Deviled eggs with a twist

Gretchen McKay

Holiday meals are an excuse to trot out all the familiar, incredible foods we grew up with and absolutely adore, perhaps even more than the family members who gather around the dinner table.

At Easter, that often means honey-glazed ham (with lamb a close second), creamy au gratin potatoes, ricotta pies and eggy sweet breads so rich in tradition.

Also, there are the egg dishes, including hard-cooked ones, tinted with all the hues of the rainbow inside coffee cups filled with a stinky mix of water, vinegar and Paas Easter egg dye tablets.

An ancient symbol of new life, colored eggs have been the stuff of Easter baskets and mad-dash egg hunts since the early 19th century, thanks to the Pennsylvania Dutch, who brought their tradition of the Oschter Haws, or Easter Hare, with them when they settled in the commonwealth.

Along with the eggs every year, comes the question: What do you do with all the leftover eggs on Easter Monday? One can only eat so many egg salad sandwiches, after all.

For many, the answer is to slice the orbs in half, mash the yolk, mix it with mayonnaise and/or mustard, spoon the mixture back into the empty egg white shells and then dust the top with paprika for some deviled eggs.

Also sometimes called salad eggs or stuffed eggs, this cocktail party and picnic classic has a long and tasty history. While the first known reference to deviled eggs appeared in print in Great Britain in 1786 — the word “deviled” refers to making a dish dark or richly spiced — culinary historians believe the dish’s roots can be traced all the way back to Roman times. Then, eggs were boiled and seasoned with spicy sauces or vinegar.

Stuffed eggs similar to what we eat today appeared in Andalusia (now Spain) in the 13th century, and across Europe by the 15th century. Introduced in the U.S. in the 1800s, the finger food became a picnic, party and Easter dinner staple sometime after World War II.

Made with just three or four ingredients, classic deviled eggs might be one of the easiest recipes. But you can be so much more adventurous with the fillings, if you care to step out of the box.

The unusual twists will make that surplus of hard-cooked eggs seem downright egg-cellant.

Deviled Eggs With Parsley, Green Onions and Jalapeno

12 hard-cooked eggs

3/4 cup mayonnaise

2 teaspoons stone-ground or Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley, plus extra sprigs for garnish

2 tablespoons minced green onions

1 small jalapeno, minced

1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro

Pinch cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

Pepper to taste

1/2 to 1 teaspoon paprika, or to taste

Slice each egg in half lengthwise. Scrape out yolks and place in bowl. Add mayonnaise, mustard and blend together with a fork. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the paprika, and use fork to blend until the mixture gets creamy. Spoon mixture into each egg half. Sprinkle with paprika and garnish with a sprig of parsley.

Makes 24.

— “The Ultimate Paleo Cookbook” by Arsy Vartanian (Page Street Publishing)

Bacon and Balsamic Deviled Eggs

12 hard-cooked eggs

5 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled

1/3 cup mayonnaise

21/2 tablespoons finely chopped onion

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

Cut eggs in half lengthwise and scoop out all the yolks. Put yolks in separate bowl and mash. Add bacon, mayonnaise, onion, mustard, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper. Stir until well combined. Spoon the mixture in the egg halves evenly.

Makes 24.

— “The Ultimate Paleo Cookbook” by Arsy Vartanian (Page Street Publishing)

Bagels and Lox Deviled Eggs

12 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and halved

1/2 cup cream cheese

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 sliced scallions

3 ounces smoked salmon, chopped, plus more for garnish

Salt and pepper, to taste

Handful bagel chips, broken into small pieces

Mix together cream cheese, mayonnaise, mustard and scallions. Stir in salmon. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon into the egg whites; top with broken bagel chips and more smoked salmon.

Serves 12.

— Food Network

Shrimp Deviled Eggs

6 hard-cooked eggs

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

1 tablespoon basil pesto

1 shallots, diced finely

6 green olives, chopped into small pieces

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

2 tablespoons capers

1 cup small cooked shrimp, chopped

Sea salt and black pepper

12 small cooked shrimp, for garnish

Extra-virgin olive oil, for garnish

Good quality paprika, for garnish

Peel and cut eggs in half lengthwise. Remove yolks and place in a medium bowl. Add mayonnaise and pesto to the yolks and mash with a potato masher. Add shallots, olives, parsley, capers and chopped shrimp. Stir to combine. Season with sea salt and black pepper.

Drop teaspoonfuls of the egg yolk mixture into the egg halves, then top with small shrimp. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle with paprika. Refrigerate until it’s time to serve.

Makes 12.


Roasted Pepper-Thai Chili Deviled Eggs

8 large hard-cooked eggs

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon white-wine vinegar

1/4 cup diced roasted peppers

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon minced red Thai chili

Coarse salt, to taste

Thinly sliced chilies, for garnish

Peel and halve eggs lengthwise; remove yolks and transfer to a bowl. Mash with a fork; mix in mayonnaise, mustard and vinegar. Press through a sieve to make smooth. Pulse yolk mixture with roasted peppers, Thai chili and salt in a food processor.

Using a pastry bag fitted with desired tip (I used a plastic baggie), pipe yolk mixture into whites. Garnish with thinly sliced chilies.

Serve immediately, or chill up to 2 hours.

Serves 16.

— Martha