One of my first ever major cooking fails involved deviled eggs. For a BBQ in college, I decided to whip some up at the spur of the moment, thinking, you just boil eggs and mix in some mayo and mustard, how hard can it be? Well, let's just say I underestimated all the things that can go wrong with deviled eggs. Yet, since they are so freaking good, I've never given up trying to achieve deviled egg perfection. I think I've finally gotten there (with a little help from April Bloomfield) and I'm willing to share my secrets with you just in time for Easter. Ready?
Secret number 1: don't use new eggs. Don't use really old eggs either, of course, but some that have been sitting in your fridge for a week or so will be easier to peel than some you just bought.
Secret number 2: the night before you boil your eggs, turn them upside down in the carton. This will make the yolk of the egg move to a more central position, which not only looks nicer, it will make your deviled eggs more stable.
Secret number 3: don't overcook your eggs! The recipe I used (below) calls for cooking your eggs for 10 minutes in water you've already brought to a boil. Once the eggs are cooked, cool them down as quickly as possible using cold water or an ice bath to prevent them from cooking any further. This method produces bright yellow yolks, not green ones.
Secret number 4: use a food processor to get your filling super smooth, which will make it easier for you to accomplish the next secret.
Secret number 5: pipe the filling into your eggs, rather than using a spoon. You can just snip the corner off a plastic baggie if you don't have piping bags/tips.
Of course, a great deviled egg recipe is the ultimate secret weapon. To produce these lovelies, I used April Bloomfield's recipe from the Spotted Pig:
April Bloomfield's Deviled Eggs (from Serious Eats)
6 large eggs
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar (white or rice wine vinegar are great substitutes)
1 tablespoon crème fraîche (to make your own see below)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Maldon or other flaky sea salt
2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
Cayenne or paprika (I used smoked paprika)
Extra virgin olive oil (optional) for drizzling
Fill a medium pot at least halfway with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Use a slotted spoon to gently place the eggs in the water, and cook them for 10 minutes (set a timer). Drain the eggs and run them under cold water or place in an ice bath until they’re fully cool.
Lightly tap each egg against the counter to crack the shell all over, then peel them and pat them dry. Halve them lengthwise with a sharp knife (not serrated).
Gently pop yolks out of the whites and into a small food processor. Add the mayonnaise and blend until smooth, then add the vinegar, crème fraîche, and mustard and blend again. Have a taste and season with salt.
Spoon the mix into a pastry bag.
Pop the bag and the eggs into the fridge for 30 minutes (or until ready to serve). Pat the whites dry with a kitchen towel and pipe an equal amount of the yolk mixture into each white. Top each one off with a sprinkle of the chives and a dusting of cayenne or paprika. If you like, add a sprinkle of sea salt and a drizzle of olive oil and serve.
To make your own crème fraîche, add a small amount (1 to 2 tablespoons) of buttermilk or yogurt (preferrably pasteurized rather than ultra-pasteurized) to a few cups of heavy cream, and let the mixture sit out in a clear jar or plastic container in a warm place for 12 to 36 hours. Once the mixture has thickened, it will keep in the fridge for 7 to 10 days. In addition to using it to flavor your deviled eggs, you can enjoy it over fresh fruit and pancakes, or stirred into soups, scrambled eggs, and mashed potatoes. Really, the possibilities are endless.
Follow all of these suggestions and you will produce the best deviled eggs you've ever had, guaranteed!