Friday, January 3, 2014

Deviled Eggs

Back in 1870, the United States Patent Office granted it's first ever food trademark (No. 82) to William Underwood of Underwood's Deviling for their "devil" logo.  

An original can of Underwood's Deviled Ham from a 1921 advertisement 

Underwood was an Englishman who started a small condiment business on Boston's Russia Wharf in 1822. Years later his sons joined the business and in 1868 they introduced a line of seasoned meat products and called the process "deviling". And this folks,  was the birth of all things deviled which simply implied that a product had some sort of kick either from mustard, spice, or chili pepper. 

When it comes to deviled eggs there are a couple of things I find important.  Besides the proper cooking of your eggs (no green or grey edged yolks - more on that later!) you really want to focus on mastering the texture.  I'm not a fan of overly processed or runny deviled yolk filling; there has to be a little bit of crunch and lots of creaminess.

 My preferred sources of "crunch" are tiny diced cornichon or some dill pickle and a bit of celery. Sometimes a little fresh herbage is nice too - minced chive, dill or chervil. Then a bit of mayo and dijon, squeeze of fresh lemon, pinch of paprika, and dash of tabasco. Finish with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste. 

So that would be a super classic deviled egg. 

Mash it up and spoon into your egg whites. 

Now there are a million variations of this... you substitute creme fraiche, yogurt, hummus or avocado for the mayonnaise.  You can be fancy and top them with a spoonful of caviar or smoked and flaked trout.  You could get crazy and add crispy bacon bits into the mix or finely diced jalapeƱo.  You could do miniature deviled eggs and swap your chicken eggs for quail eggs. You could add wasabi or sriracha for extra heat. The best part about deviled eggs is that there are no rules when it comes to the filling. 

Now that you are armed with an arsenal of ideas, let's talk about how you should be hard-boiling those eggs. Everyone has a method - there's a debate on whether you should bring the eggs to room temperature first or pull them straight from the fridge and I'm not here to tell you what is right or wrong but I will tell you what works perfectly for me 100% of the time. 

I pull my chilled eggs from the fridge (I'm far too impatient to wait for those suckers to come up to room temp) and place them into a saucepan/pot. Cover eggs with room temperature water (make sure they are fully covered). Turn the heat on high and bring to a boil. As soon as the water comes to a boil turn off the heat and cover the pot with a lid. Set a timer for exactly 9 minutes. When the timer goes off, place the eggs into an ice bath. Boom. Perfect hard-boiled eggs every single time.  

Happy deviling friends!! 

What are your favorite deviled egg combinations? Would love to hear about it! 

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