Saturday, April 3, 2010

Deviled Eggs

Lately, my contribution to Easter dinner is deviled eggs. In my extended family deviled eggs are served three times a year without fail: Easter, the 4th of July, and Labor Day. Looking back into my childhood, there have always been deviled eggs. Perhaps I remember this because of the dishes.

My grandmother, my mother, my aunts, my sisters, and I all have special dishes to serve deviled eggs; usually a round glass or china platter with egg shaped depressions to hold the eggs. Mine is round and glass, discovered years ago by one of my aunts in an antique or second hand store and given to me as a Christmas present. My Aunt Nancy, who makes the eggs for our family 4th of July and Labor Day cookouts, has a Tupperware-type container made especially for deviled eggs.

My childhood Easters always began with an early morning Easter egg hunt. The first hunts I remember were for jelly beans wrapped in foil that were ‘hidden’ around the house: in our slippers, on our bureaus, on the edges of the bookshelves, and lined up on all the windowsills of the house. It wasn’t until I was much older that I realized that my parents, most likely my mother, must have wrapped jelly beans in foil before placing them throughout the house. Later, the ‘tin’ foiled jelly beans were replaced with the small foil wrapped chocolate eggs. When my sisters and I were grown with children of our own, the Easter egg hunt moved outdoors, after dinner, with the foil wrapped eggs ‘hidden’ on the car bumpers, in the grass, on the front steps, and on low lying horizontal branches. Kids of all ages, with plastic bags in hand, took part in these hunts.

Earlier tonight, I made time for two other Easter rituals: first I checked the time for the sunrise service at Old Burial Hill in Marblehead. Bill and I will get up early and walk down to participate in this simple Easter service overlooking the magnificence of Marblehead Harbor and the ocean beyond. Next, I carefully prepared Easter baskets and gifts for Bill, Allison, our houseguest Jen, Al’s boyfriend Shaun, and my two nieces who we will see at Easter dinner. Rituals complete, I finish my writing, post this blog entry, then off to (a short) sleep as sunrise will come early.

Deviled Eggs: 12 stuffed egg halves

6 eggs
¼ cup mayonnaise
¼ tsp salt

To hard boil eggs:

Eggs in the shell must be cooked at the right temperature for the correct amount of time. While the recipe is rather simple, the actual cooking of the eggs requires the cook to pay close attention to saucepan of eggs: turn off the heat too soon and the eggs will not be hard boiled; let the eggs come to a full boil and the yolks become hard and turn greenish-grey. For best results, buy eggs for hard-cooking several days ahead, as storage allows the air space at the large end of the egg to expand, making peeling easier.

1. Place eggs in a saucepan wide enough to accommodate them without crowding and deep enough so that tops of eggs are covered by at least 1” of water.

2. Over high heat, heat water and eggs just to a full boil.

3. Immediately remove saucepan from heat and cover tightly. Let eggs stand in hot water for 15 minutes.

4. Pour off hot water and run cold water over the eggs to stop them from cooking. This also makes peeling easier if peeling immediately.

5. To peel eggs, gently tap entire surface of shell against a flat surface, taking care not to break the egg itself. Under cold running water (or in a large bowl of cold water) peel egg, starting at large end as the air space in the large end makes it easier to start peeling.


1. Slice 6 hard-cooked eggs in half lengthwise.

2. Gently remove yolks and place in small bowl; with fork, crumble yolks into fine pieces.

3. Stir in ¼ mayonnaise, ¼ tsp. salt, and dash pepper until smooth; with spoon, pile into egg centers. Refrigerate, covered until ready to serve.

4. Before serving, dust yolk mixture with paprika.

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