Tag Archives: deviled eggs

DEVILED EGGS

Deviled eggs seem to be enjoying a renaissance. They are on many menus these days. Sarah often makes them for catered dinners as well as for family occasions. Sometimes she stuffs them with smoked trout or other delicious fillings.

Sarah piping deviled eggs

Sarah piping deviled eggs

But in their simplest form, how difficult can deviled eggs be to make? Hard boiled eggs cut in half; yolk mashed with a little mayonnaise, mustard, lemon, salt and pepper; yolk mixture spooned or piped into the egg white halves; maybe a little garnish of paprika, snipped chives, or crumbled bacon. Simple is not always easy.

During this visit to California, deviled eggs have been on many menus. I have eaten many of them because I like them when they are good.

The best ones so far were served at the School Street Bistro in Lodi. My very minor quibbles were that the yolk filling was too runny (Too much mayonnaise?) and had too much mustard. Otherwise they were delicious, and their garnish of house-made French-fried potato straws was outstanding  I could have eaten a plate of the potato straws by themselves.

Sunday deviled eggs with potato straws at the School Street Bistro, Lodi, CA

Sunday deviled eggs with potato straws at the School Street Bistro, Lodi, CA

Some of the eggs have had a rubbery texture undoubtedly from the eggs being boiled too hard and/or too long.

The ones I liked the least were the ones that were supposed to be the fanciest. The word, “truffles”, seems to make something more luxe. Visions of pigs rooting up fungi at the base of a French hazelnut tree come into play, or a liveried waiter shaving little shards with his special knife onto a perfect French omelet. That’s not the same as truffle oil. This condiment has been banned from many a high-end kitchen. The well-known San Francisco chef and writer, Daniel Patterson, has written a great piece in the New York Times about why truffle oil does not find favor with professional chefs.

The main reason is that almost no commercial truffle oil contains actual truffles. The fragrance and taste of real truffles come from a complex array of compounds. The most prominent appears to be a chemical, 2,4-dithiapentane, that can be synthesized in a laboratory or factory. And that is the chemical that is added to truffle oil to give it flavor. Small wonder that foods which incorporate commercial truffle oil take on a chemical flavor; some would even say petroleum-like.

Deviled eggs with truffle oil

Deviled eggs with truffle oil

Here is a basic recipe for deviled eggs, perhaps of the Southern variety. If you don’t like it, experiment by adjusting the amounts of the basic ingredients and add any extras that sound appealing to you. Just – please – don’t add truffle oil.

RECIPE

Basic Deviled Eggs

Ingredients

  • eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon mayonnaise for each egg
  • 1/8 teaspoon dry mustard for each egg
  • few drops fresh lemon juice for each egg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • paprika

Method

  1. Pierce the large end of each egg with an egg piercer and place in a single layer in a saucepan with enough water to cover the eggs by at least an inch. Bring to the boil over high heat, just until large bubbles begin to appear around the eggs. Cover, remove from the heat, and let stand, undisturbed, for 10 to 18 minutes, depending on the size of the eggs and the altitude.* You should work out the time beforehand. Transfer the eggs to a large bowl filled with ice and water. Chill for the same amount of time as you used for the cooking.
  2. Peel the eggs by cracking them all over and, starting at the big end, peeling them under a small stream of running water. The longer the eggs sit in the refrigerator before peeling them, the harder it will be to peel them and the more likely you are to get the dreaded green ring around the yolks, so it is best to prepare them immediately.
  3. Slice the cooled eggs in half lengthwise and gently remove the cooked yolk. Press the yolk through a fine-mesh sieve or strainer into a medium bowl. Stir in the mayonnaise, mustard, and lemon juice. If the mixture is too stiff, very slowly stir in more mayonnaise by half teaspoonfuls until the consistency suits you.  Adjust the mustard and lemon juice to please you. Correct the seasoning with salt and pepper.
  4. Spoon or pipe the yolk mixture into the empty halves of cooked egg white. Garnish with a sprinkle of paprika and serve.

* At 7000 feet, a jumbo egg takes 18 minutes to cook; a large egg takes 16 minutes. Probably at sea level you should deduct about 2 minutes for each cooking time, but it is best to work out specific times for your cooking conditions.

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FRIED SMOKED SALMON DEVILED EGGS

This last week our traveling child care project moved to Los Angeles. We had assumed that watching teenagers would be easier than toddlers. In some ways we were right. The teenagers clearly have required less direct supervision, and there is not diaper changing. Scheduling is the main problem. Both require transportation to and from school as well as extra-curricular activities. The high school student has a variable schedule: sometimes she needs to be at school at 7:30 and sometimes she doesn’t go until 8:30. There seems to be no fixed schedule. In the evening she has practice for the swimming team. That cuts into the dinner hour. Then she disappears into her room for a prodigious amount of homework.

The middle school student has a different schedule,. He has his own homework, and grandparents are supposed to help in the absence of parents. What?  I can barely remember my own name. Even though the two schools are only a few blocks apart, dropping off and picking up require at least five and sometimes seven separate trips a day. It is a mystery to us how our daughter and son-in-law can get all of this accomplished and still both hold down full-time jobs with commutes of at least one hour each way.

Susan and I had planned to use our spare time doing some of the things in LA that we have wanted to do. We didn’t get that accomplished; mostly we just wanted to take a quick nap. The one outing we were able to accomplish was a visit to Terranea Resort with a nice lunch at one of their restaurants.

Southern Californians are almost as crazy about golf as they are the beach. In the community where our family lives, there are five golf courses, the oldest dating back to over ninety years ago. The most recent additions are the Trump National Golf Course Los Angeles, and its arch competitor, Terranea Resort. Both are built on the cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean and offer stunning views, especially at sunset. Both offer luxurious resort facilities, and both have excellent restaurants. Locals seem to prefer Terranea, but that suggestion runs the risk of being a political commentary in this day and time.

We chose to go to the Catalina Kitchen at Terranea. The restaurant is beautifully appointed with a comfortable indoor dining room and an outdoor terrace that looks out on the ocean. The wait staff is very professional but friendly; they know the menu inside and out. The menu is filled with old standards, but the big surprise is that the chef has added new and creative twists to items that have gotten a bit ho-hum. Susan ordered crab Louie, which came piled high with fresh Dungeness crab. I ordered the Caesar salad with salmon. It came with beautiful croutons on the side (They were not out of a package). The dressing had just a hint of anchovy, and on top were beautiful filets of white anchovy. The salmon was perfectly cooked with just a light glaze, and it was a generous portion.

With all of that, the highlight of the meal was fried deviled eggs. They were singularly delicious. They were served in a little pool of bright green basil-infused olive oil, crusted with a lightly browned panko, and topped with a bacon chiffonade and a tiny slice of  radish so thin that you could see through it.

image

I have tried to put my spin on that dish. My version is nowhere as elegant as the model, and it took more effort than the usual deviled egg, but it wound up being fairly tasty. I added smoked salmon to my version, which I thought gave it a nice taste. This recipe makes six deviled eggs, but you can expand the recipe as needed.

RECIPE

Fried Smoked Salmon Deviled Eggs

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • ¼ cup sour cream or mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • snipped dill for filling and as garnish
  • 2 ounces smoked salmon (You could use lox)
  • salt and pepper
  • Tabasco sauce (optional)
  • all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • panko
  • oil for frying
  • capers
  • snipped chives

Method

  1. Hard boil the eggs according to your usual method. Chill in ice water. Peel. Cut in half lengthwise. Remove the yolk and set aside until ready to fry and stuff.
  2. Press the yolks through a strainer or sieve into a small bowl. Stir in the mustard and dill.
  3. In a small food processor, pulse the smoked salmon until smooth. Stir into the egg mixture. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Add optional Tabasco to taste.
  4. Prepare the breading by placing the flour, egg white mixed with water, and panko in individual small bowls large enough to accommodate the egg white cases but small enough so that they can be completely immersed.
  5. Dry the reserved egg white cases.  Dip the cases into the flour, dusting off any extra. Dip in the egg-water wash, coating completely but draining any extra liquid from the hollow. Coat with panko.
  6. Using a spider or slotted spoon, transfer the coated egg whites one by one into frying oil, about 2 inches of vegetable oil heated to 350°F,, turning until browned on all sides. Transfer the fried egg white cases to several thicknesses of paper towel, using the same spider or slotted spoon to keep the coating intact. Cool.
  7. With a pastry sleeve fitted with a large star shape, pipe the filling into the egg white casings. Garnish with a few capers, some of the snipped dill and snipped chives. Serve.

 

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DEVILED QUAIL EGGS

There is a new international grocery store in town. It is filled with some of the most interesting and amazing ingredients – octopus tentacles, duck feet, Asian fresh fruit, etc., etc. During a recent visit, I noticed sitting in the cooler were little packages of 10 quail eggs each. The eggs were so beautifully speckled and tiny that I couldn’t resist buying them even though I didn’t have any idea what to do with them. There are recipes on the internet for fried quail eggs and Scotch quail eggs, but both of those suggestions seemed like a waste of a unique ingredient. My thought was to wait until our daughter the chef came to visit and have her give me a cooking lesson. So I did. She suggested deviled eggs as being easy to do, very tasty, and insurance that the eggs would be well cooked and safe to eat. (She’s in the middle of her pregnancy.) That sounded like a plan, and I am glad that I followed her suggestion. In the end we cooked them up for the rest of the family so we didn’t worry about presentation. There was no time for that before the eggs disappeared. They were cute and delicious, and Sarah’s recipe is worth modifying for conventional deviled chicken eggs.

RECIPE

Deviled Quail Eggs

Ingredients

  • 10 fresh quail eggs
  • 1 quart water
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon sour cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh dill fronds

Method

  1. Place the eggs in a strainer or steaming basket. Lower into a small pan filled with boiling water. Reduce the heat under the pan to the lowest possible level and cook the eggs in the hot, not boiling, water for 4 minutes if you are at sea level and 6 minutes if you are in Santa Fe (7,000 feet). Discard any eggs that float to the surface when you put them in the water as that indicates they may be spoiled
  2. Remove the eggs from the hot water and immediately plunge into ice water.  Cool until still slightly warm. Peeling them will be easier while they are a little warm. Crack the shells all over with the back of a teaspoon, and peel under a stream of running water.
  3. Using a cheese wire, cut the eggs in half lengthwise. You can use a knife, but it must be razor-sharp or you will be disappointed with your effort.
  4. Remove the yolks and place them in a small bowl with the mustard, sour cream, salt, and pepper. Using a dinner fork, mash the ingredients together until they form a smooth paste. Adjust the seasoning. If you wish, you can press the mixture through a tea strainer to make it even smoother.
  5. Load the mixture in a pastry bag fitted with a small point. Pipe the mixture into the empty egg white cases. Decorate with a small frond of fresh dill.

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