In the weeks leading up to Easter I saw many recipes for devilled eggs in the foodie blogosphere, traditional magazines, and newspapers. The eggs had been tarted up – yolks mixed with asparagus or wasabi or ginger or avocado or tofu. They just didn’t appeal, but did get my mind’s tastebuds salivating. Give me at least a dozen of the old fashioned, rich, fatty devilled egg that remind me of afternoons spent at my Great Aunt Bessie’s house on Prairie Avenue, over posh, each and every time. I’m just certain she served them in an etched glass devilled egg platter, inevitably with a crocheted doily that she’d made herself, under it to protect the table. As a good Midwesterner there’s just no other way it could have been done. And while Easter seems like the perfect time to indulge in this treat, it’s the best way to use up all of those decorated Easter eggs, I remember them being served at every picnic, potluck, and party when we’d visit family in Decatur, Illinois.
Devilled eggs, like all things retro, seem to have reclaimed their place at hipster restaurant tables from Brooklyn to San Francisco, but they’re not the “thing” over here in the UK that they are back home. However, when I was invited to Easter lunch with friends, I could think of no other nibble I’d rather bring along. For a moment I thought of fancifying my eggs and garnishing them with some of my latest batch of pickled rhubarb (yes, I’m stockpiling it for the rest of the year)….but got over it quickly. The one deviation I did make from the Beaman classic was adding a little oven-crisped Serrano ham, and it was delicious, but by no means necessary. I do have vague memories of smoked paprika adding a hint of color to a finished platter, so you can play around, but they really don’t need much help.
On a final note, I am apparently not a good Midwestern girl as my china cupboard does not have a devilled egg platter. However, I did come up with an easy way to transport these delicate jewels if you’re sharing them away from home. Simply place the halved egg whites in a plastic container with a lid and place the prepared egg yolk mixture in a plastic piping bag (or ziplock bag) which you’ll cut the corner off of when you are ready to serve. Then simply pipe the yolk back into the whites and you’re ready to indulge. I did bring some pea shoots and dill which I thought I’d use to garnish my platter, but thought they looked magestic just as they were, ham nestled into the yolk, no greens to muddle it up.
12 large eggs
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
pinch of sugar
3 teaspoons yellow mustard
salt and pepper to taste
3 slices of Serrano ham or prosciutto, cut into slices
Carefully place the eggs in cold water in a large saucepan, bring to the boil, cover and turn off the heat. Let them sit for 10 minutes, drain and peel the eggs (some care needed to make sure they remain largely intact). Slice the eggs in half lengthwise and carefullly coax the yolks out into a large bowl. Once you’ve done this with all of the yolks, add the mayo, vinegar, sugar, and mustard and smash it all together with a fork. Season to your taste. Place your Serrano ham pieces on a baking tray lined with foil and put in a 400 degree oven for just 10 minutes, until the pieces are crisp. Allow them to cool before placing on your eggs.