Food & Drink

A deviled egg sampler? You're welcome.

Deviled eggs can be made in an endless variety of flavors.
Deviled eggs can be made in an endless variety of flavors. THE CHARLOTTE OBSERVER

Obviously, Aristotle hadn't snacked on deviled eggs when he proclaimed the whole as greater than the sum of its parts. Egg-white vessels, endless variations on yolk-based fillings and garnishes as simple or fussy as the occasion requires each bring their own charms to the party.

We recommend a liberating approach to serving deviled eggs. Make the kind you like best and a few others, too. We're offering four options to try: One has less fat, one has more heat, one uses Middle Eastern inspiration and one is pickled for a vivid addition to a platter. We doubt there will be leftovers.

To hard-cook eggs: Place them in a large steamer basket set over or inside a pot with several inches of barely bubbling water (medium heat; the water should not touch the eggs). Cook/steam for 13 minutes, then turn off the heat. Let sit for 10 to 13 minutes, then use a slotted spoon to transfer the eggs to an ice-water bath to cool. Peel when completely cooled.

Make ahead: The eggs can be hard-cooked up to 1 week in advance; refrigerate in an airtight container and let the egg white halves come to a cool room temperature before serving. The filling can be prepared a day in advance; store in a gallon-size zip-top bag (for potential piping). It’s best to fill the eggs the same day they are served.

Less-Devilish Eggs

Adapted from “Eating Well Quick + Clean: 100 Easy Recipes for Better Meals Every Day,” by the editors of Eating Well magazine (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017). The secret to this more healthful version of deviled eggs is replacing half the mayonnaise with nonfat Greek yogurt.

12 large eggs, hard-cooked

1/4 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt

1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise

1 tablespoon minced shallot

1 tablespoon dill relish

2 teaspoons Dijon-style mustard

1 teaspoon white wine vinegar

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Aleppo pepper, for garnish

Cut the eggs in half lengthwise. Place the yolks in a food processor along with the yogurt, mayo, shallot, relish, mustard, vinegar, salt and black pepper; puree until smooth.

Make sure the egg white halves have no trace of cooked yolks. (You may wish to slice a thin layer off the bottoms of each one, for stability.)

Spoon or pipe about a tablespoon of the filling into each egg white half. Just before serving, sprinkle each one lightly with Aleppo pepper.

Per filled half: 45 calories, 3 g protein, 0 g carbohydrates, 3 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 95 mg cholesterol, 80 mg sodium, 0 g dietary fiber, 0 g sugar

Yield: 6 servings (24 halves).

Horseradish Deviled Eggs

Adapted from TasteofHome.com. These are just a bit more tangy than your standard deviled eggs.

12 hard-cooked eggs

1/4 cup mayonnaise, preferably Duke's (may use low-fat)

2 tablespoons prepared white horseradish

1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh dill

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt, or more as needed

Dash freshly ground black pepper

Sweet paprika or Aleppo pepper, for garnish

Cut the eggs in half lengthwise. Separate the whites and yolks and make sure the egg white halves have no trace of cooked yolks. (You may wish to slice a thin layer off the bottoms of each one, for stability.)

Place the yolks in a mini-food processor, along with the mayo, horseradish, dill, salt and black pepper. Puree until smooth. Taste, and add more salt, as needed.

Transfer the filling to a piping bag or gallon-size zip-top bag. Fill each egg white half. Just before serving, sprinkle each one with paprika or Aleppo pepper.

Per filled half: 50 calories, 3 g protein, 0 g carbohydrates, 5 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 95 mg cholesterol, 60 mg sodium, 0 g dietary fiber, 0 g sugar

Yield: 6 servings (makes 24 halves).

Hummus Deviled Eggs

Adapted from TheLemonBowl.com. Deviled eggs take to a Middle Eastern treatment so well, this might become your new favorite.

12 hard-cooked eggs

1/2 cup homemade or store-bought hummus

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

Water, as needed

2 tablespoons za'atar (see note)

Cut the eggs in half lengthwise. Separate the whites and yolks and make sure the egg white halves have no trace of cooked yolks. (You may wish to slice a thin layer off the bottoms of each one, for stability.)

Place the egg yolks in a mixing bowl, along with the hummus, lemon juice and oil. Mash with a fork or use an immersion (stick) blender to blend until creamy and smooth.

Just before serving, spread some za'atar on a small plate. Working with one egg white half at a time, invert into a small bowl of water, then transfer to the dish of za'atar, lightly pressing to coat the flat surface of the egg white half. Spoon or pipe a tablespoon of the filling into each egg white half. Sprinkle the filling with a little more za'atar.

Note: Za’tar is a Middle Eastern spice blend. It’s available in the spice aisle of many supermarkets. Or you can make your own: Combine 2 teaspoons each dried thyme and oregano, 1 tablespoon each ground sumac, ground cumin and white sesame seeds and 1 teaspoon each kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.

Per filled half: 50 calories, 4 g protein, 1 g carbohydrates, 4 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 95 mg cholesterol, 45 mg sodium, 0 g dietary fiber, 0 g sugar.

Yield: 6 servings (24 halves).

Beet-Pickled Deviled Eggs

From chef Austin Fausett at Proof restaurant in Washington. Both the egg white halves and mustard seeds get pickling treatment here, to create a stunning display.

Pickled mustard seeds:

3/4 cup water

3/4 cup cider vinegar

4 1/2 tablespoons sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

Generous 2 1/2 tablespoons honey

1/2 cup yellow and/or brown mustard seeds, blanched (see note, below)

Egg pickling liquid:

2 cups beet juice

2 cups cider vinegar

2 cups sugar

1 tablespoon kosher salt

Eggs:

12 hard-cooked eggs

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard

1 tablespoon sweet paprika

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup canola oil

1/4 cup water

Pickled mustard seeds: Combine the water, vinegar, sugar, salt and honey in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Add the blanched mustard seeds and cook for 10 minutes. Cool completely before transferring to an airtight container; refrigerate until ready to use.

Combine the beet juice, vinegar, sugar and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar and salt have dissolved.

Cut the eggs in half lengthwise; reserve the yolks. Place the egg white halves (free of any yolk) in a stainless-steel bowl. Pour the pickling liquid over them, making sure they are submerged. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Combine the egg yolks, mayo, mustard, paprika and salt in a food processor; puree until fairly smooth. With the motor running, add the oil and water in a slow, steady stream to form a creamy, almost pourable filling. Transfer to a gallon-size zip-top bag; seal, pressing out as much air as possible, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (and up to 1 day).

Drain the pickled egg white halves, inverted on paper towels. (They may feel a bit firmer than plain egg white halves.)

Pipe or spoon a tablespoon of the filling into each pickled egg white half. Top each with some of the pickled mustard seeds. Serve right away.

Note: To blanch the mustard seeds, place them in a small fine-mesh strainer. Bring a small pot of water to a boil over high heat. Dunk the strainer into the water a total of 8 times, waiting at least 15 seconds before the next dunk. Drain completely.

Make ahead: The mustard seeds can be prepared several days in advance; refrigerate up to 3 months. The egg white halves need to marinate in the beet pickling liquid overnight in the refrigerator. The filling needs to be refrigerated for at least 30 minutes (and up to 1 day).

Yield: 12 servings (24 halves).

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