Years ago, before we worried so much about food safety, parents would use up all the colored Easter eggs to make deviled eggs.
We now know we shouldn't eat hard-boiled eggs that have been out of the refrigerator for any length of time, but deviled eggs are still a treat at Easter time.
A Southern classic, deviled eggs have changed over the years. You can now find them filled with concoctions that contain anything from mayonnaise and mustard to cashews and caviar.
Chef-cookbook author Hugh Acheson says in A New Turn in the South (Clarkson Potter, $35) that "deviled eggs need to have a kick, or you have made stuffed eggs and left the devil out. Life gets boring without a little devilish influence."
In his recipe for deviled eggs, he adds smoked hot paprika for heat and garnishes the filled egg white with chopped fresh chives, cooked lobster, cooked bacon, chopped ham, cooked chanterelles, pickled shrimp, or pickled okra.
As you can see, the varieties are endless.
When making deviled eggs, it's best to use eggs that aren't the freshest because older eggs peel easier than fresher ones. If you have a dozen or so eggs in the refrigerator, use them for hard boiling, and buy fresh ones for making omelets and baked goods for the holiday feast.
Learning how to properly boil the eggs is of upmost importance. So we went to the professionals — the American Egg Board — to get advice. Using their technique, you can make perfectly cooked eggs every time.
To make basic hard-boiled eggs, place eggs in saucepan large enough to hold them in single layer. Add cold water to cover eggs by 1 inch. Heat over high heat just to boiling. Remove from burner. Cover pan.
Let eggs stand in hot water about 12 minutes for large eggs (9 minutes for medium eggs; 15 minutes for extra large). Drain immediately and cool completely under cold running water or in bowl of ice water, then refrigerate.
Sometimes the hard-boiled eggs will have a greenish ring. This harmless but unsightly discoloration sometimes forms around hard-boiled yolks results from a reaction between sulfur in the egg white and iron in the yolk. It occurs when eggs have been cooked for too long or at too high a temperature. Cooking eggs in hot, not boiling, water, then cooling immediately, minimizes this.
Hard-boiled eggs are easiest to peel right after cooling. Cooling causes the egg to contract slightly in the shell. To peel a hard-boiled egg, gently tap egg on counter top until shell is finely crackled all over. Roll egg between hands to loosen shell. Starting peeling at large end, holding egg under cold running water to help ease the shell off.
In the shell, hard-boiled eggs may be refrigerated safely up to one week. Refrigerate in their original carton to prevent odor absorption. Once peeled, eggs should be eaten that day.Almost every cook has his or her own recipe for the filling, but to change it up a little this Easter, try one of these dozen variations.
This recipe is from The Glitz at Irish Acres at Nonesuch. Co-owner Emilie Hannigan McCauley tops off the eggs with caviar, but a snip of parsley will work just fine
The Glitz's eggs
2½ teaspoons salt, divided
2 teaspoons white vinegar
11/2 teaspoons white pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
2⁄3 cup sour cream
¼ cup caviar
Combine eggs with cold water to cover by 2 inches in a large stockpot. Add 2 teaspoons salt and vinegar. Bring to a boil over high heat and boil for 1 minute. Turn off heat and let eggs sit in hot water for 15 minutes. Drain in a colander, rinsing under cool running water. Crack each egg shell and place in ice water. Peel the eggs and drain on paper towels. Cut into halves lengthwise. Process yolks, ½ teaspoon salt, pepper, onion powder and sour cream in a food processor until blended. Spoon mixture into a pastry bag. Place the whites on a serving platter. Pipe yolk mixture into whites. Top each egg with ¼ teaspoon caviar. Garnish with parsley leaf. Makes 20 servings.
The recipe for traditional Southern deviled eggs is from the queen of Southern cooking, Paula Deen
Traditional deviled eggs
7 large eggs, hard-boiled and peeled
1/4 cup mayonnaise
11/2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
Salt and pepper, for taste
Paprika, for garnishing
Sweet gherkin pickles sliced, for garnishing
Pimentos, for garnishing
Halve eggs lengthwise. Remove yolks and place in a small bowl.
Mash yolks with a fork and stir in mayonnaise, pickle relish and mustard. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Fill egg whites evenly with yolk mixture. Garnish with paprika, pickles and pimentos. Store covered in refrigerator.
This is a Southern Living recipe.
Buttery Dijon deviled eggs
1 dozen large eggs, hard-boiled and peeled
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
Salt to taste
Ground white pepper to taste
Cut eggs in half lengthwise; carefully remove yolks. Mash yolks; stir in butter and next 4 ingredients. Stir in salt and white pepper to taste. Spoon or pipe yolk mixture evenly into egg white halves. Sprinkle with paprika, if desired. Cover and chill at least 1 hour or until ready to serve.
This recipe, found at Smitten Kitchen, was adapted from Good Food to Share.
Caesar salad deviled eggs
6 large eggs
12 small romaine lettuce leaves
2 to 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons smooth Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, optional
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 anchovy fillet, minced
1 small clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese or more, to taste
Place eggs in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once water begins to boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer eggs for exactly 10 minutes. Drain eggs and cover with cold water. This will help the eggs chill more quickly.
Arrange 12 small lettuce leaves on a serving platter. Carefully peel eggs and cut in half lengthwise. Remove yolks and place them in a small bowl. Arrange egg whites on lettuce. Mash yolks with mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire (if using), lemon juice and 1 tablespoon parsley until smooth. Season generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set filling aside.
In a small skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add anchovy and garlic, and cook, stirring until anchovy begins to dissolve into oil, about 1 minute. Add lemon zest and bread crumbs, and sauté them until golden, about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in Parmesan , then aside.
When you're ready to serve eggs, spoon yolk mixture into cavities of egg whites, mounding it slightly in the center. Sprinkle each egg with some of the crumb mixture (about 1 teaspoon), allowing some to spill onto the lettuce cups. Garnish with remaining chopped parsley and serve.
More deviled eggs
Here are eight more ways to jazz up one of our favorite Southern comfort foods. To the basic egg mixture of your choosing:
â Add a dash of Sriracha with a garnish of pickled carrots or daikon.
â Fold in puréed beets to give eggs a pink hue and top with smoky blue cheese.
â Stir in 2 teaspoons drained capers and 1 teaspoon chopped fresh chives.
â Add 2 to 3 tablespoons finely chopped green onions and 2 teaspoons curry powder.
â Blend in 1/4 cup creamy Italian salad dressing and 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese.
â For a Mexican flavor, add 1 tablespoon bottled salsa and 1/2 teaspoon cumin. Garnish with cilantro.
â Add 2 tablespoons finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes and 1 teaspoon basil, fresh minced or dried.
â Add 2 teaspoons French onion dip.
Sharon Thompson: (859) 231-3321. Twitter: @FlavorsofKY. Blog: flavorsofkentucky.bloginky.com.