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OPINION

The devil(ed) egg went down to Logan, Part II

Ceason Ranson
Ranson Ritings

So this is my basic, basic deviled egg filling recipe, which begins after I get out my Tupperware container of previously boiled eggs, open the lid, let the egg smell dissipate into the air for a moment, turn on an audiobook for company, and then I get started:

Step seven: Pick up an egg and a small paring knife (that’s the small one with a smooth, but sharp blade). Slice the egg all the way through, vertically (for you directionally-challenged people, like me, that means cut it from the large end of the egg to the small end, or vice versa. Not directly through the middle like you’re halving a globe, like I did once, to the confusion of my family).

Step eight: Over a small bowl, or the bowl of your Kitchenaid mixer (my preference), very, very gently “nudge” the egg yolk out of the white part and into the bowl. Sometimes it’ll slip out if you barely bend the edges of the white part of the egg (just don’t break the white part), and for the really tough ones, use the tip of your knife to dig the yolk out. Do this with all your eggs, then leave them hole side-down on a few paper towels.

Step nine: Go the fridge and get out the following two ingredients-Hellman’s mayonnaise IN THE SQUEEZE BOTTLE (for ease of use) and French’s Classic Yellow Mustard, also in the squeeze bottle. Don’t you dare get out Miracle Whip or Grey Poupon. This is a basic redneck, Mountaineer egg; do not ruin it with your fancy-pants condiments. Hellman’s. French’s. That’s it.

Step ten: Either with a fork, with a hand-mixer, or with the paddle attachment on your Kitchenaid, beat the egg yolks so they break into small pieces, about two minutes or so (longer if you’re taking the fork route). They won’t be smooth; you just want it to look like chunkier yellow sand.

Step eleven: Over your yolks, give your mayo a good squeeze. The mayo isn’t really here for flavor so much as it’s here as a binder, so I probably start with about a ¼ cup.

Step twelve: Over your yolks and mayo, squeeze in your French’s mustard. I do two squeezes to start, probably about three tablespoons worth. Then by hand or with your preferred mixer, mix the yolks, mayo, and mustard together, about a minute.

Step thirteen: Let’s assess your filling: at this point, it should be a pale yellow (like a barely ripe banana), and should still be thick with some visible yolk chunks. So we’re going to add more mustard: I give it another good squeeze into the bowl, then mix for a minute. What I’m going for is a more mustard-yellow color, and a filling that holds its shape, so DO NOT ADD A BUNCH OF MUSTARD AT ONCE! Mustard is what creates runny filling, so add it a little at a time. You can’t ruin a deviled egg with a runny filling, but if you can avoid it, then avoid it.

I know I’ve got enough mustard when my filling is a mustard-yellow color, tastes sharply of mustard, but the filling is still the consistency of a slightly-melted Dairy Queen blizzard.

Step fourteen: Get out your white sugar and, with a cereal spoon, add a level spoonful of sugar into the filling, then mix for a minute. Taste your filling (with a separate spoon- it is still COVID time, after all); if it still tastes too much like mustard, add another spoonful of sugar and mix. I keep doing this until the tangy-sweet ratio tastes right to  me, so sorry recipe-purists, you’re going to have to use your own judgement here. Depending on the mustard, I usually use two to four spoonfuls of sugar, but TASTE BEFORE YOU ADD. If you have to add more mustard to make up for too much sugar, you’ll get runny filling.

Once you’ve got your filling tasting how you want it, set it aside, but tell no one. Your family is wonderful, but if any one of them is a deviled-egg lover, they will have fingers in the bowl trying to get filling before you can even get your deviled egg plate down.

Step fifteen: Get out whatever you’re using to transport and serve your deviled eggs in (I have deviled egg plates for displaying and a plastic deviled egg case for transporting, but I’m extra when it comes to the DE’s. Your regular plate and some plastic wrap are fine. Tacky, but fine.), and lay your egg white halves, hole side up, on the whatever you’re using to display or transport them.

Step sixteen: Using a piping bag (if you’re extra) or a ziplock bag (if you’re normal), transfer your filling to the bag (spooning filling in is for the very coordinated-aka, not me). Cut off just a little of the end/corner of your chosen bag (I’m telling you a little bit and I mean A VERY LITTLE BIT. Do not hack off a chunk, then ask me why all your filling plopped out of the huge hole you cut).

Step seventeen: Using gentle pressure, fill the egg white hole with your filling. If my filling is on the thicker side, I’ll fill the eggs fuller; if it’s on the thinner side, I keep it level with the egg half. So fill all the eggs, then set aside the left over filling for future snacking (you will have leftover filling; it’s just a fact of deviled egg life. If you don’t have extra filling, something has gone wrong. Or, more likely, your family was filching filling when you aren’t looking.).

Step eighteen: Find your chili powder (yes, I said chili powder. Not paprika, chili powder. My eggs, my choice), whatever kind you would use in hot dog sauce (and if you’re not using chili powder in your hot dog sauce, just stop reading my column all together. I can’t handle you).

Being very careful not to accidentally dump a bunch out on the first egg, sprinkle chili powder on all the eggs. Again, use your adult-judgement: just like too much glitter will ruin a craft project, too much chili powder will ruin your eggs, so be judicious.

Step nineteen: If you’re eating later, put your finished eggs in the fridge. If I’m making eggs for a big family holiday, I’ll do everything but assemble them the night before, and then assemble them two to three hours before dinner, then leave them in the fridge till serving time. This gives the filling time to set up, and keeps your eggs cold. If you’re eating right away, put the eggs on the table, then step back fast, because there are no atheists in fox holes, and no manners when it comes to making sure you get your share of deviled eggs.

And that’s it, my basic deviled egg recipe. No pickle relish, no big yolk chunks, and no paprika, but here’s the best part about it: if you love that stuff, go ahead and add it in, after you’ve made your basic egg filling. Deviled eggs are the most “to taste” food out there, so as long as you don’t add so much stuff that the filling gets runny, you really can add just about anything, and no matter what’s in it, your party crowd will eat it.

Except Miracle Whip. If you try and serve a mayo-less devil-ed egg at your family dinner, it’ll be a “miracle” if your family doesn’t disown you. Thank you, thank you, I’ll see myself out, a deviled egg in each hand as I go.