. Keep the egg whites and the filling chilled. Once you’ve reached your destination, snip off a bottom corner of the bag and pipe the filling into the egg whites.
No matter where you serve these savory eggs, you’re bound to return home with an empty plate and a heart full of compliments.