Monday, September 20, 2010

An Egg With Many Names

Ah, the Deviled Egg! What church potluck would be complete without them? I love Deviled Eggs, but did you know that they have lots of different names? For example, say you want to take them to a church potluck, but don't want to call them "deviled". Then call them "Dressed Eggs". Or if you want to sound highfalutin, then call them by their French name, "Oeufs Mimosas" (Eggs Mimosa in English). In Hungary they are called "Casino Eggs". When they are stuffed with Caviar they are called "Russian Eggs". In the Middle Ages they were called "Stuffed Eggs" and only relatively recently (the 1800s) began to be called "Deviled" due to the spices that are often used.

I grew up eating my Nana's deviled eggs. They are simple and delicious, with few ingredients, so it's economical too! Below I will give the basic instructions for making these eggs. It's not a "recipe", but more like the techniques you need to make them. You know, that's how Grandmothers cook, a dash of this, a splash of that...

Deviled Eggs

Eggs (as many as you want/need)
Mayonnaise (Hellman's is recommended)

Place your eggs in a pot and cover with cold water, allowing for a couple inches of water above the eggs. Place the pot on the stove burner and set to high. Once the water has started to boil, set a timer for nine minutes. After nine minutes, the eggs should be hard set. Remove the eggs from the pot by using a ladle and place eggs in a bowl of cold water.

Remove shells immediately. Carefully crack the egg, (I find that cracking the egg under water allows some water to get between the egg white and the membrane to allow for easier shell removal). Gently peel away the shell and set the hard boiled egg aside.

Once all eggs have been peeled, slice the eggs in half lengthwise. Pop out the egg yolks and place in a bowl. Place the egg whites in an egg dish hollow side up.

Mash the egg yolks with a fork or potato masher. Sprinkle with salt: the amount of salt will depend on the number of eggs used. It usually takes about 1 dash of salt per egg, but only add about half of that at this time. Add pepper at this time, no more than one grind/dash per two eggs. You can always adjust later to taste. Mix well. Add mayonnaise, one spoonful at a time mixing well after each addition until egg yolks are creamy. Taste the yolks and make necessary adjustments to seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if necessary.

Nana scoops the egg yolk mixture into the egg white using a fork. I have found that using a pastry bad makes the job quick and easy, not to mention kind of pretty. Either way, just fill up the hollow part of the egg white. Finish with a sprinkle of paprika over the top. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

For the last few years, I have been the deviled egg maker for the our family reunion. So using about 4 dozen eggs, I'm turning out around 100 deviled eggs!! Needless to say, not only do I have a lot of egg plates, but I also know some tricks when it comes to fixing mistakes! One time I added too much salt. Adding a little milk will help tone down the saltiness. Another time, I used a new mayonnaise brand, which I didn't realize tasted too much like vinegar until after adding to the egg yolks. A little milk and sugar did the trick, no one would have ever known. I've also used my food processor to mash and mix up the egg yolk mixture when I'm making such a large number of eggs...anything to make life easier! Finally, for the family reunion, I don't fill the eggs until I get to the location. I make everything the night before, then cover my plate with the egg whites with plastic cling. The egg yolk mixture goes into my pastry bag and sealed into a Ziploc bag and I park all of it in the fridge overnight. When I get to the reunion, I just pull out the pastry bag and quickly fill the eggs then sprinkle with the paprika.

Though many people put other ingredients in their deviled eggs, our family loves these eggs "plain", as Nana says. It's a great way to please the picky eater. That being said, there are so many ways to make deviled eggs, so how do you dress your eggs?


Michelle said...

Corey and I love deviled eggs, but I keep having the same intermittent problem. Sometimes the eggshells stick so badly that half of the egg is peeled away with the shell. I've heard many suggestions for resolution - "use old eggs", "start with cold water", "start with hot water", "put salt in the water", "peel them when they're hot", "peel them when they're cold", lol. I've tried it about every way, but never get consistent results. That's why I don't volunteer to make the eggs at our gatherings...I never know if they're going to be pretty or pitiful looking.

Elizabeth said...

I think they should be peeled while still warm. Peeling underwater might help too. Sometimes you can get way with weird looking eggs by slicing them so that the weird part is the bottom. You can always boil extra eggs and then the weird ones you can eat at home. :)