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Devilishly Good Arguing The Case For Deviled Eggs

By Joyce Gemperlein San Jose Mercury News

Gentlepeople of the jury: The deviled egg sits before you accused of the heinous crime of being made of egg yolks and mayonnaise.

I pray that you will not allow the sunny countenance and composure of my client - my friend - to suggest that he does not take these charges seriously.

On the contrary, he does not deny his heritage. He does not contest that egg yolks and mayonnaise contain cholesterol and fat. He also is aware that many of you cringe at the thought of allowing these ingredients to pass your lips.

He concedes that others are simply terrified of his parents, the raw egg and the hard-cooked egg. Some people consider all eggs treacherous, laden with a bacteria called salmonella.

My client is a victim of bad press or, perhaps more correctly, consumers who fail to read beyond the headlines. He also is a scapegoat for Americans who don’t understand the meaning of moderation.

Now that spring is in full bloom, a time for fresh starts, I’d like to outline my case for acquittal. The deviled egg in all its deliciousness must be permitted to return to its rightful place on picnic, reunion and hors d’oeuvre tables!

First, I appeal to your sense of nostalgia.

Who among you does not recall your mother or grandmother setting out a platter of deviled eggs at family gatherings? Surely you remember how the chilled tufts of creamy yellow rose in a tiny mountain from a perfect, snow-white container - a holder lovely and chaste, one whose patent and design is held by the Almighty?

How can you forget the vision, on a bright summer’s day, of dearly tacky deviled-egg plates that most often featured a badly painted chicken in the middle or upon the rim?

Or perhaps your family used the Tupperware deviled egg carrier. It was first sold in 1966, phased out about four years ago, and is making a comeback in a new, multipurpose design.

And without the deviled egg, what would have happened down through the ages to all those dyed Easter eggs?

Leaving fond memories aside, acquittal of the deviled egg is supported by fact.

To wit: New studies show that one large egg contains 5 grams of fat, less than previously thought. Most of that is unsaturated fat, the “good” kind that doesn’t contribute to high blood cholesterol.

In a typical recipe for deviled eggs, each egg half will contain approximately teaspoon of mayonnaise, adding another 1.6 fat grams. That brings the total to about 4 fat grams per egg half.

How minuscule that seems compared with the sublime pleasure people derive from popping a deviled egg into their mouth!

I will stipulate that traditional deviled eggs aren’t eaten by the likes of diet gurus Dean Ornish and Jenny Craig.

But let’s put responsibility where it belongs: The key to a long life is moderation in all things. Don’t eat the whole plate of deviled eggs. Share it with friends for a true bonding experience.

Sooner or later, Americans, now frightened of food that isn’t marked “lite,” have to learn that judicious amounts of tasty foods are more valuable than massive quantities of tasteless, nonfat ones.

Besides, because the term “deviled” implies mashing an ingredient with other seasonings, you are free to transform this dish as you please. And with lower-fat mayonnaise on the market, there is much you can do to improve the deviled egg’s nutritional profile. (See Exhibit A: Recipes.)

As for food-borne illness, deviled eggs pose no threat if handled properly. Keep them cold, and serve only what is needed at any one time.

In closing, I appeal to you to declare deviled eggs an American treasure, not a menace to society.

Not only is it important for the future of culinary arts, it will mean much to my client. He may be hardcooked, but he is not hard-boiled. (See Exhibit B: How to hard-cook an egg.)

The fate of the deviled egg is in your hands.

Pat’s Mother’s Deviled Eggs

12 eggs, hard-cooked, peeled and sliced in half

4 tablespoons jarred mayonnaise

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon dry mustard

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons dill pickle juice

Paprika for garnish

Remove yolks from eggs and move to a mixing bowl.

Mash yolks with a fork and add all ingredients except paprika. Mix thoroughly and spoon into egg halves or load into a pastry bag and pipe into whites. Sprinkle with paprika.

Yield: 24 deviled egg halves.

Note: For lower-cholesterol eggs, use to of the yolks and substitute low-fat mayonnaise. You will need more mayonnaise.

Hell’s Eggs

From “The New Texas Cuisine” by Stephan Pyles (Doubleday).

10 large, hard-cooked, peeled eggs, NOT cut in half

1 clove garlic, finely minced

2 serrano chiles, seeded and minced

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons dried mustard powder

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper powder

1/4 teaspoon pure chile powder

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon chopped cilantro

1 teaspoon chopped chives

Cut a -inch slice off the bottom of each egg so it will stand up. Slice off the top of each egg and set aside. Carefully remove yolk with the tip of a knife, without breaking egg white casings.

In a mixing bowl, mash yolks with remaining ingredients except chives. Refill eggs with mixture, smoothing off tops.

In another bowl, finely chop reserved egg white tops, mix with chives and sprinkle over tops of eggs.

Yield: 10 eggs.

Laurie’s Mother’s Deviled Eggs

In this mayonnaiseless version, you must work while the egg yolks are still warm.

6 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and cut in half

2 tablespoons softened (very soft, but not melted) butter

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

Dash salt

Paprika for garnish

Remove warm egg yolks from whites. Set whites aside on a serving tray. Break apart and mash warm egg yolks with a fork and then mash in butter. When butter is completely incorporated, mix in mustard and salt. Fill whites with mixture and dust with paprika.

Yield: 12 egg halves.

Potato-Stuffed Eggs

From “The Wellness Lowfat Cookbook” (Rebus). Some of you may favor this recipe for its fat content, but these eggs aren’t the kind Mom used to make.

1 pound new potatoes

8 large hard-cooked eggs

1 small apple, peeled and cored

1 large celery stalk

3 tablespoons jarred chutney

2 tablespoons low-fat sour cream

2 tablespoons dry bread crumbs

1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder

Salt, pepper and hot pepper sauce, to taste

1/4 teaspoon paprika

Place potatoes in pan and add cold water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook about 30 minutes, or until tender. Meanwhile, cook and peel eggs. Cut them in half lengthwise and remove and discard yolks. Set aside whites.

Peel and quarter potatoes, place in medium-size bowl and mash. Finely chop apple and celery in a food processor or by hand and add to potatoes. Add all remaining ingredients except 1 teaspoon chives and paprika.

Spoon mixture into egg whites and place on plate. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours. Just before serving, garnish with rest of chopped chives and sprinkle with paprika.

Yield: 8 servings.

Nutrition information per serving (two egg halves): 102 calories, 1 gram fat (9 percent fat calories), 1 milligram cholesterol, 170 milligrams sodium.

MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: Hard-cook eggs, don’t hard-boil Long, hard boiling produces tough eggs and a green ring of sulfur around the yolk. Here is the proper way to hard-cook eggs: Place eggs in a single layer in a saucepan. Add cold water to at least 1 inch above eggs. Cover and quickly bring to a boil. Turn off heat. (If using an electric stove, remove pan from burner.) Let eggs stand, covered, in the hot water about 15-17 minutes for large eggs; if other than large, adjust time up or down 3 minutes for each egg size. Immediately run cold water over eggs or place in ice water until completely cooled. To remove shell, crack by tapping all over on a hard surface or spanking with a heavy spoon. Roll egg between your hands to loosen the shell, then peel, beginning at the large end. Hold egg under running cold water or dip in a bowl of water if the shell is hard to remove. Other tips from Sharon Tyler Herbst’s “A Food Lover’s Tiptionary” (Hearst): Add a few drops of food coloring to the water so you’ll be able to distinguish refrigerated hard-cooked eggs from raw ones. Roll eggs over halfway during the cooking process to keep the yolks centered. Very fresh eggs - those that are less than one week old - are harder to peel than older ones. You cannot hard-cook eggs in a microwave (they’ll explode), but if you find after peeling an egg that it is not quite done at the center, pierce it once or twice with a fork, set microwave to medium power and zap for 10 to 20 seconds. Let stand 20 seconds before checking for doneness. Hard-cooked yolks freeze successfully in airtight containers for up to four months, but whites become watery and tough. Joyce Gemperlein Knight-Ridder Newspapers

This sidebar appeared with the story: Hard-cook eggs, don’t hard-boil Long, hard boiling produces tough eggs and a green ring of sulfur around the yolk. Here is the proper way to hard-cook eggs: Place eggs in a single layer in a saucepan. Add cold water to at least 1 inch above eggs. Cover and quickly bring to a boil. Turn off heat. (If using an electric stove, remove pan from burner.) Let eggs stand, covered, in the hot water about 15-17 minutes for large eggs; if other than large, adjust time up or down 3 minutes for each egg size. Immediately run cold water over eggs or place in ice water until completely cooled. To remove shell, crack by tapping all over on a hard surface or spanking with a heavy spoon. Roll egg between your hands to loosen the shell, then peel, beginning at the large end. Hold egg under running cold water or dip in a bowl of water if the shell is hard to remove. Other tips from Sharon Tyler Herbst’s “A Food Lover’s Tiptionary” (Hearst): Add a few drops of food coloring to the water so you’ll be able to distinguish refrigerated hard-cooked eggs from raw ones. Roll eggs over halfway during the cooking process to keep the yolks centered. Very fresh eggs - those that are less than one week old - are harder to peel than older ones. You cannot hard-cook eggs in a microwave (they’ll explode), but if you find after peeling an egg that it is not quite done at the center, pierce it once or twice with a fork, set microwave to medium power and zap for 10 to 20 seconds. Let stand 20 seconds before checking for doneness. Hard-cooked yolks freeze successfully in airtight containers for up to four months, but whites become watery and tough. Joyce Gemperlein Knight-Ridder Newspapers

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