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News / Life / Food

A dozen ways to devil your eggs

Good deviled egg is more than the sum of its parts

By Beth Dooley, Star Tribune
Published: April 3, 2024, 6:04am
2 Photos
Deviled eggs just dusted with paprika are always a favorite.
Deviled eggs just dusted with paprika are always a favorite. But up your game with different fillings and garnishes. Photo Gallery

Deviled eggs — the darlings of church suppers and potlucks — may sound retro, but when served at a fancy cocktail soiree, those eggs disappear long before the canapés. You’ll be hard-pressed to see a leftover deviled egg.

The culinary term “deviled” was first used in the 18th century to refer to spicy foods. But the details of what to fill the eggs with is up to the devil who makes them. Those humble eggs are neutral and accommodate a range of flavors — smoked, pickled, herbaceous and, of course, spicy. A good deviled egg is more than the sum of its parts.

If you’re left with too many Easter eggs, try experimenting with a range of fillings. The eggs are already cooked and easy to fill. I like to make a big batch of a relatively simple stuffing, then tweak small amounts with different flavors to fill different eggs.

Theories of the best way to hard boil eggs abound. Here’s my basic method: Place the eggs in a pot with enough water to cover them by at least four inches. Set the pot over high heat, bring to a low boil, cook the eggs for 10 minutes; then with a slotted spoon, remove the eggs to an ice bath to cool for at least 5 minutes. Instant Pot users swear by the “5-5-5” method: 5 minutes on high pressure, 5 minutes of natural release and 5 minutes in an ice bath.

Removing the shells can be tricky. It helps to gently crack the shell all over, then run cold water over the egg while peeling it. This seems to help the shell more easily loosen up. Once the eggs are peeled, use a sharp knife to slice them horizontally. Use a teaspoon to gently remove the yolks, and pile them into a bowl for the base.

The jury is out about what fat is best to enrich the filling and enhance the flavor. Mayonnaise is a must and some cooks add a little cream cheese or yogurt, too. Some cooks prefer a smooth, velvety filling and opt for the food processor. But if you like a few lumps, use a fork to mash the yolks with the mayonnaise.

The fun is deciding what comes next. You’ll find accompanied a range of options — from smoked salmon to salsa, pickled beets to pickled okra — for different fillings that can be salty, tangy, salty or hot. Taste, adjust, taste again. You won’t go wrong. The only mistake is not making enough.

Classic Deviled Eggs

Makes 24 halves.

Here is my go-to classic deviled egg recipe. Be sure to use a good mayonnaise (i.e. Duke’s) for the filling. These are great on their own, but also can be the base for a range of different options. Just season to taste and use whatever you have on hand.

12 hard-cooked eggs

1/3 cup mayonnaise

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Dusting of paprika for garnish

Cut the eggs in half horizontally; carefully remove the yolks and place in a bowl. Set the whites aside.

Using a fork, mash the egg yolks with the mayonnaise until the mixture is creamy but a few lumps remain. Stir in the mustard. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. For the most classic deviled eggs, simply scoop the filling back into the egg whites and garnish with the paprika. Or, create your own variations. Here are a few ideas.

Deviled egg variations

Mexican: Season with a splash of fresh lime juice and a little Tajin seasoning, to taste. Garnish with a sprinkle of Tajin.

Moroccan: Season with Za’atar and ground cumin; garnish with chopped parsley and grated lemon zest.

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Miso Sriracha: Season with miso to taste and garnish with a drizzle of Sriracha.

Pickled: Stir in chopped pickled okra or chopped dill pickles and garnish with sliced pickle or pickled okra.

Smoked salmon: Stir in flaked smoked salmon and prepared horseradish and garnish with capers.

Prosciutto: Stir in chopped prosciutto and garnish with more prosciutto.

Pickled beet: In a covered container, soak the hard-boiled, peeled eggs in pickled beet juice in the refrigerator overnight. Remove and discard the beet juice and garnish with chopped pickled beets.

Spicy and corny: Stir in corn salsa and garnish with chopped cherry tomato.

Tex-Mex: Stir in chopped avocado, chili powder, a little lime juice and garnish with chili powder.

Asian peanut: Stir in spicy peanut sauce and garnish with chopped peanuts and chopped cilantro.

Roasted pepper: Stir in chopped roasted red peppers, a shot of hot sauce and garnish with chopped mint.