I like to take deviled eggs to picnics. They’re delicious, impressive and actually easier to transport and assemble than you’d think. Read on, and I’ll show you how to do it.
But first, I have a story that goes along with my deviled eggs and that’s about one of my more embarassing moments…
On a Pennsylvania-based business trip for work, I met and interviewed an Amish family. We were hoping to bring their free-range eggs into our business, so we got a tour of the facilities before being invited to sit down for lunch in their home. I belive that’s kind of a rare thing for outsiders. The Amish are a very private people.
It was a meal like the ones I remember enjoying on farms across South Dakota. The room was dim and the long, wooden table included a couple of relish plates with home-made pickles, butter and fresh-baked rolls and a meat-and-potatoes main course. I spotted a plate of deviled eggs, and I asked if the man of the house would pass it to me.
This was a grave error.
He looked at me very seriously and said, “Did you mean the MUSTARD EGGS?”
Naturally, I meant the mustard eggs. He passed the plate.
One of my colleagues awkwardly restarted the conversation.
As I quietly munched my (very tasty) mustard egg, I realized that the Amish take the devil very seriously, even when he’s just used as a descriptor for something that’s vaguely “zesty or spicy”
The lunch resolved amicably and we gained access to the family’s eggs. So the trip was a success despite my conversation-ending misstep.
But that story is still something I think about every time I devil something.
Since “deviling” is essentially just adding spicy mustard or chili, you’ll see a whole universe of deviled things, including deviled ham, deviled chicken, deviled beef, deviled chickpeas, deviled tofu and naturally, deviled eggs.
And did you know people have been eating something like deviled eggs since the era of the ancient Romans?
Back to the egg recipe though… I have a few tips on how to make your eggs portable and picnic-ready.
- Do use your older eggs. They’ll be soooo much nicer to peel.
- Boil 1-2 more eggs than you think you need. They don’t all come out looking picture-perfect.
- Get creative with your garnishes. Herbs, spices, minced red pepper… A good garnish will add to the flavor of the your deviled eggs and they help you cover imperfections.
- Keep everything cool in an insulated bag with an ice pack until you’re ready to serve.
- Don’t worry if the whites look misshapen. They’ll probably fill out with the yolk mixture and look great when you garnish them.
Picnic-Portable Mustard Eggs
(About 20 deviled eggs)
- 10 medium or large eggs, room temperature
- Water for boiling
- Bath of ice water, for chilling
- 2 Tbsp (29 grams) Dijon mustard
- 2 Tbsp (27 grams) mayonnaise or olive oil
- Pinch of salt
- Paprika or fresh herbs as garnish
- Heat a large pot of water to boiling and gently set the eggs in the boiling water with a long-handled spoon. Set a timer for 10 minutes and prepare the ice bath.
- Carefully drain the boiling water and transfer the eggs to the ice bath. Allow them to cool.
- Peel the eggs carefully and set them aside in a bowl.
- Fill a glass of water and set it beside your cutting board. As you slice each egg in half, swish your knife in the water to keep it clean. A clean knife makes each slice easier.
- Remove the yolks from the halved eggs and keep them in a mixing bowl and set the yolk-free whites aside.
- Use a fork to mix Dijon mustard, mayonnaise/olive oil and salt into the yolks. You want to create a creamy mixture, so crush any lumps with your fork and add a little more mayonnaise/olive oil if the mixture seems too dry.
- Taste the yolk mixture, and adjust the flavor with a little more mustard or salt, if necessary.
- Transfer the yolk mixture to a clean plastic sandwich bag and work out all the air pockets. You want to use the sandwich bag like a pastry bag, so make sure you have at least one corner that’s air-free.
- Assemble the egg whites on a damp paper towl in a single layer within a suitable container.
- Pack your paprika or fresh herbs. Chill everything until you’re ready to serve.
- To assemble, create a 1-cm hole in the yolk bag by snipping off the corner. Set up the egg whites with the holes facing up, and pipe a heaping mound of the yolk into each hole. Garnish with herbs or a sprinkle of paprika before you serve. Keep any additional eggs cool and covered.