A Devilish Delight

Suzanne Altreche’s four The Cracked Egg restaurants across the Las Vegas Valley crack upward of 40,000 eggs a week, serving them up, over easy, scrambled, poached, in omelets, in skillets, as part of benedicts and stuffed in tortillas. Even hard-boiled; “people do order bacon and eggs with hard-boiled eggs,” she said.

It may seem odd, then, that there’s not a deviled egg in sight.

“I can honestly say I’ve never had anybody ask me for one in the restaurants,” said Altreche, co-owner along with Patiance Thompson. And she seems a little surprised by that.

“Everybody eats them,” she said. “I do like them. I like the flavor; I like the texture of the filling. And I like it really cold.”

She’s even a little sentimental about them.

“The very first thing that I think of when you say ‘deviled eggs’ is my mom,” she said. “I guess for me it brings me back to home.”

Altreche’s mom made her deviled eggs with mayonnaise and paprika, “and every once in a while a little bit of horseradish; I think a little mustard, too.”

It seems that everyone’s mom has her signature deviled-egg recipe, which brings us to the point of this story: Deviled eggs are one of the most versatile foods around, and one of the most economical, too. Even nutritious, if you don’t overdo it with the mayonnaise and if you don’t have a medical problem that precludes you from eating eggs.

If you have a surfeit of hard-cooked eggs this Easter season — or even if you don’t, but want to cook up a dozen or so of this symbol of spring — old-fashioned or new-age deviled eggs are great ways to use them.

Here are a few tips:

When preparing hard-cooked eggs, try to use eggs that aren’t extremely fresh, because they’re more difficult to peel.

If you need a specific number of deviled eggs — to fill the wells in a deviled-egg plate, for example, or for appetizer servings at dinner — plan on making two or three extra, because no matter how carefully you work, you probably will have one or more eggs that do not peel smoothly or whose off-center yolks leave a wall too thin for stuffing.

Place the eggs in a pan and cover with cold water. Bring the water to the boil, then remove from heat, put a lid on the pan and let the eggs sit 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water; refrigerate if you’re not using them immediately.

To peel, crack the eggs and gently roll on a counter to crackle the shells, then carefully peel them under cold water. Cut in half lengthwise, remove the yolks and mash the yolks with pretty much anything you’d like. Garnish as desired and refrigerate until serving.

Here are a few recipes to get you started.

CLASSIC DEVILED EGGS

6 hard-cooked eggs, halved

¼ cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon creamy Dijon mustard

½ teaspoon white vinegar

¼ teaspoon salt

Parsley for garnish (optional)

Paprika for garnish (optional)

Remove egg yolks, reserving egg whites.

In small bowl, mash egg yolks. Stir in remaining ingredients. Spoon or pipe into egg whites. Chill, if desired. Garnish, if desired, with parsley and sprinkle with paprika.

For a different taste, add 1 tablespoon pickle relish or finely chopped sweet pickles or 2 tablespoons cooked crumbled bacon or 1 tablespoon chopped green onion, ¾ teaspoon chili powder and hot pepper sauce, to taste.

Makes 12.

— Recipe from Best Foods

EASY CLASSIC DEVILED EGGS

6 hard-cooked eggs

1/3 cup shredded taco-seasoned cheese or cheddar cheese

¼ cup mayonnaise

¼ cup sour cream

3 tablespoons minced green onions

Cut eggs lengthwise in half. Remove yolks to small bowl. Reserve whites.

Mash yolks with fork. Add cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream and green onions; mix well.

Spoon 1 heaping tablespoon yolk mixture into each egg white half. Refrigerate, covered, to blend flavors.

Makes 12.

— Recipe from the American Egg Board

STUFFED EGGS WITH HERBED SAUCE

6 hard-cooked eggs

1 large bunch watercress

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper, to taste

Chopped fresh parsley, chervil, watercress and tarragon

¾ cup sour cream

¼ cup mayonnaise

½ clove garlic, crushed

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Halve eggs lengthwise and remove yolks. Work yolks through a fine sieve and mix thoroughly with ¼ cup finely chopped watercress, mustard and salt and pepper. Fill egg cavities with the mixture.

For the sauce, chop enough of the combined herbs to total ½ cup. Mix with sour cream, mayonnaise, garlic and lemon juice. Add salt and pepper, to taste.

Place eggs on bed of watercress and spoon sauce over them.

Note: For best results, make sauce in advance and allow flavors to blend in refrigerator.

— Recipe adapted from “Another Savory Seasoning” by the Western Reserve Herb Society

RED-CHILI-SPIKED DEVILED EGGS

8 hard-cooked large eggs

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1 green onion, finely chopped

2 tablespoons finely chopped pickled jalapeno pepper or dill pickle

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro

2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce

1½ teaspoons ancho chili powder

Salt and black pepper (optional)

Additional chili for garnish (optional)

Chopped cilantro for garnish (optional)

While cooking eggs, combine remaining ingredients in medium bowl with wire whisk.

Season, if desired, with salt and black pepper.

Peel eggs. Cut eggs in half lengthwise and remove yolks. Mash yolks with mayonnaise mixture until smooth.

Spoon mixture into egg whites. Sprinkle, if desired, with additional chili powder and top with cilantro.

Serves 6.

— Recipe adapted from Bobby Flay for Best Foods

BACON AND CHEDDAR DEVILED EGGS

14 hard-cooked eggs

½ cup mayonnaise

½ cup sour cream

1½ teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

¼ teaspoon pepper

1/3 cup crumbled cooked bacon

¼ cup finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese (1 ounce)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives (or green onion tops)

Cut eggs lengthwise in half. Remove yolks to medium bowl. Reserve 24 white halves. Finely chop remaining 4 white halves.

Mash yolks with fork. Add mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, lemon juice and pepper; mix well. Add chopped egg whites, bacon, cheese and chives; mix well.

Spoon 1 heaping tablespoon yolk mixture into each reserved egg white half. Refrigerate, covered, to blend flavors.

Makes 24.

— Recipe from the American Egg Board

CRAB-STUFFED DEVILED EGGS

8 large hard-boiled eggs, peeled

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

1½ tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon

1 tablespoon minced shallot

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

¼ teaspoon hot pepper sauce

8 ounces crabmeat

Salt and pepper, to taste

Fresh tarragon sprigs (optional)

Cut eggs lengthwise in half. Scoop out yolks. Place yolks from 4 eggs in medium bowl (reserve remaining yolks for another use). Mash yolks with fork.

Mix in mayonnaise, chopped tarragon, minced shallot, lemon juice, cayenne and hot pepper sauce. Mix in crab. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Mound crab mixture in cavity of each egg-white half (about 1 heaping tablespoon for each). (Can be prepared 4 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.) Place crab-stuffed deviled eggs on platter. Garnish each with small tarragon sprig, if desired, and serve.

Makes 16.

— Recipe from Bon Appetit magazine

GARAM MASALA DEVILED EGGS

6 hard-boiled eggs

3½ tablespoons mayonnaise

3 tablespoons minced green onion

1 tablespoon minced seeded jalapeno chili

1½ teaspoons minced mango chutney

½ teaspoon (scant) garam masala (see note)

Finely chopped radishes

Shell eggs, then cut in half lengthwise. Transfer yolks to small bowl and mash with fork.

Mix in mayonnaise. Stir in onion, jalapeno, chutney and garam masala. Season with salt and pepper.

Spoon yolk mixture into whites. Top generously with chopped radishes. (Can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover loosely and refrigerate.)

Makes 12.

Note: Garam masala is available in the spice section of many supermarkets and at Indian markets.

— Recipe from Bon Appetit

Contact reporter Heidi Knapp Rinella at hrinella@review journal.com or 702-383-0474.

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