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06/22/2015

~ My Devilishly Hot-Russian-Mustard Deviled Eggs ~

IMG_8667When you get invited to a backyard barbecue or a neighborhood picnic, what do you get asked to bring -- a dessert, a side-dish, an appetizer?  Nine times out of ten,  I get asked to make these deviled eggs.  Amongst friends they're simply called "Mel's Eggs", and, they have a reputation for being egg-strordinary, which makes me chuckle because when I was growing up, they were quite ordinary.  It's how my grandmother made them and taught me to make them.  Horseradish is one of our most beloved Eastern European 'secret weapons'.  Like any other deviled egg recipe, you can make as many or a few as you want or need (or are asked to bring), but:

IMG_8673What eggs-actly do eggs need to do to quality for "deviled" status?

IMG_8651As far back as the 18th century, the term deviled was used to describe spicy food in general, more specifically:  cooked eggs whose yolks were prepared with mustard, pepper and a few other flavorful additions, then returned to the yolk cavities, which were used as portion-sized serving vessels.  Culinarily, the verb "devil" means:  to combine any food with hot or spicy seasonings such as red pepper, mustard, Worcestershire or cayenne pepper-type sauces, resulting in a "devilish" dish.

In the case of "Mel's Eggs", if you are not making them using this specific brand of hot Russian mustard, you are not making "Mel's Eggs".  It, and it alone, is the 'secret weapon'.  We have a Russian market here in Happy Valley, so I can purchase it locally.  It can also be found on Amazon.

IMG_8654Herbs are commonly found in deviled egg recipes, and, if your making "Mel's Eggs", "it's all about the dill baby":  baby dill.  It's got to be fresh, not dried, and, it's got to be minced.  Dill and chives are the premiere herbs of Russian cooking.  It's almost impossible to find a salad (salat) or dressing that doesn't contain one or both, and, both are commonly used as garnishes for cooked meat, fish, seafood and vegetable dishes.

PICT269916  extra-large eggs, hard-cooked

2  heaping tablespoons minced, fresh dill

1/4  teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

3/4  cup mayonnaise

4  tablespoons hot Russian horseradish mustard

2  tablespoons salted butter, melted and cooled

IMG_6257~ Step 1.  Hard-cook the eggs as directed in my post ~ A Little Thing Called:  How to Hard-Cook an Egg ~.  It will tell you everything you need to know to perfectly cook an egg that does not suffer from "green ring-around-the-yolk" (which is caused by overcooking).  Just click on the Related Article link below to learn my foolproof method.

Note:  In a perfect world, 1 dozen hard-cooked eggs would crack and peel perfectly, but, even with an egg-cooking method as perfect as IMG_8607mine, unfortunately, eggs, like humans, are not perfect. If you are making things like egg, tuna or potato salad, a few nicks or tears in the white won't matter, but, it does when making deviled eggs, so, I always recommend cooking a few more than you need.

IMG_8632~ Step 2.  Gently crack and peel the eggs within three minutes of cooking, draining and cooling them in cold water.  Using a sharp paring knife, slice them in half lengthwise. Using the pointed tip of the knife, carefully remove the yolks.

Tip from Mel:  Use a moistened paper towel to wipe the knife blade clean after slicing each egg and you will not smear excess yolk over the surface or around the sides of the whites.

PICT2705 PICT2697~ Step 3.  As you remove them from the whites, place yolks from all 16 eggs in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Melt butter and cool 2 minutes.

~ Step 4.  Add the dill, salt, white pepper, mayo and mustard to the work bowl. Process with several rapid on-off pulses.  Stop and PICT2698scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, then, turn the motor on and process until smooth, 15-20 seconds.   Stop and scrape the sides of the bowl again, then, with motor running, through the feed tube, drizzle in the butter and process for 5-10 seconds.

~ Step 5.  Place a pastry bag fitted with a medium star tip in a tall glass and invert the sides of bag down around the glass.  Using a spoon transfer approximately half of the filling to the bag.  Do not overfill the bag.  Trust me:  it's easier to pipe in two half-sized batches.

PICT2707~ Step 6.  Twist the pastry bag closed at the top and decoratively fill the empty yolk cavities, forming a peaked-mound towards each of the centers as you work.  

As an added step, I like to garnish the top of each egg with a large, plump, briny caper (also commonly used in Russian recipes).

PICT2697~ Step 7.  To store the eggs in the refrigerator until serving time (or overnight), place 10-12 toothpicks in a few of the eggs, spacing them randomly but well apart, so they can support a "tenting" of plastic wrap -- this will keep them moist and fresh without damaging the surfaces.

How many of these hot little devils do you think you can eat?

IMG_8681My Devilishly Hot-Russian-Mustard Deviled Eggs:  Recipe yields 2 dozen appetizers.

Special Equipment List:  wide-bottomed stockpot (for cooking eggs); cutting board; paring knife; food processor; rubber spatula; 10" #3118 Ateco pastry bag fitted w/medium star tip; tablespoon; toothpicks; plastic wrap

IMG_1335Cook's Note:  Want a Russian-style potato salad to go with these deviled eggs?  This one, consisting of four root veggies is perfect.  You can find ~ Russian Red Salad: Potato, Beet, Onion & Radish ~ in Categories 2, 4, 10, 12 or 14!

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2015) 

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