I was surprised, after some rummaging among past posts, to find that I have never before written about deviled eggs, as there is very nearly nothing I like more. I was even more surprised to find that I had a bit to learn on the subject, since I thought the case was, for me, closed.
I knew that there were various French variations on stuffed eggs, which included asparagus, or shrimp, and the like. That was fine with me, and these were mostly very nice, but could not hold a candle to the classic: Hard-boiled egg white halves, stuffed with a mixture of mashed yolk, English mustard, mayo, salt and pepper, and, finally, sprinkled with some paprika, smoked Spanish or regular, or maybe, if I was feeling a little extra was called for, ground chipotle. No pickle juice here. End of story.
I was therefore disconcerted to discover, in the Sunday NYTimes Men's Fashion Supplement*, a recipe for stuffed eggs Caeser salad style, which is a worthy alternate. I was also surprised to learn, courtesy of Jacques Pepin, that a few minutes upside down in a frying pan can have an amazing, and praise-worthy effect on a deviled egg . A caveat: the new egg recipe is not for anchovy haters- nor is the Caeser salad itself, for that matter. And, a happy happenstance: the Caeser eggs are particularly suited to the Pepin effect.
Even if you are as stuck on the classic as I have been, you may want to try these both ways. Nearly as simple as the original, and that is a plus, in my book. The cold ones are great with whiskey or gin drinks, and the warm ones make a nice sit-down first course, or a lunch.
This is how you make the basic Caeser egg, as amended by me (I don't like the idea of coming upon a bit of chopped raw garlic while nibbling my egg.):
12 hard-boiled eggs
2 Tbsps Olive oil
2 tsps lemon juice
1 tsp anchovy paste
salt and pepper
garlic clove, split
Rub the garlic clove over the interior of a small to medium bowl. Cut eggs in half, and add the yolks and all the other ingredients, except paprika, into the bowl. Mash thoroughly, and stuff halved whites. Sprinkle with paprika and display cunningly on your depression glass dish or in Tupperware...they will all be eaten, either way.
Now, with your regular deviled eggs, or your Caeser eggs, you can make a sort of deconstructed Caeser salad. Dress some romaine with a little bit of garlicy vinagrette and set it on a serving dish, or several smaller plates, with a few homemade croutons, if you are so inclined. Film the bottom of a heavy frying pan with olive oil, and heat it up. Set the eggs in the pan in a single layer, carefully, yolk side down. Cook them at a medium-low heat until the yolk is nicely caramelized and brown. Mine took 5 minutes.
Set them atop your salad, arranged prettily, and consume. They are nice without the lettuce, too, but you should still have them with a knife and fork, on a plate...unlike the cold version, which are perfect for eating out of hand , at picnics. Also, if you put two cold ones yolk to yolk, and wrap them up, they are the best ever little treat in a packed lunch.
*A strange item, no? I always read the Times style items with interest, and they are so often a source of amusement. I fear my amusement may be a symptom of my own depravity, though. How can I chuckle over a spread featuring chic modern models portraying starving depression era hobos, in mock-rags of cashmere with thousand dollar price tags? This display appeared not too long ago in a similar NYTimes style magazine.
Who was this for, and why? Has Marie Antoinette been playing milkmaid games again? Maybe someone there should take a moment to remember how she ended up.
In any event, apparently deviled eggs have become fashionable, much in the manner of upscale mac and cheese. Oh well.