Deviled Eggs, the perfect picnic food

Picnic season officially kicked off with the Memorial Day weekend. Nothing screams S U M M E R like Deviled Eggs. These sinfully delicious concoctions have a history dating back to ancient Rome, acquiring the name “deviled” in the late 18th century in England to denote a spicy food. A hundred years later the recipe hopped the pond to the United States showing up in Fannie Farmer’s cookbook with the first suggestion to use mayonnaise as a binder.

Although purists only stuff the whites with mayo, mustard and yolks dusting with paprika, the sky is the limit when it comes to making Deviled Eggs. A walk around Central Farm Markets offers plenty of ideas for innovative versions – crab meat, pickles, kimchi, and my personal favorite, hard-boiled eggs soaked with pickled red beets overnight prior to deviling. The whites turn pink! FYI – hard-boiled eggs can be stored in pickled red beets up to three months in the refrigerator.

Deviled Eggs also make a bite-sized base for toppings.

The first step in making Deviled Eggs is to hard boil and peel the eggs. Now this may sound simple, but hard-boiled eggs aren’t always easy to peel leaving you with a mess (and egg salad sandwiches instead of hor d’oeuvres). You can blame your super-fresh-from-the-farm market eggs for this bit of kitchen hell.

The sad truth is older eggs are easier to peel than fresh ones due to the albumen (the white) having a low pH that rises as the egg ages. To work around this problem, here’s how to hard boil fresh eggs.

  1. Place eggs in a pot covering them with 2 inches of cold water
  2. Add 1 tsp. of baking soda
  3. Bring to a slow boil for 12 minutes
  4. Drain hot water from pot, shaking it when empty to crack the shells of the eggs
  5. Cover in cold water for 15 minutes

There are numerous tricks and tips from professionals and grandmothers online, from sliding a spoon between the egg and the shell to blowing the egg out of the shell. Peeling under a steady stream of water is my choice.

When I am making Deviled Eggs I always hard-boil twice as many as I want knowing that the chances of every single egg turning out perfect is next to zero. Peeled hard-boiled eggs will last up to a week in the refrigerator leaving the not so perfectly peeled for quick snacks and salads.

I know there are those of you out there that want to power through making Deviled Eggs a few hours prior to picnicking, but these tasty tidbits need to be cold for two reasons – easy handling and food safety. Cooked eggs are soft while warm, but firm up when chilled making them easier to cut in half and fill with savory stuffings.

Stuffing the egg whites can be as simple as spooning the yolk mixture into the empty divots or as fancy as piping swirls from a pastry bag. My favorite is a tiny cookie dough scoop – it’s the perfect size!

Here are two of my favorite summer recipes using hard-boiled eggs. Enjoy!

Deviled Eggs

Ingredients:

  • 6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled, chilled and cut in half
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp. prepared mustard
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Paprika

Directions:
Slice hard-boiled eggs in half. Remove yolks. Mash yolks in bowl with mayonnaise and mustard. Season with salt and pepper. Fill eggs with mashed yolk mixture. Dust filled eggs with paprika.

Pickled Beets & Eggs

Ingredients:

  • 6 hard-boiled eggs
  • 6 red beets, peeled and cubed
  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced into rings
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar (honey works, too)
  • 1 Tbsp. of prepared pickling spices
  • ¼ tsp. salt

Directions:
Place beets in a pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 20 minutes. Add apple cider vinegar, sugar (or honey) and salt to the beets in the beet juice. In a container large enough to hold everything (2 quart glass jar works well), add pickling spices to the bottom, then the onion rings, and eggs. Add the cooked beets and cover everything in the container with the liquid. Refrigerate.

HINT: Wondering what to do with beet tops? Don’t toss them out! Use the stems in place of celery. Beet greens make a wonderful addition to salads.

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