Oh brother, do we love us a plateful of deviled eggs during the summer months or after a night of binge drinking. And how. Packed with protein and family-picnic memories, the deviled egg has now remerged with artisan flair at many a fine restaurants, jumping on the plebeian fare-turned-luxe treat bandwagon. Which is why we're unusually thrilled about today, November 2, National Deviled Egg Day.
While it cannot be traced back to a single person or chef, the concept of mixing hard-boiled yolks with a sundry of ingredients started in Ancient Rome. The name, however, comes from the 18th century.
The first recipe for stuffed, hard-boiled eggs were printed in medieval European cookbooks. Cooks at the time stuffed their eggs with raisins, cheesees, and sweet and savory spices. Platina's De Honesta Voluptate (a 15th century Italian text) has the following recipe for cooks:
"Stuffed eggs: Make fresh eggs hard by cooking for a long time. Then, when the shells are removed, cut the eggs through the middle so that the white is not damaged. When the yolks are removed, pound part with raisins and good cheese, some fresh and some aged. Reserve part to color the mixture, and also add a little finely cut parsley, marjoram, and mint. Some put in two or more egg whites withspices. When the whites of the eggs have been stuffed with this mixture and closed, fry them over slow fire in oil. When they have been fried, add a sauce made from the rest of the egg yolks pounded with raisins and moistened with verjuice and must. Put in ginger, cloves, and cinnamon and heat them a little while with the eggs themselves. This has more harm than good in it."
---Platina: on the Right Pleasure and Good Health, Critical edition and translation of De Honesta Voluptate et Valetudine, Mary Ella Milham [Medival & Renaissance Texts & Studies:Tempe AZ] 1998, (via FoodTimeline.org)
In these our modern times, you can find deviled eggs crammed with pickles, bacon, provolone (highly recommended), smoked salmon, caviar, torn tarragon, and more. So much more. SFist asked several local gastronomes to reveals their favorite place in the Bay Area to snatch a few choice deviled eggs.
"Two places come to mind," says SF Chronicle's Michael Bauer. "I love what they do at Bocadillos [710 Montgomery, S.F.] The paprika-dusted yolks become the base for a skewered chilled prawn wrapped around a pickled pepper. Then I also admire the version at Park Tavern [1652 Stockton, S.F.] where they are cut in the middle and filled with smoked yolks with bacon and pickled jalapenos."
Author and founder of Tablehopper Marcia Gagliardi reveals, "Well, my favorites are at grandma’s house (she puts bacon in them—and this was before bacon jumped the shark). But I find it hard to say no to the platter of deviled eggs at Tyler Florence's Wayfare Tavern [558 Sacramento, S.F.]—I like their mustardy kick."
If you would like to make a batch of choice deviled eggs tonight, we recommend Emeril Lagasse's jalapeno-infused little darlings. They're not as, well, fishy as many of the salmony ones out there. (Meh.) But these have the perfect amount of heat for such a rich treat. Behold:
Deviled Eggs Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse
6 eggs, hard boiled, cooled, and peeled
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon finely chopped chives
Hot pepper sauce
Salt and pepper
Variation: add 1 teaspoon chopped canned jalapeno peppers
4 radicchio leaves, for garnish
3 parsley sprigs, for garnish
Place the cooked egg yolks in a bowl. Using a fork, work the mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, chives, and salt and pepper into the yolks to form a smooth paste. Taste. Place 1/2 of this mixture in a small pastry bag with a large star tip. To the remaining mixture, add the jalapenos and season with Hot pepper sauce. Fill 6 of the egg halves with the basic filling. Fill the pastry bag with the jalapeno filling. Fill the remaining egg white halves. Top with paprika. Place on a platter on the radicchio leaves, and parsley sprigs.
And finally, for those of you who won't eat eggs, we... well, you might be out of luck. Or not. In the interest of fair and balanced foot reporting, SFist asked noted vegan Laura Beck of the wonderful Vegansaurus for any vegan-friendly ideas. For a dish reminiscent of deviled eggs minus the chicken, she strongly suggests these potato angels.
"I've made this recipe, though, and it's very delicious," Beck tells us.
We'll take her word for it.