Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Don't Put Mustard In Your Deviled Eggs!

With Easter Sunday this weekend, we are in entering into prime deviled egg season.  Potlucks, picnics and family feasts are the delicious stomping grounds for the little devils, but you don't have to save them for a special occasion.  But please don't ruin them by putting mustard in them.  Or any other weird ingredients for that matter.

Deviled eggs are perfect in their simplicity.  You don't have to mess around with them.  No pickles.  No relish.  No caviar.  Ew.  Here are the ingredients for the perfect deviled egg: eggs, Duke's mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar and salt.  That's it.  I know what I'm talking about.  People ask, nay DEMAND, that I bring my deviled eggs to parties and family gatherings.  If more than one egg recipe is in attendance, mine always get scarfed up first.  There are sad faces when they are gone.

Now, I don't have a specific recipe that I follow other than knowing what ingredients to use, but I'll give you some measurements as a guide.  I also have to give credit to my Mom, who taught me how to make these.  I make them the same way she does...by taste.  The thing is, the proportions of ingredients depends on how many eggs you are making.  I just know when they are right when they taste right.

The first thing you have to do is hard-boil your eggs.  This can be tricky in and of itself.  I learned how to avoid the dreaded green ring years ago.  The secret is to stop the cooking process by putting the eggs in an ice bath immediately after draining the boiling water.  The secret to cooking them perfectly in the first place is this little egg shaped thingy that goes in the water and turns all the way purple when they are done.

Go get one.  Now.  Thank me later.

Next, you have to peel your eggs.  This is where your recipe can go from deviled eggs to egg salad in no time flat.  Use eggs that are at least a week old.  The membrane clings more strongly to the shells of fresh laid eggs making them near impossible to cleanly peel.  If you are making eggs for the family and they don't care if they look like the surface of the moon, don't worry about it.  If presentation matters, make sure to use less fresh eggs.

I tap the egg all around on the inside of my sink, roll it a little to loosen the shell, and usually I can get the shell to come off in two large pieces.  

Sometimes I still get moon craters.  (The one time I wanted an egg to mess up, this is the best I could do.)

I always boil extra eggs to make up for casualties.  (The extra yolks get used in the recipe.)

Slice your eggs in half lengthwise and pop the yolks out into a bowl.  Place the whites on your egg platter.

If you don't have an egg platter just use a regular plate, but be warned that the little devils slide around.

Make some friends with your extra whites.

Once you have all the yolks in the bowl, mash them up with a fork until they are in pretty uniformly small bits.  The finer the particles, the smoother your filling will be.

Put in a little salt, and add your apple cider vinegar.  Mix to incorporate, then add the mayo a little at a time until you get the consistency you want.

Too much mayo and the filling will be too thin to hold a pretty peak.  I prefer mine to be a little stiffer but it's a personal preference.

Now taste the filling.  Does it need more tang?  Add a splash of vinegar at a time and mix well until you get the flavor you want.  Same for salt.  Once you get it to your taste, it's time to fill the eggs.

I have a decorator gun that I got at a yard sale many years ago that I use solely for piping deviled egg filling into the whites.  My Mom uses 2 spoons.  You can use a pastry bag and tip also.  I like my egg gun.  It's fun to use and my eggs turn out pretty.  Those extra yolks allow me to overfill each white for the perfect filling to white ratio.

Lastly, to paprika or not to paprika?  That is the question.  Personally I like the zen of mine unadorned. I won't judge if you want to put it on yours.  If you do want to use paprika, please remember that paprika is bright red.  Not brown.  Red.  Brown paprika is old and tasteless, and well, it's unattractive.  It's downright counterproductive to sprinkle it on your perfect eggs if you don't have good paprika.

Mustard though?  Just, no.

Simply Perfect Deviled Eggs
6 plus 3 eggs (for one dozen egg halves)
3 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup Duke's mayonnaise
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt (to taste)

Boil the eggs to hard cooked, then cool in an ice bath.  Peel the eggs, then cut each one in half lengthwise and put the yolks in a bowl.  Choose the best looking halves and place on an egg platter or plate.

Mash the yolks with a fork until finely crumbled, then add salt and vinegar.  Mix well.  Add mayonnaise a little at a time mixing well until desired consistency.  Taste and adjust vinegar and salt as needed.  Fill the egg halves with spoons, pastry bag or decorator gun.

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