Whenever I am starting a menu for a gathering at our home, be it dinner or snacks, family or company, sultry summer or chilly wintertime, the first thing on my list is deviled eggs. I love them, but I don’t make them only for my own satisfaction. They are simple to make, beloved by guests of all ages, wonderful made ahead or at the last minute, and variable in endless ways.
Here’s a batch of plain, mayonnaisy-ones I made last summer, on one of my two deviled egg plates.
And here’s part of a huge batch which we made at Crook’s Corner this summer, when my friend Pableaux Johnson came to town with his Red Beans Roadshow. While his red beans, rice, and cornbread were cooking, we served up deviled eggs and tomato sandwiches. Chef Bill Smith’s deviled eggs that night contained finely chopped purple onion, chopped celery, and fresh herbs, and they were mighty fine. Don’t you love this green-rimmed flower-bedecked platter Crook’s used to show these off? These deviled eggs got a generous dusting of paprika just before going out the kitchen door. That platter came back empty in under 5 minutes flat. Here’s how they looked that night, and a reminder that they go with everything: Red wine, tall PBR’s, lemonade, or champagne.
Deviled eggs for four hundred people? Why sure: Been there, done that! About 3 weeks ago, as a matter of fact……
That deviled eggs big-batch was part of the goodness on this handsome rectangular platter, one of which graced every table in the Powerhouse in Oxford Mississippi. This was my on-the-table start-the-party item, kicking off the Welcome Supper for the Southern Foodways Alliance annual SFA Symposium, with a lot of help from the wonderful Chef Bill Smith of Crook’s Corner, and a dynamite crew of kitchen superheroes at Chef John Currence’s Main Event catering kitchens in Oxford MS.
We served up this recipe for cilantro and curry deviled eggs along with itty-bitty biscuits filled with country ham, and pimento cheese. More on that supper on an upcoming blogpost — this one is about helping you to get your deviled egg skills sharp in time for holiday cooking, because there is just no better way to anchor your menu that this longtime old time Southern standby.
Once you know how to make them, you hardly need a recipe, but in case you are new to this kitchen treasure, I’ve written one out to give you a good start. I love to mix things up a little, adding hot or mild curry powder, thinly sliced and finely chopped green onions or chives, and chopped fresh herbs such as cilantro, tarragon, parsley, or dill. Many of my relatives add finely chopped pickle relish along with a little of its brine, and while this is not my favorite, I always manage to eat several because regardless of how you make them at your house, I find that you just can’t hardly mess deviled eggs up! Here’s a batch ready to travel with sweet potato pie and a caramel cake, with some pico de gallo to brighten things up a little. You could live on this for a number of days, don’t you think?
Step one is preparing hard-boiled eggs. Check out this excellent how-to feature on The Kitchn, one of my very favorite go-to cooking sites, in which every point to remember gets covered well. Fantastic short and sweet little video makes it all clear in case you’d rather see than read all about it. Here’s another hard-boiled eggs lesson from Kenji Lopez-Alt. Once you’ve boiled your eggs, you’ll be ready to halve, separate, mash up and fill the lovely ovoid whites of the eggs, so that your guests can praise you and love you forever.
Once you’ve made deviled eggs a time or two, you will be leaving the recipe behind and sorting out your favorite aspects for your own version. For a softer, creamier filling, add more mayonnaise. For a fiery note in a very good way, use 2 teaspoons of Thai red curry paste instead of curry powder. For a chic party touch, pipe the filling into the egg whites using a pastry bag with star tip, or a zip-closure plastic bag with one corner snipped away.
- 8 large eggs
- 4 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 rounded tablespoon curry powder
- 2 teaspoons creole mustard or dijon mustard or ballpark mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped green onions or chives
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro or fresh parsley or bail or tarragon
- Put the eggs in a medium saucepan and add cold water to cover them. Place over high heat and bring to a lively boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, enough to keep the eggs at a simmer, and cook for 8 minutes. Remove from the heat, drain, and add cold water to cover. Let stand until cool enough to handle. (Add some ice cubes to the cooling water if you are in a hurry.
- Meanwhile, combine the mayonnaise, curry powder or Thai curry paste, mustard of using, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Stir with a fork and scrape with a spatula to combine the seasonings well. Peel the eggs, tapping the ends on the counter to crack the shells well, and pulling away the shells. Don’t worry about bits of shell; simply rinse the peeled eggs once you finish, to remove any of these bits.
- Cut the eggs lengthwise in half. Use a butter knife, so that kids can handle this task, or observe the way to do so when they are old enough to do so. Scoop out the yolks and add them to the medium bowl holding the mayonnaise mixture. Set the whites aside on a platter plate large enough to hold the deviled eggs.
- Using a fork and a spatula, mash the egg yolks and mayonnaise mixture together, scraping the bowl to combine everything well. Stir in the green onion and cilantro leaves and mix to combine everything evenly and well. Using a table knife or butter knife, stuff each egg-white half with about a tablespoon of the egg yolk mixture, dividing it up evenly among the eggs. Round and smooth the tops of the stuffed eggs. Serve at once, or soon; or cover and chill until shortly before serving time.