I really love deviled eggs. I mean, really love them.
I love them so much that a few weeks ago I hosted a Deviled Egg Pageant.
That’s right, I invited a bunch of people over to make their very best deviled egg to compete for fabulous prizes. And of course, eat a bunch of deviled eggs.
Three of my friends volunteered to judge, which meant I was free to compete. This also meant that I was free to hem and haw about what type of deviled eggs to make. Zesty horseradish deviled eggs? Wasabi deviled marble tea eggs? Sesame deviled eggs with pickled ginger? Or maybe just my classic recipe, topped with capers and smoked paprika?
I decided on a smokey chipotle cheddar egg, in part because my recent trip to Ohio. We stopped at a cheese shop (I really love cheese, too) and I found a delightful smoked cheddar cheese which I knew would be perfect with the equally smokey chipotles. I also knew that a chipotle cheddar egg might be the way to my deviled-egg-hating friend’s heart, since she already loves my chipotle mayo.
Guess what? She ate one. Deviled-egg-hater my ass.
There were a bunch of delicious eggs (and some non-eggs) entered into the pageant. Best Egg in Show was a fabulous egg with sesame oil in the filling and topped with black and white sesame seeds. Audience Choice was a tie — potato skins, made to look like deviled eggs (by the egg-hater, of course) and a wonderful classic mustard/mayo/relish combination. Best Classic Egg was a stone-ground mustard and dill number. And Best Modern Egg?
You’re looking’ at ‘em. In fact, they were so popular that I have to apologize for the quality of my photo. I was rushing around so much before the party started that I didn’t get a chance to take a photo. At some point I went over to the table to get more eggs and realized that only two of these puppies were left. I snapped a quick shot right before another one was grabbed!
I didn’t expect to win (there were so many good eggs), but I’m glad I did. Aside from having proof that I make pretty awesome deviled eggs, I got to keep one of the sweet plaques that I made for the winners. It’s now in our “trophy case” which only consists of this plaque, and my mom’s Silver Spurs trophy from 1974.
Chipotle Cheddar Deviled Eggs
1/2 cup chipotle mayonnaise
1/2 cup smoked cheddar cheese, finely grated
2-3 tablespoons adobo sauce (from the can the peppers came in when you were making your mayonnaise)
a few wedges of lime
1/4 teaspoon of salt, more to taste
homemade taco seasoning, to garnish
smoked cheddar cheese, to garnish
So, first you’re going to hard cook your eggs. There are a million different schools of thought on this, but the way I prefer is as follows:
Put your eggs in a single layer in a large pot. Cover with cold water that is an inch above the eggs. Pop a lid on that sucker, put over high heat and watch it like a hawk. Once the water just starts to boil, remove from heat.
Let sit for 9 minutes with the lid on. Then drain the hot water and immediately fill with cold water from the tap. Keep the tap running until the water is no longer heating up from the residual heat from the eggs. Or, you can add ice cubes until they stop melting. Basically, you just want to cool those eggs down!
I find it easiest to peel the eggs when they are completely cooled, so I usually cook them the day before I need them, then peel and assemble after a night in the fridge.
Peel your eggs! This would be a good time to mention egg peeling difficulties. You know when you just get eggshell shards and shredded whites all over the place and you want to just toss everything in the garbage can? This means your eggs are too fresh. If you are making deviled eggs, you should try to buy your eggs a week ahead of time to age them in the fridge. (It’s also never a bad idea to cook one or two more than you need, just in case.)
So slice your eggs in half and scoop out the yolks into a bowl. You see how perfectly yellow your egg yolks are, like the noontime sun? That’s what an expertly cooked egg looks like. Greenish-grey rings around pale yellow yolks? OVERCOOKED.
Crumble your egg yolks with a fork, then mix in your mayonnaise, adobo sauce, the juice from a lime wedge or two, and salt. Mix until all the lumps are gone. This might take a while doing it by hand, but it’s the difference between great deviled eggs and mediocre deviled eggs — no yolky lumps. If you find that your mixture is too thick, add a little more lime juice, or if you’d like it spicier, a little more adobo sauce.
Next, stir in the smoked cheddar. I grated mine with my microplane to get truly tiny bits of cheese that disappear into the filling, and was very pleased with the results. If you don’t have a microplane, just use the small holes on your grater.
Now give it a taste, and add more salt as needed. The salt will really depend on your personal tastes, as well as how salty the cheese you’re using is. It’s always easier to add more salt than to take it away, so just take lots of taste tests… nobody minds doing that, right?
Put your filling into a piping bag with a large tip of your choice. Or, put in a zip top storage bag and cut the corner off. When I travel with eggs, I like to arrange the whites on a plate and cover them, then bring my piping bag of filling and any garnishes separately. Then you can fill them quickly on site without having to worry about smushing on the trip.
So, arrange all your egg whites on a plate. Then pipe a generous amount of filling into each. Sprinkle a pinch of taco seasoning over each egg. Then with the microplane, grate a wee bit more smoked cheddar over the entire plate.