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How To Make Deviled Eggs, And Reign As Lord Of The Side Dishes

Illustration for article titled How To Make Deviled Eggs, And Reign As Lord Of The Side Dishes

Somebody always brings deviled eggs to the cookout or potluck or NA meeting, and it's never you, and that person is everyone's favorite, because deviled eggs are just the best.

And then you sit there and watch your friggin' three-bean salad (or whatever)—how you slaved over it! how you toiled!—dry up and turn shitty, because everyone is having deviled eggs, and that is all anybody wants, and you curse the Deviled Egg-Bringer from the pit of your spurned and crusty heart, not least because you yourself are ignoring the bean salad in favor of the delicious, rich, indulgent deviled eggs, a traitor against yourself, and it is their fault.

Deviled eggs aren't exactly the most reputable foodstuff—they're not serving them at Chez Wherever-The-Hell, that is—but the funny thing about them is that, basically, they're a respectable version of egg salad (or egg salad is, in essence, pulverized deviled eggs). This is to say that (basically) they're egg salad, only slightly more annoying to produce, and without bread. Well, hell, you know how to make egg salad! And, dammit, you know how not to put bread on things! So this time, you can be the Deviled Egg-Bringer, Upstager of Lesser Side Dishes, Scourge of the Bean Salad! And then, how you will laugh. How you will cackle in triumph.


Most of the work, here, is just hard-boiling some eggs. If you've done that (and you have, yes?), then most of this will seem familiar and easy, and even the parts that aren't familiar are preposterously easy.

This is a way of saying that you have no excuses for not making some deviled eggs today. Let's do it!

Conveniently, the first step toward the production of deviled eggs is to leave some eggs in the fridge for a week. We went over this back when you made regular non-deviled hard-boiled eggs, but: As an egg ages, its albumen (the egg white) detaches from the shell, so that when you eventually boil and peel it, the peels will slide right off without taking any albumen with them, and the finished result won't look as though it ran afoul of a wolverine.


(This is another reason, beyond their tastiness and user-friendliness, why deviled eggs are so wonderful: If you are anything like most people, your refrigerator virtually always contains some old-ass eggs, even when you cannot remember purchasing any, and this is a thing to do with them, once you tire of hiding them in Darren Rovell's couch cushions.)

(Ha ha, like you would ever tire of that. Man, that is a good one.)

Now, remove some of those eggs from the refrigerator, and allow them to come to room temperature on the countertop. Remember that each deviled egg is half of a hard-boiled whole egg, so don't warm up an entire dozen eggs, unless you're making deviled eggs for more than a dozen people and/or intend to eat nothing but deviled eggs for the next three days, like some kind of maniac. Figure, what, an egg, or an egg-and-a-half, per person.


(You'll remember this from hard-boiling eggs, too. Letting the eggs warm to room temperature at their own pace helps prevent them from cracking during boiling, for reasons having to do with science and/or sorcery; this isn't strictly necessary, but it'll help ensure more attractive deviled eggs. Which, I mean, probably nobody's going to be painting portraits of your deviled eggs even in the best-case scenario, but still: Good-looking food is more appetizing than bad-looking food.)

So you've got your old, warm eggs (you can make yourself feel better about allowing eggs to languish in your refrigerator by referring to them as aged, like the way cheese and wine are aged, at least until they turn black, at which point the rules require that you refer to yourself as derelict); hard-boil your eggs. You remember this: Fill a pot with three or four inches of the coldest water your tap can produce; gently lay the eggs at the bottom in a single layer; add water if you need to, to make sure the eggs are at least an inch below the surface; put this pot over high heat on the stove; literally as soon as it comes to a full boil, turn the heat off, move the pot off the burner altogether, clamp a lid on it, and set a timer for 15 minutes.


After those 15 minutes go by, carefully remove the now hard-boiled eggs from the pot and place the eggs (gently!) into a big bowl of ice water. This will arrest their cooking; also, it'll, uh, make them cold, as ice water generally does to things.

Leave the eggs alone in the ice water for, oh, 10 minutes, to bring their cooking to a complete halt. And now, peel and bisect the eggs. Be gentle, as always: No one's going to screech in horror and call the police if their deviled egg is a little nicked up, but you'll feel awfully dumb about all that aging and albumen-detaching you facilitated if, during peeling, you undo it all by ripping them to shreds. So! Be gentle. Crack each egg on a flat surface, so as not to drive shards of cracked eggshell into the firm white; peel it, then cut through the peeled egg from the narrow end to the fat one. Scoop out the cooked yolk and dump it into a separate bowl. Repeat this until all your eggs are peeled, and halved, and de-yolked.


Now you've got a bunch of de-yolked half-eggs sitting over in one spot, and a bowl full of cooked egg yolks in another. Mix the yolks with some stuff. People add all types of (figurative) shit to their deviled eggs: pickle brine and turmeric and minced celery, caviar and crème fraîche and friggin' gold leaf and the ludicrous pretense that they're not just preparing inverted egg-salad for a cookout side dish. Good for them. As for you, on the other hand, lover of good, defender of reason, appreciator of not having to make a trip to the goddamn specialty gourmet grocer, just mix your yolks together with a spoonful of dijon mustard, a splash of worcestershire sauce, a pinch of salt, and a generous-but-not-indecent scoop of real-deal by-God mayonnaise.

(Pause for a moment to enjoy—or, alternatively, recoil in horror from—the fact that you're using emulsified egg to flavor hard-boiled egg. Eggs on eggs in eggs! It's eggs all the way down. Eggs eggs eggs.)


Only you know how many eggs you are using here—you and the NSA. Use your judgment with the proportions of things. Probably you don't want more than, say, a tablespoon of mayo per six whole egg yolks; probably you don't want more than half that much mustard, salt, and worcestershire added together; probably you don't want to be hit by an asteroid. Only you can tell. A smart thing to do, if you're not certain how much of these various things you want in your deviled eggs, is to mix all these things together in a separate bowl, before you add them to the yolks, and taste, and adjust—and then, when you've got the combination just right, add the result to the bowl of yolks in small increments, and mix, and taste, and adjust. Or you could go all swirly-eyed and just start throwing shit in there. Decide for yourself.

Now you've got your yolk-mixture where you want it, so fit a fluted tip onto your pastry bag—ha ha, oh man, psych, who the fuck owns a pastry bag, much less one with a fluted tip, get the fuck outta here with that nonsense, buddy. Return the yolk-mixture to the halved egg-whites through some means or another. One way to do this is to scoop the yolk-mixture into a sturdy plastic freezer-bag, snip the tip off of one corner of the bag, and squeeze the mixture through this opening into each halved egg-white. This gives you good control over how much yolk-mixture goes into each egg white; also, if you only make a very small opening in the bag, you can be modestly artful with the thin stream of yolk-mixture, adding a swirled flourish to the top of each deviled egg. Neat!


Another way to do it is to just grab a fucking cereal spoon and scoop the shit into the eggs. This will be much faster.

In any event, at some point all of your egg-halves will be full of your very yummy yolk-mixture. Now, garnish those fuckers. This is pretty straightforward—just sprinkle each one with some paprika and a few little green rings of thinly sliced chive—and also genuinely worth doing, not only because it'll make your deviled eggs look better (which, maybe deviled eggs don't precisely need to be made more appetizing, but it can't hurt), but because paprika and chives taste good. The chives in particular will pull double-duty, adding just a tiny bit of fresh greenness to offset the eggy and mayonnaisey richness—but also, somehow, making the finished product taste ever so slightly of bacon. It's the weirdest fucking thing. Try it and see.


And hey, whoa! Deviled eggs! Aren't they pretty. Yellow and white and green and red. Array them on a serving vessel and ferry them to their doom.

Have a deviled egg. Mmm, that's good. Oh yes. Creamy and velvety, rich as hell, cool and mild, salty and tangy but just so, congenially so, a catchy pop tune for the inside of your face. Oh, what the hell, another one's not gonna kill anybody. That first one was just to check for poison. The second one, hey, that was just to make sure you got the proportions right. No, wait, stop, those don't go into your pockets, oh God what are you doing, wait, come back, you took all the deviled eggs you bastard, we'll never forgive yoouuuuuuuu.


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