Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Deviled Egg Bar

I was surfing around on Pinterest one day and saw a FABULOUS idea - the deviled egg bar. Make deviled eggs, then serve them with a variety of yummy accoutrements. Mmm . . . I had to get on that bandwagon. Shortly thereafter, I was heading to an event where I needed some kind of appetizer but I didn't have time to run to the store. Ta da! I always have eggs!

To make deviled eggs right, there are three steps:

  1. cooking the eggs, 
  2. making the filling, and
  3. making them pretty. 

Luckily, I have a tried and true method for all three of these steps.

(Quick tidbit on eggs. If you can get pastured eggs, go for it! The difference is unbelievable. If you can't get those, please get organic free-range. It's scary what a difference you'll see in the eggs. Color, texture, everything.)

Cooking eggs
Chances are, you've heard a few different way for making a hard boiled egg. But chances are, most methods you've heard of have too much room for variation. Putting eggs in cold water, then bringing them to a boil? Really? Well how much water? How big is your pot? How many eggs can you put in? I'm sorry, but this just won't cut it for me. Then do you keep boiling? Do you simmer? Do you cover and let sit? The only method that makes any sense to my mathematical and scientific mind is the one I read in The Joy of Cooking. Problem is, they keep re-writing the book!

I have three editions: the 1973 edition, where they profess the Cold Water Method, admitting the initial temperature of your eggs can affect the cook time by as much as 2 minutes; the 1997 edition, where they introduce the Boiling Water Start; and the 2006 edition, where they backtrack and head back to the Cold Water Start for hard boiled, but admit soft boiled eggs need much more precise timing, hence the Boiling Water Start is best.

Well, I say, if it's best for soft boiled, why mess with it for hard boiled too?

So, the ONLY way to get perfect hard boiled eggs every time is to do the following.

1 - Bring a pot of water at least 3/4 full to a full rolling boil.
2 - Gently lower your eggs into the pot with a slotted spoon.
3 - Start your timer
4 - At precisely 14 minutes (for large eggs), turn off the heat, drain the hot water, and begin dousing the pot and the eggs with cold water.

You must keep the water running for a while, or else the hot pot will quickly heat the cold water up again.

Not only will you have perfect hard boiled eggs - with the most beautiful - never green yolks, but you will find this is the only way to cook hard boiled eggs that are easy to peel, every time.

Now are those pretty or what? To crack 'em, hit them on the counter, then procede to roll the egg on the counter, kinda pressing with your palm the whole time. The shell with come off in sheets - every time!

Making the Filling
Now, they don't call them deviled eggs for nothing. The devil made them, now EAT THEM! Kidding. :o)

I grew up eating deviled eggs that Weese made. She just used yolks, mayonnaise, salt, and white pepper. I thought they were delicious, but I like to read and revise, read and revise, read and revise. I've made a couple of adjustments.

  1. Boil a dozen eggs, but pick 2 of your flimsiest whites and eat them. Everyone likes a really FULL deviled egg. No need to skimp on filling.
  2. Use a potato ricer on your yolks. This makes them nice and fluffy, while ensuring you don't have any big chunks of yolk without some yummy stuff.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of softened butter. Oh my goodness! Yum. I love butter and butter makes all things better - especially deviled eggs. (I always use unsalted land o'lakes.)

I learned the butter trick from Virginia Willis in Bon Appetit, Y'all. My friend gave me her cookbook for my 39th birthday. The inscription reads, "To a great friend and a great cook who can appreciate that the foods that taste best are almost never good for you." Perfectly put, Daphne. I love you!

So, those are my tricks. Here's the recipe:
12 egg yolks
2 Tbs softened unsalted butter
1/3 to 1/2 cup mayonnaise (only Blue Plate for me)
freshly ground pepper (if I had white freshly ground, I'd use it - but I don't)
salt to taste*

Virginia calls for 1 Tbs of Dijon mustard. I'm a mayo purist when it comes to eggs, but if you like the mustard kick, by all means go for it.

Now, regular salt will do, but for Christmas, John got me some Himalayan Sea Salt. Oh man! Who knew salt could be so different? I'm not sure whether it's the size of the crystals or what, but damn is it good. It's got a funny pink tint to it. Makes me feel good. I'd never heard of the stuff, but my step-sister-in-law, Sally, swears by it. She says it's much better for you that that other stuff.

So mix it all up with a fork or whatever else. (Just don't use a REAL silver fork or the eggs will instantly tarnish it.) 

Make it Pretty
The best trick here is to use a cake decorating tip, rubber banded onto a plastic bag.

This is so easy, a kid could do it. Oh wait, she did do it. Thanks, Frannie.

The final touches . . . the Deviled Egg Bar (no pretty pictures here though).

Serve your deviled eggs with a plethora of additions. I used roasted red peppers and real bacon crumbles. You could also do chives, capers, green onions, horseradish. There is endless potential! Here's a bad picture of my eggs with fixin's. I used my little bodum cups to hold the additions. Then on the way home, I spilled the bacon all throughout my car. I had to use my dog to get it all up. He was happy to oblige.
Bon appetite, y'all!


  1. What a great idea!

    Have you ever tried the Barefoot Contessa's Smoked Salmon Deviled Eggs? THEY ARE AMAZING.

  2. Can you preboil the eggs? I just had 2 and a half dozen I wanted to cook up before they hit the sell by date. I am going to bring the deviled eggs on Sunday... Did I do something wrong.

  3. Of course! I usually cook up eggs and keep them in the refrigerator for making tuna and egg salad in a pinch. And the "sell by" date is sort of a ruse, in my opinion. I've always gone by the float rule. As eggs age, the air pocket gets bigger. If you put uncooked eggs in a bowl of water and they rise to the top, they're bad. Otherwise, you're good!