Easter, or Páscoa as the Portuguese call it, has come and gone. The holiday always makes me think of spring, fuzzy bunnies, radioactive green and pink plastic "grass", and most of all eggs. I don't think I'm alone here in the thought that eggs are a symbol of both spring and the holiday, and you just can't have either one with out some good egg dishes.
I have quite a few good ways to prepare eggs, especially since moving to Portugal, but one I always go back to are deviled eggs. I learned the art of a good deviled egg when I was young, probably around the age of ten. It took me a lot longer to learn the art of how to boil the perfect egg.
First, you must know the age of the egg you want to boil. Aged eggs work better. Fresh eggs, not so much. Fresh eggs are good for many things, but for hard boiled eggs, you want older eggs that are about two weeks old, starting from the time they are laid. If you are receiving eggs from the store, keep in mind that they will already be a few days old (meaning a good five days or so will be plenty of time to let them age).
Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs
- 12 eggs
- pan that is just big enough to hold all the eggs snugly, in a single layer
Place eggs in one layer on the bottom of a pan. Fill the pan with cold water that just covers the eggs. Over high heat, bring water to a boil. Place the lid on the pan and turn off the heat. Allow to sit about 15 minutes in the hot water.
Remove the lid and run cold water over the eggs. Let the eggs sit for about 5 minutes in the cold water to help them cool down.
To peel, tap the eggs against a hard flat surface, turning and tapping to crack most of the shell before rolling it back and forth between your palms. Gently remove the eggshell (which should come away easily). Rinse off any left over shell and repeat with the rest of the eggs.
Basic Deviled Eggs
- 12 hard boiled eggs, shells removed
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons pickle juice
- 2 teaspoons mustard
- salt & pepper to taste
Slice 11 eggs in half length wise, using a small spoon, release the yolk from the white and set the unbroken white on to a plate. Put the yolk in a bowl. Repeat with the rest.
Take 1 egg (preferably one that isn't as nice as the rest) and place in the yolk bowl. With the back of a fork, mash together the yolks and the egg. Add in mayo, pickle juice, and mustard. Season to taste and mix well.
For toppings, I often use paprika, black pepper, or chopped herbs. Other good toppings are chopped pickles, olives, crumbled bacon, chopped chillies for heat, or even anchovies.