Eat Like a Farmer: Herbed Deviled Eggs
Ever wondered why some hard-boiled eggs form that strange green rind around the edge of the yolk, or why farm-fresh eggs can be so difficult to peel? This recipe combines a couple secrets from an organic farmer for making perfect deviled eggs. Just the thing to wake up that spring lunch routine!
6 locally-raised, hard cooked eggs (notes on procedure below)
3 or more fat cloves of garlic
½ teaspoon salt
1 large raw egg, plus one yolk, separated
½ cup light, neutral oil, plus 1 or 2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon lemon zest
1 bunch thyme
1 bunch parsley
3 cloves garlic
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon lemon zest
3 tablespoons olive oil
The term ‘deviled egg’ came about as a way to describe the fiery flavor of an 18th century egg dish that would not recognize today’s creamy and bland version of potluck fare.
The recipe we’re offering today is definitely not timid. The yolks are assertively garlicky, and the whole dish is further tuned up with a bright, savory splash of herbs at the end.
Because darker colors often translate into higher nutritional content, the deep yellows and greens of this dish mean higher levels of beta carotene, vitamin C, and even iron.
It’s important to note that local eggs can be fresher than supermarket eggs by a factor of weeks, not days. If you’ve ever tried to peel a farm-fresh egg, you know the shell doesn’t always want to come away from the whites. That’s because the inner membrane hasn’t had time to break down.
For nutrition, flavor and food safety, that’s a very good thing. For presenting smooth hard-boiled eggs at a dinner party, not so much.
The farm-fresh secret is to tap the wide end of the raw egg on the kitchen counter just enough to barely crack the shell. You can also push a thumb-tack into the broad end of an egg--the result is the same. While the egg is cooking, air works its way in through these tiny cracks and helps steam the shell away from the egg. It works like a charm.
What about the unappetizing gray line that forms around the edge of the yolk sometimes? It’s the result of a reaction between the iron in the yolks and a compound called hydrogen sulfide in the whites.
It’s also a helpful indicator that you’ve overcooked the eggs. Solution: here’s the never-fail procedure we use to prepare perfect hard-boiled eggs at our organic farm.
Place six eggs in a single layer in a saucepan, and cover them with cold tap water.
Bring the water to almost a boil, then turn the flame completely off. Don’t simmer the eggs.
Set a timer for 12 minutes.
Drain all the hot water off. Since you cracked the eggs a little before cooking them, it’s normal to see a few streamers of egg white coming out of the cracks. If you need to present perfect eggs for a get-together, add a few extra eggs so you can choose against any odd-looking ones.
Rinse the cooked eggs completely in a few changes of cold tap water. Then run a thin stream of constant water over the eggs for another few minutes longer. Making sure your eggs are completely cooled after 12 minutes of cooking gets you a perfect yellow yolk that’s never chalky and dry inside.
I find a food processor to be the simplest way to prepare the two fillings for this dish.
First peel about half a head of garlic. Throw three or more cloves of garlic in along with a half teaspoon of salt. Pulse til the garlic is fine, then add a whole raw egg along with only the yolk of a second one. Let the food processor run for 30 seconds or so. The eggs will lighten a little in color. Then add the oils in a thin stream, followed at last by the lemon juice and zest.
Remove about half of this mixture and set it aside. You can add it to pasta, smear it on toast, or thin it into a salad dressing.
Peel the hardboiled eggs, and add the cooked yolks to the food processor along with the remaining sauce. Process until smooth, and stuff the egg whites with this filling.
Clean out the food processor, and repeat the process with the herb mixture.
First add the garlic and salt and mince it, then stem the parsley and thyme and oil, and pulse them to a nice consistency, too.
Add dollops of herbs to each halved egg, and serve on a pretty plate or wooden board.
Makes 12 deviled eggs.
Read this essay in the Petoskey News-Review here.