Deviled Eggs Get a Makeover

In case you haven’t noticed, we are living in a new Golden Age of Deviled Eggs. I say that based on the respect in the highest circles being accorded this long-humble picnic kind of dish – and especially the creative spins being applied to the classic by chefs in every region of America.

Now, whenever I talk about these “creative” or “innovative” – or, heaven help us, “chef-driven” – deviled eggs, somebody listening insists there’s nothing wrong with making deviled eggs the old-fashioned way. And since this way invariably involves adding a bit of mayonnaise, usually some mustard for color and pop, and maybe a sprinkle of paprika over the top, there’s a tendency of fans to be defensive with all this new stuff going on.

But there’s really no reason to be defensive. Every chef who weaves in Korean kimchee, Oaxacan mole or whatever does so because he or she learned to love deviled eggs made by a mom, a grandma or an aunt, the old-fashioned way. Few of even the most outlandish recipes depart very far from mixing egg yolks with mayo and mustard. In fact, though the dish existed centuries before it was called “deviled,” that combination came to be exactly what the word means.

According to the best history we’ve got, the ancient Romans were the first to have a go at the dish, though they stopped far short of naming it “diavolo.” They may have done little more than season the mashed yolks before returning them to the whites. The word “deviled” was first applied in print in 1786, in England and, like most other things, in the colonies only recently freed from British rule. The name was apparently a reference to the “spiciness” contributed by the mustard, which proves they didn’t eat many tacos back in the day.

In Europe there are quite a few variations, perhaps the most prevalent being “Russian eggs” that have little or nothing to do with Russian cuisine. These eggs are cut in half and served with a garnish of mayonnaise, parsley and tomato. In most parts of South America, the closest thing to our deviled eggs is known as “Peruvian eggs.” A host of different names have been applied here and there, especially regionally across the United States. They’ve been stuffed eggs, salad eggs and dressed eggs, just for logical starters.

One of the dish’s most profound cultural testimonies is the existence of the deviled egg plate, a decorative piece with little slots for the eggs to sit without being tempted to roll away. You don’t really need an official, intentional deviled egg plate. But whether you prefer newfangled or old-fashioned, deviled eggs themselves are entirely necessary.

CHAMPAGNE HONEY MUSTARD SHRIMP DEVILED EGGS

These days, you can top a deviled egg with almost anything cooked almost any way. One of our favorites has a fried oyster on top and then a spoonful of so-called “bacon jam.” This shrimp version is just about as exciting, it and requires a lot fewer sous chefs.

12 large eggs

1 tablespoon dehydrated minced onion

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 tablespoons Fischer & Wieser’s Champagne Honey Mustard

1 pound peeled and deveined large Gulf shrimp

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

Juice of ½ fresh lime

1 cup Fischer & Wieser Papaya Lime Serrano Sauce

1 tablespoon dried parsley

1 teaspoon crushed pepper

Set the eggs in the bottom of a deep pot and cover with cold water. Bring water to a boil and let boil for 10 minutes, then turn off heat and let continue cooking for 15 minutes more. Remove boiled eggs from water and let cool. Peel the eggs, slice them in half lengthwise with a sharp knife and use a spoon to remove the yolks into a mixing bowl. Mash the yolks with the onion, mayonnaise and mustard. Let sit for flavors to meld while preparing the shrimp.

In a skillet over medium-high heat, cook the shrimp in the olive oil and butter just until they turn pink. Squeeze the lime over the top and remove shrimp to a bowl to let cool. Over low heat, stir in the sauce along with the parsley and red pepper. Pour all but 1-2 tablespoons of this sauce over the shrimp and stir to coat. Stir the rest into the egg yolk mixture. Using a spoon, fill the egg whites with the yolk mixture. Place a shrimp on top of each and spoon, if desired, a little more sauce from the bowl on top. Makes 24 deviled eggs.


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