It’s spring! And there’s Easter and Passover and Persian New Year and bunnies and eggs and it’s all a big fertility Pagan thing. But I don’t care what you do or don’t celebrate as long as there are eggs somewhere, because eggs are badass any way you serve it up. There’s no dogma in an egg except deliciousness. I mean that is unless you’re stealing eggs from the nest of an endangered bird or a penguin, and then you’re totally going to hell. Because penguins are ridiculously cute and the world clearly needs more American Bald Eagles.
Deviled eggs, in particular, seem to really be having a moment right now. In the last few months I’ve had them about a hundred different ways, and the one at Freddy Smalls was fantastic. It’s called “buffalo deviled eggs”, and is made with Point Reyes blue cheese, celery, CP’s hot sauce and a CRACKLIN on top. Yes, a motherloving cracklin. For those of you who aren’t from the rural south or from Texas, a cracklin is fried chicken skin (or sometimes pork skin) and it’s/ they’re divine. From what I understand, which let’s face it is not that much, cracklins are also a Kosher thing called Gribenes and are a byproduct of schmaltz preparation (and schmaltz is even tastier than it is fun to say). AND they’re also Kosher for Passover.
And then there’s chef Govind Armstrong’s new restaurant in Los Angeles, Post and Beam; there was some kind of magic in his deviled egg to begin with (the first deviled egg I had in decades was at Armstrong’s now defunct but amazing burger bar, 8 oz., in 2005 and it was a r”egg”elation). And just how did Post & Beam’s new menu top that? By putting a perfect little piece of smoked catfish on top. I plotzed.
My own twist on deviled eggs is devoid of the flair of fried animal skin, but it is chock full of egg deliciousness and has a subtle smoky burn. It’s a little bit Texas by way of Mexico veering back towards California. And I’ve made them for parties many, many times because they’re a very convenient appetizer and most people have some kind of nostalgic response to these tasty bites.
Chipotle Deviled Eggs
yield: Makes 24
12 large eggs
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 to 3 teaspoons minced canned chipotle chiles (chipotle in adobo)*
sprinkle of smoked paprika
24 fresh cilantro leaves
*Available at some supermarkets, specialty foods stores, and Latin markets.
Place eggs in large saucepan. Add enough cold water to cover. Bring to simmer over high heat. Reduce heat to low and gently simmer for 5 minutes. Cover, remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes. Drain eggs and cool by running under cold water.
Peel eggs and carefully cut in half lengthwise. Spoon yolks into small bowl and set the whites onto a platter for serving.
Using a box grater, grate the yolks on small holes into medium bowl. Mix in mayonnaise, salt and pepper and chopped chipotle chiles. Add more chopped chiles, if desired, for more heat.
Cut the corner of a large ziplock bag to create a 1” opening (it’s just like a pastry bag) and fill with yolk mix. Pipe filling into egg whites. Cover and chill eggs at least two hours and up to one day. Press a cilantro leaf into the filling on each egg, sprinkle with smoked paprika and serve.
Simple and Springy. And no future penguins or bald eagles were injured in the making of this appetizer.
And what’s not to love about that?