Southern Made Simpler: Deviled Eggs Edition

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A lot of people seem to think that southern cooking is all highly caloric, complicated, and time consuming.  While that’s mostly true, it doesn’t have to be.  Take, for instance, the humble deviled egg.  They’re my go-to when I need to use up some eggs, or just as a quick and easy appetizer.  Here are some of my favorite tips and tricks for making easy deviled eggs.

Hardboiling

Hardboiling eggs shouldn’t be hard.  The key is to NOT overcook them.  My failproof method:

1. Put the eggs in a saucepan with enough water to submerge them + 1 inch more.

2. Turn stove to high until the water boils.

3. Put a lid on the pan, turn off the stove, and leave them covered for 15 minutes, tops.  I usually do like, 13, but 15 is okay.  No more, or you’ll get gross gray rings and rubbery egg whites.  I like my hardboiled eggs with fully set whites and yolks, which works best for deviled eggs. 

4. After 15 minutes, the goal is to get those eggs cool as quickly as possible, to stop the cooking process AND to make the shells easier to peel.  I don’t know why this works, scientifically, but it does.  I dump the hot water, run cold water over them, and ice it if I have ice around.  Then, if I’m making deviled eggs, I peel the eggs as soon as they’re cooled.  

Deviling

I’m pretty sure everyone has their own recipe for deviled eggs, so I won’t fight anyone.  When I first started making deviled eggs when I lived back home (probably middle school-ish), I dumped half the spices in our spice cabinet in my eggs.  They usually still turned out pretty well.  

1. Cut your eggs in half, length-wise

2. Dump your yolks into a ziplock sandwich bag

3. Add desired ingredients to bag

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4. Seal bag and mush everything around

5. Cut the corner off the bag (you’ve made a piping bag, essentially, and one you won’t have to clean after it’s eggy and gross) and pipe yolk goop into the egg white halves

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Deviled eggs traditionally call for mayo and vinegar.  Some people use miracle whip, pickle juice, greek yogurt, just about everything under the sun.  I usually go with reduced fat mayo (made with olive oil or something a little less sinful than full-on mayo), a bit of vinegar for some bite, maybe a little pickle relish, a bit of mustard, some salt, and some kind of dried, green herb.  Marjoram is a favorite, tarragon is fun, but pretty much anything will work, even when mixed.  I also like to mix a bit of paprika into my egg mix, as well as sprinkling some on top–all good deviled eggs get a sprinkling of paprika as a garnish.

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Egg shells

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If you have a garden, a lot of plants (tomatoes and the like) seem to like egg shells for extra calcium.  You can also compost your shells, if you’re into that kind of thing.  And if you are, more power to ya.  Egg shells are also supposed to deter slugs and snails from plants, as they don’t like crawling over the sharp edges.  You’re supposed to dry the egg shells and break them into little pieces, but I just dump whatever shells I have on my outdoor plants (not from raw eggs, just hardboiled ones) and they don’t seem to mind terribly.  

That’s it!  Anybody have any other tips and tricks to share?  

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