How to Make Perfect Filled Eggs

Fancy boiled eggs have become something of a trend. Every small bistro and wine bar seems to offer some kind of “upbeat” version of the classic picnic, usually with crispy pork (or even caviar) on top. However, you don’t need to add prosciutto chips on top of the boiled egg for them to be good; the best are the simplest.

That doesn’t mean you can’t supplement them with gourmet foods like salmon caviar or candied bacon, but you don’t have to . Spice Eggs can be reefed endlessly, but you should master the basic no-frills version before playing this kind of riff game. Here are my rules for making perfect stuffed eggs, with or without hand pickled peppers:

Rule # 1: don’t overcook your eggs

This is the most important rule, as any fried eggs are pretty nasty. Dry powdered yolks turn into a dry sulfur filling, which means you’ll have to overcompensate with mayonnaise (or throw them away). The yolks should be completely hardened, but still pale and vibrant. Seven minutes in boiling water or 11 minutes in a double boiler should do the trick.

Rule # 2: Peel them perfectly.

Egg peeling has always been the most frustrating part of the spice egg making process. Pieces of white stick to the shell, resulting in ragged, fragile white patches that compromise both the structural integrity and the aesthetics of the snack. Fortunately, this tragedy is easy to avoid: just be sure to add the eggs to the already boiling water, and then dip them in the ice bath immediately after they finish cooking (and leave them there for at least 15 minutes). Steam cooking (followed by an ice bath) will also produce super-peelable eggs. Clean them under running water, starting at the ends.

Rule # 3: don’t overdo it with mayonnaise

Mayonnaise is an important part of a boiled egg, but it’s easy to overdo it. Too much mayonnaise not only dulls the taste of the yolk, but you can end up with a mouthful of mostly mayonnaise, which is a terrible feeling. For a dozen filled eggs (made from six whole eggs), a couple of tablespoons will suffice, as long as you haven’t broken Rule # 1.

Rule # 4: don’t skimp on mustard

Mustard is a damn important ingredient, and you’ll need vinegar punch to overcome the wealth of other ingredients. You will need at least a tablespoon per batch and you should probably use the classic yellow. (Spicy brown mustard or horseradish mustard can be used, provided acid levels remain high.)

Rule # 5: Season, Season, Season!

As with any savory (and slightly sweet) food, these babies need salt and pepper. They also need pepper (Hungarian, smoked, natch). I know “to taste” is very vague, but the spice egg dressing should actually be made to your liking, especially if you’re one of the people adding hot sauce, or Worcestershire sauce, or avocado to the egg filling. Add all other ingredients, mash with a fork until the streaks of mustard or mayonnaise disappear, then sprinkle with salt and pepper, taste and add more if necessary.

Now is also a good time to mention that while the image above suggests otherwise, I strongly oppose whipping and turning the filling white. Seasoned eggs are a simple, almost rustic appetizer that doesn’t have time for your fancy floral patterns, and whipping up the filling makes it too creamy. Just knead with a fork and scoop up with a spoon. Sprinkle with bell pepper, serving and scarf on top.


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