Growing up in the South meant being part of a wide and warm social circle. We were always visiting with friends and family at casual picnics, fancier teatime parties, and sit-down dinners. There was always a gracious spread of classic dishes and always a plate of deviled eggs.
I’ll never forget the time my sister, Kim, and I arrived at a party and, after exchanging pleasantries with the hostess, found that there were no deviled eggs on the buffet. I don’t know if the hostess ran out or never had them to begin with. Either way, we were scandalized. We ran to Mama and told her and there were a lot of whispers and raised eyebrows among the ladies after that. If you’re a Southern hostess, you’d better have deviled eggs and lots of them.
They don’t have to be fancy. In fact, I like to keep to the classic vinegar-mayo-mustard combo. My only addition here is to top them off with crunchy bacon. A small but worthy addition. You can easily double, triple, quadruple this recipe—make enough so you don’t run out at your party!
Makes 24 egg halves
3 strips bacon (regular, not thick-cut)
12 large eggs
1 tablespoon white vinegar or cider vinegar
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. In a medium skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat, turning occasionally, until browned and crisp, about 10 minutes. Drain on paper towels. When the bacon is cool, crumble into fine pieces and reserve.
2. Put the cold eggs in a large saucepan and add enough cold water to cover them by 1 inch. Add 1 tablespoon salt, then bring to a boil. Cover the saucepan and remove from the heat. Let stand, covered, for 10 minutes.
3. Fill a large bowl with cool water. Remove the eggs from the saucepan, gently roll on the counter to crack all over, then place them in the cool water. The water will get under the membranes and make the eggs easier to peel. Once they’ve sat for a little while, peel them, one by one. Pat the eggs dry, trim a little slice from the top and bottom of each egg, then cut each egg in half crosswise. The trimmed tops and bottoms will help the egg halves sit up.
4. Carefully remove the yolks and transfer to a large bowl. Mash with a fork, then sprinkle the vinegar over the yolks. Add the mayonnaise, mustard, cayenne, black pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir until well mixed and smooth. Taste and add more salt if you like.
5. Transfer the mashed yolks to a piping bag fitted with a plain or rosette tip. You can also use a resealable plastic bag: just snip a hole in a corner to create a quick piping bag. Pipe the yolks into the whites so the eggs look pretty. Garnish with the crumbled bacon.
Catering Like Carla:
To serve the deviled eggs, you can wash dried black beans and dry them well. Spread them in a layer on a serving platter and nestle the eggs in them. The beans both make a beautiful, dramatic backdrop for the eggs and help them stay up. Plus, the beans are large enough to not stick to the eggs when they’re picked up.
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