Disappearing Deviled Eggs Dilemma
I have done an informal survey asking folks what disappears first off the buffet table. It is always the deviled eggs. Spanakopita triangles come in close second. It seems the most labor intensive, time consuming dishes disappear the fastest.
Observing this phenomenon first hand when I took deviled eggs to family gatherings led me to develop a strategy. I have quite a large family with lots of growing (and apparently hungry) nieces and nephews, not to mention brothers sisters husbands wives and parents. I slaved over a dozen deviled eggs to see them disappear in minutes. Of course, it did feed my ego to have the most popular thing on the buffet, but when folks arrived late they missed out and gave me a guilt trip for not making enough. Family!!
The secret I discovered is to quarter the eggs instead of cutting them in half. With this simple trick I can use a dozen eggs to make 48 servings instead of 24 in about the same amount of time. Folks don’t even seem to notice, or if they do they have enough decency to chew and swallow before grabbing another serving, thus allowing other people to approach the plate. I have even successfully cut the quarters in half for very large groups with nothing but compliments.
Not only does this cut down on my labor, there is the added bonus of a reduced portion size for dieters, and less embarrassing egg on the nose for people with small mouths.
In order for this game-changing technique to work the filling for the eggs needs to be pretty firm, and after several failed experiments I discovered a trick used by Vivian Howard in her fantastic new book “Deep Run Roots.” A little bit of butter firms the filling up to the perfect consistency. This enables the addition Siracha, horseradish, pickle relish, or whatever you favor without making it too runny. Make them your own, but do make them small.
Deviled Eggs – makes 40 bite sized servings
2 Tablespoons softened butter
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh herbs
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar or agave
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper or paprika
1 teaspoon Siracha or hot sauce
¼ cup chopped pickle relish
¼ cup finely chopped onion or chives
½ teaspoon curry powder
1-2 teaspoons grated horseradish
4 cloves roasted garlic - pureed
½ teaspoon Cajun or Tandoori seasoning
1-2 Tablespoons crumbled bacon
2 Tablespoons finely chopped sauerkraut
2 Tablespoons chopped roasted peppers
Hard cook eggs by boiling or steaming (see note).
Peel eggs, and slice in half longways. Remove yolks and combine in a bowl with mayo, butter, vinegar, herbs, salt, sugar, mustard, and pepper.
Mash yolk mixture with a fork and mix well. Set aside ¼ cup for salad dressing.
Slice egg whites longways again so that each half becomes a quarter.
Put about ½ teaspoon of yolk mixture on top of each egg white quarter.
Note – Steaming fresh eggs
If an egg is very fresh when boiled it can often be difficult to peel. When you want to make beautiful deviled eggs it’s frustrating to have half of the white come off as you peel them. Steaming the eggs works much better. Place a steamer basket in a wide bottomed sauce pot. Put about an inch of water in the pot – making sure the water level is below the basket. Bring the water to a boil, then place your eggs in a single layer in the basket. Simmer covered for 18 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave covered 5 more minutes. Run cold water into the pot to cover the eggs and stop cooking.