When I was a kid, we went to my grandma’s for Easter every year. All the cousins held an Easter egg hunt in her big front yard, usually for those awful brightly colored candy eggs in the plastic wrappers. I was never sure that if I found an egg from the previous year if it would look any different than the new ones. We would dye hard-boiled eggs, write our names on them and nestle them in fake grass in the ceramic rabbit basket my grandma made. Then we would have a big dinner, usually ham, and I would always gorge myself on deviled eggs, which I only got at this time of year.
I always associated deviled eggs with my grandmother, and that made them one of the most special and comforting foods. I never even attempted to make them until after she stopped cooking. That’s when I found out to my surprise how easy they are to make, and how many variations there are on the basic theme of stuffed hard-boiled eggs. I still don’t make them very often, because I want to keep them special, but Easter is coming up, so here’s the basic recipe with some suggestions for variations.
Time to make: ~10 minutes, not including time to boil the eggs
Yields: 4 servings, 1 egg per person
- 4 eggs, hard-boiled (I think it’s easier to work with chilled, pre-boiled eggs)
- 2 tbsp. mayonnaise
- 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
- ¼ tsp. cayenne
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Garnishes: paprika and minced parsley
Slice the eggs in half lengthwise and remove the yolks. Use a fork to mash the yolks with the remaining ingredients. Spoon the filling back into the halved whites and garnish.
If you like, mix other ingredients into the filling to spice things up and vary the flavors. Try, for example, minced capers, fresh herbs or scallions plus a little grated Parmesan. For a heartier filling, add steamed spinach or canned tuna (the kind packed in olive oil). Or boost the flavors with a dollop of chile paste or anchovy paste. Let me know if you have your own variations in the comments.