No well-respected Southern event, be it a wedding, funeral or dinner after a lengthy Easter church service, is complete without a platter of deviled eggs.
With spring approaching and decorations of bunny rabbits and colored eggs popping up in every store, deviled eggs have been on my mind.
After making hundreds, if not thousands, of these white and yellow hors d'oeuvres over the years, I truly believe I have them mastered.
If there were a deviled egg competition, I would proudly put mine up against anyone else. Whenever my family takes dibs on dishes at the holidays, everyone knows the deviled eggs are mine and mine alone to do.
If my self confidence was as strong as my confidence in my deviled eggs, I’d be golden.
My mother first showed me how to make these delicious treats when I was about 10 years old. They may not seem like it, but deviled eggs are somewhat of a fine art, and it’s not the ingredients that make it so.
My list of ingredients list is simple and calls for, aside from eggs, mayonnaise (preferably Blue Plate), yellow mustard, sweet relish, paprika, salt and pepper. I’ve seen some recipes that call for ingredients like bacon, onion, avocado, cheese and more. Please, for the sake of your taste buds, don’t try to get cute and creative. It’s not worth it.
The steps to making deviled eggs is painstakingly tedious and I dread it every time. But, it has gotten a little easier over the years as I learn a lot from my mistakes.
The worst part of the process is boiling and peeling the eggs.
I have heard every trick of the trade on how to make peeling eggs easier. My brother and I have discussed this topic at length and one thing I know for sure is, most of them don’t work.
Through much experience, I have learned there is one crucial step to peeling eggs and that is to peel them while they’re still hot. I used to let my boiled eggs sit in cold water for 15 minutes or longer before starting the peeling process. I would then be stuck picking at the eggs, hoping more than a spec of shell would come off at one time.
Now, I run just enough cool water over the boiled eggs until my fingers can comfortably hold them, and then I immediately start peeling. The heat and steam seems to help the membrane not stick as much to the egg.
Once all the eggs are peeled, rinsed and patted dry, slice them in half lengthwise and put the cooked yolk into a bowl. I even go as far as taking a damp paper towel and wiping off my egg whites so they look as clean as possible.
With a fork, mush every part of the yolk until the texture is somewhat like sand. When you add ingredients, start small and slowly add more as needed to get the right flavor and texture.
I start with a spoonful or two of mayo, a couple squirts of mustard, and a small spoonful of sweet relish, so small you almost wonder why it’s even being used. I don’t use a single measuring spoon. Don’t try to be too specific.
By the time you’re done, the texture should be smooth and creamy. If it’s at all lumpy, you need to mush the yolk more or add more mayo.
Then, sprinkle in paprika, salt and pepper; mix everything and give it a taste. Think it needs a touch more mustard? Go for it. Maybe it needs another dash or two more of paprika? Put it in.
Once the flavor is to your satisfaction, transfer the mixture into a ziplock bag. Cut a small piece of a corner and use it as if you’re piping icing. Starting from the center of your egg, pipe the mixture out in a circular motion and gently pull away when it’s full. If you have your own cake icing kit and would rather use that, go for it. You can make some pretty snazzy looking eggs with those, but I just prefer the ziplock bag method because the end result still turns out beautifully and I like being able to toss the bag into the trash when I’m done.
Once all the eggs are all filled, gently sprinkle more paprika on top to give a nice dusting.
When that’s done, voila. You should have a beautiful plate of delicious deviled eggs.
I personally do not like refrigerating mine. Getting cold changes the texture and taste. It’s something I prepare near the end of the meal as everyone finishes their dishes so they can be eaten fresh.
I have yet to hear a single complaint about my deviled eggs, even from my outspoken brother who is not afraid to give me a very honest critique. In fact, I usually have to keep my eye on him during family gatherings or he’ll eat 10 on his own.
It is my sincere hope that this has been somewhat helpful for the next time you’re ready to make a batch of deviled eggs. If you feel inclined, I would love to see pictures sent to my email. Or, if you think your approach is better, please send me your recipe.
Catherine Kirk is managing editor of the Delta Democrat-Times. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.