This one would be great for Halloween, or as in this case, fun to do for a Murder Mystery Dinner, of which I participated in last this past Saturday. Or, you could leave the decorations off, and serve just – deviled eggs! Decorating doesn’t have to take a whole lot of time, if that is an issue.
Mom’s secret ingredients for this were Dijon mustard, and ordinary mild curry powder (no special Indian recipe, just the pre-mixed from McCormick or whatever she found handiest). She also used dill pickles, chopped fine. For this recipe, I substituted in rinsed capers for her pickles – I tend always to have capers in the house, whereas dill pickles are hit or miss. Besides, the capers will come into hand, decor-wise. Yes.
I prefer my yolk mixture to be somewhere between dry and liquid-creamy – I’m sort of a a moderate in my texture preference, rather like the way I prefer my weather (you can keep the 80 degree F plus temps, as well as the ice storms…)
So what I’ve done here is started you off with a dry yolk mixture, to which you can add as appropriate to you and your family’s preference. Enjoy! And if you choose to decorate your eggs, consider the proper garment to wear serving them in!
Cooking time: Hard cooking the eggs, plan 12-15 minutes per batch, once the water boils.
Filling & mixing time: 10 minutes per tray.
Decorating time: 10 minutes per tray.
Serves: As many people at a pot luck who aren’t paranoid about EGGS! (I do gear towards pastured!)
Eyes of the Forest Deviled Eggs
- 16 hard cooked eggs – actually I’d cooked an eggstra, as they tend sometimes to shatter when they know you need them whole, or in case one or another peels horridly. I kept some extra on hand beyond that in case I needed to boil up more. PS: handy hint – add a half teaspoon salt to the water when boiling – something about the change for the better in osmotic pressure usually keeps them from exploding their guts out into the water… Anyhow, I ended up with 16×2 = 32 egg white halves, and 17 (one eggstra) yolk.
- 1 tablespoon, a bit heaping, of prepared Dijon mustard of quality. I measure this visually, not actually… (Plus extra set aside if needed…)
- 2 tablespoons, slightly heaping, of mayo. I’ve discovered Hellman’s makes a mayo now using olive oil instead of canola. Tastes pretty similar if not the same to me. (Hellman’s has a different brand name on the west coast.) Or, make your own! Again, I measure this visually, not actually. (Plus extra set aside if needed…)
- Three teaspoons of rinsed capers. Or an equivalent amount of diced dill cucumber pickles – I check the labels to make certain that this is a prep with NO sugars added! (Plus extra set aside if needed…)
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon curry powder, mild. Curry flavor will depend on age of your source, and on brand. (Plus extra set aside if needed…)
- Set aside some powdered mustard, in case you don’t have enough mustard flavor, but in case the eggs are as moist as you will want them.
- 1/3 teaspoon salt.
- For decor: You will want to reserve some of the capers for eyes and other body parts, and you can use pimento shreds (canned roasted red bell pepper) and fresh dill for mouths, noses, hair, beards, goatees, caps, and even horns. Other fun decorative items include black poppy seeds (freckles?), curly parsley (vary up the hair styles), and so forth. Time and creativity are your only limits!
- Smoked paprika, an optional garnish. Or, maybe a blush?
One thing I didn’t mention is that for some of the eggs, I removed them from the hot water when done (turning off the range), rinsed them just enough to cool to handle, then smashed their shells against a bowl – you can use the bottom of a spoon – to crack them, added a bunch of black Earl Grey tea bags to the water still in the pot, returned them to that pot, and let them sit for an hour and a half (a few for overnight in the fridge, but they really weren’t any different), then peeled them completely, to make marbleized tea eggs. I don’t think this addition got noticed… Sigh. So… you don’t need to bother.
Okay, now we’ve got our ingredients out and ready: slice eggs in half. I try to slice them so they will be as aesthetic as possible – don’t want the white part ripping because the yolk was too close to the surface – remove yolks to a separate bowl, place the white halves in a tray. You can just use any old plain tray, but if you are planning on transporting them, they’ll travel better if they have a dedicated deviled egg tray… more on which below!
Mash up the yolks (I use a serving spoon), add the prepared mustard and mayo, the curry powder and salt. Taste and adjust for degree of moisture and seasonings – you can always add more mayo or whatever, but you can never remove! Don’t adjust for salt, the pickles or capers WILL add more. Add in the rinsed and drained capers, or add in the minced and drained dill pickles. Mix so it blends well. Reserve some capers – enough for at least the eyes – if you plan to decorate.
I use a teaspoon and extremely clean fingers to fill the egg white halves. Fill crevices, let the yolk mixture pile up a bit. If you plan to decorate after, hide any extraneous capers/minced pickle so they don’t interfere with your “canvas”.
I sprinkled a touch of smoked paprika over everybody.
Then, go decorate! Rinse and pat dry the dill strands, and chop coarsely. Longer and shorter. The pimento slices – I bought the already-sliced thin pimento strands, but whatever you buy, chop up accordingly. Larger strands can make for great facial expressions. Triangle topped bits work nicely as horns. Just go have FUN! The simple ones I made this time took little time.
NOTE ON TRANSPORT!
Years ago I had a plastic deviled egg tray that came with a lid. This was cool, but it disappeared at some point. Even if you don’t decorate them, you don’t want them sliding around and turning over on their way to the designated pot luck or whatever dining spot. So, I bought a couple of deviled egg serving trays, but alas I cannot find them without lids! Mine hold 8 eggs – 16 devils – apiece. The slots are deep enough they won’t slide around, but there’s no way to cover them! Oh, you can, but the yolk material will cling to the cling wrap, which is why it is CALLED cling wrap! Or to the foil, you go that route – curses FOILED again! This is distressing whether you decorate them or not, and I was driving 1.5 hours with them in my car! They had to be covered, and they HAD to be kept cool!
Innovation to the rescue!
I bought two aluminum chicken roaster pans, which I can recycle later for… chicken. These dishes just fit in, and the roaster pan sides are high enough that whatever I choose to cover them with won’t drip down into the yolks and be problematic.
And more: to keep things chill, I had two perfect open cardboard boxes, one an ex-produce box from BJ’s, another a shallow box that came with some garden center foundation plants that wouldn’t be useful for much else, but was big enough for this purpose. If you wish, place a kitchen trash bag laid out at the bottom of each box (condensation/wet), put down a few flat freezer packs, bring out your eggs in their trays in their roaster pans, and put them in the cardboard carriers atop the ice, and take off and GO! Temps were mid 70’s outside when I arrived!