Let me get this straight ... on Easter day a costumed bunny hides brightly colored eggs for kids to find and squeal over, and then once they find the eggs they receive candy as a reward, sort of like a pastel scavenger hunt version of Halloween. Did I get that right?
I didn't grow up with the Easter bunny, so I'm sure that I've lost something in the translation. I also don't have kids, so I never had to worry about it. But this year, during a conversation with a friend who was unsuccessfully attempting to explain this tradition to me, I asked a question that stumped her. Granted, this conversation took place over a bottle of wine, so she may not have been as much stumped as she paused to refill her glass. That said, I wondered ... what happens to all those eggs? Easter egg hunt is over, the kids are full of candy, and now you have four dozen brightly colored hard boiled eggs to contend with. What now?
Deviled eggs, that's what.
So, I called the one person I know whose deviled eggs are requested at every baby shower, wedding shower, potluck or picnic. My ex-boyfriend's mom, Helen. I had never had a deviled egg until I met her, and she has since ruined me for any other. She creates the perfect combination of seasoned, tangy, and spicy that you'll ever get in one bite.
I boiled a dozen eggs, and for the first time ever colored them (how fun!), and followed her very simple recipe to one bite happiness. After 24 bites, I realized that I had not documented any of it. So, I got some more eggs and started over. I ate those as well, this time with friends. Be aware that some of the egg whites might pick up a bit of the food coloring from the shells, but what's a little color between friends? Plus, who doesn't want to eat a pink deviled egg?
If you're wondering what makes these deviled eggs so special, well I did too. My very first question was, "what's your secret ingredient?" Helen's response, "love." So, here you go, deviled eggs filled with love and some other ingredients too. You're welcome.
- 12 large eggs (about a week old if possible -- they'll be easier to peel)
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons bacon fat
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons pickle relish, drained
- 2 to 4 dashes Tabasco sauce, to taste (or 1 pinch cayenne pepper)
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon leaves
- 1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives
- Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Paprika, for garnish
- Snipped fresh chives, for garnish
To hard-cook the eggs, place the eggs in a saucepan and add water to cover them by 1 inch. Bring to a boil over high heat (you will see bubbles around the sides of the pot). Remove from the heat, cover, and let stand for 12 minutes. Drain the eggs and rinse them under cold running water. Set aside to cool completely.
To peel the eggs, once the eggs have cooked and cooled, remove the shells by tapping each egg gently on the counter or sink all over to crackle it. Roll an egg between your hands to loosen the shell. Peel, starting at the large end, while holding the egg under running cold water; this facilitates peeling and also removes any stray shell fragments.
To prepare the filling, halve the peeled eggs lengthwise. Carefully remove the yolks. Set the whites aside. Pass the yolks through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl or place them in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Blend the yolks, mayonnaise, bacon fat, mustard, pickle relish, and Tabasco (or cayenne), and mix until smooth; season with salt and pepper. Add the finely chopped tarragon and snipped chives.
Place the mixture in a piping bag fitted with a large star tip, or use a medium sealable plastic bag with one of the corner tips snipped off.
To assemble the eggs, when ready to serve, pipe the yolk mixture into the whites. Dust the tops slightly with paprika. Garnish with snipped fresh chives and serve immediately.
To slice cleanly through the eggs, run your knife under hot water before each slice.
This makes it easier to slice, but it also helps to keep your yolks from scraping against your whites as you cut through.
To make ahead: Unpeeled hard-cooked eggs can be refrigerated for up to 1 week. Or prepare the eggs, but don’t assemble, up to 8 hours in advance of serving; refrigerate the whites covered with a damp towel in an airtight plastic container. Store the egg-yolk mixture in the piping bag with the tip also covered in a damp paper towel. Knead the yolk mixture slightly to soften before filling the yolks. The eggs may also be assembled and stored covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 hours. Any longer and the yolk mixture starts to form a crust.