Deviled eggs are a hotly contested food with devoted fans and just as devoted enemies. Some people love them, some hate them. Those who love them talk about their creaminess and their perfect ratio of mustard to egg.
But even in the deviled egg fandom, things can get heated. Everyone has their own perfect recipe for how deviled eggs should be. If you don’t satisfy? Chef, beware!
The real experts in the battle of the deviled egg will always be Southerners. The American South loves its deviled eggs. They are always present at family reunions, neighborhood barbecues, and your grandma’s Sunday brunch. So, when learning how to make the perfect deviled egg, you’d better make sure you consult an expert.
Purists and inventors alike can agree: It starts with good cooking.
The basic deviled egg recipe is pretty simple. It involves hard-boiled eggs, mustard, mayonnaise, and a couple of carefully chosen spices.
But there’s a lot more to cooking the perfect deviled egg. The first challenge? Making sure the eggs are cooked just right.
“Poke a small hole in the bottom of each egg before boiling,” said Chris Coleman, chef at Stoke Restaurant in Charlotte, North Carolina. “Using a pushpin (like one from a bulletin board) works best for this. You want to break the shell, but not puncture the membrane around the egg. The way it works: water floods the space between the shell and the membrane, and then dissolves the membrane, making the egg much easier to peel.”
That classic color is a part of the recipe.
Make sure you don’t cook them too long. Overboiling eggs makes yolks unappetizingly crumbly and an ugly gray color. Perfect deviled eggs have creamy yolks that are a vibrant yellow.
You also need to whip them to get that perfect amount of lightness and fluffiness. However, make sure you don’t whip them too much. Doing so will give the yolks an unpleasant gum-like texture.
After color, the texture is the top priority.
The best way to get the perfect yolk texture is to start out by mashing the yolks with a fork. Make sure you don’t add seasoning until they’ve reached the right consistency. This involves mixing them in an electric mixer to add some air and get them light and creamy. In traditional recipes, this is where the mustard and mayonnaise get added. But many chefs now are substituting other cream-based ingredients to get that perfect, silky texture of the yolks.
Don’t be afraid to challenge Grandma’s recipe.
Before you picture your grandmother rolling over in her grave, consider thinking outside the box. If you’re a purist, you can always stick to the traditional recipe. But there are plenty of ways to get creative, too.
Some chefs like to experiment with different ways to get that creamy texture. Their suggestions range from good old mayonnaise to creme fraiche, avocado, or even whipped cream.
Jeff Balfour, the chef at Southerleigh Fine Food & Brewery in San Antonio, Texas, takes it a step further.
“We use Creme Fraiche for the filling, as it adds a dense creaminess and is much easier to control the level of salt and allows for the other flavors to shine through,” Balfour said. “We also like to pass the filling through a drum sieve. This ensures that the egg mixture is creamy and never grainy.”
It’s not all about the yolk — chefs can get creative in other ways, too.
There are endless other ways to improve on the traditional deviled egg recipe. Some chefs enjoy getting creative with the garnishes put on top of the egg. Usually, deviled eggs are topped with a bit of paprika or chives. But there are plenty of other options to give your eggs an extra kick.
Chefs from New Orleans to North Carolina have all sorts of ideas for taking their deviled egg recipes up a notch. Ideas include topping eggs with sweet relish, bacon, salmon and capers, oysters, caviar, or even pickled mustard seeds.
Other chefs have had the crazy idea of infusing flavor directly into the egg white. After all, there’s no rule that says the main egg component has to be a bland one. Chef Rodney Freidank says he likes to marinate hardboiled egg whites in different kinds of vegetable juice, such as carrot and beet. Not only does this pack an extra flavor punch, it also gives the whites a unique, vibrant look.
With the right flavor combinations, even purists might come around.
If you’re still worried about offending the people who ascribe to a more traditional mindset, don’t worry: All you have to do is convince them to take a bite.
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Source: Eat This, Not That!