I’ve found there are two appetizers you can serve your guests that will all but ensure there will be no leftovers, shrimp cocktail is one, deviled eggs the other. This is probably for the best too, as I can’t think of many other foods that will stink up your kitchen so quickly after they make their debut. Preparing shrimp has never been a problem, but for the longest time, hard-boiled eggs were my culinary Achilles Heel. No matter what “foolproof” method I attempted, I could never get them to peel well…constantly winding up with a plate full of misshapen, pock-marked albino troll droppings that no one wanted to look at, let alone eat.
Then one day, while trying to be overly efficient, I placed a few eggs in some boiling water that I had just used to blanch some veggies, figuring the water was already hot and the pan already “dirty”. I then reused the ice bath for the veggies and voila, peelable, perfect eggs. You could practically blow the shells off! My hunch is it has something to do with the double shock treatment the eggs get – first from cold fridge to hot water, then from hot water to cold water – that helps them shrink away from the outer shell. Either way, I’ve been on an egg roll ever since (you saw what I did there…)
Inspiration for unique deviled eggs is everywhere, especially now that they are on every other menu in town. I’m not even sure what inspired this particular version, except maybe I had some pesto in the pantry and the meal I was serving company was otherwise Italian…and I love a theme! Supermarket pesto is an ideal, fairly healthy timesaver and I encourage you to have fun with the rest of the jar: another round of appetizers, maybe spooned on crostini with a sprinkle of grated mozzarella, or use it the next day tossed with some pasta for a quick meal. It will also freeze well, just make sure that you press plastic wrap down onto it to protect it from discoloring. So whether they’re for a football party or a reading of Green Eggs and Ham, give them a try, one guest said they were the second best she’d ever had and I hope you agree.
6 eggs, hard boiled, peeled and halved
2 tablespoons store-bought basil pesto
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons light sour cream
Pinch of kosher salt
Pinch of ground black pepper
A few grape tomatoes and fresh basil to garnish
- Bring a pot of water to a gentle boil, there will be a few bubbles in the water, but it should not be violently bubbling.
- Gently lower the eggs into the water and cook for 9 minutes. Adjust the heat if necessary to keep at the gentle boiling stage.
- After 9 minutes, remove the pan from the heat and let the eggs continue to rest in the hot water for another 9 minutes.
- Create an ice bath with cold water and ice in a medium bowl. After the second 9 minutes, remove the eggs from the hot water and gently place in the ice water. Let set 2 minutes and then remove.
- Peel and halve the eggs, have a damp paper towel on hand to wipe the knife after each cut, which will ensure you have nice, clean egg halves.
- Place the yolks into a small mixing bowl or small food processor. Add all the ingredients, except the tomatoes and fresh basil, and combine well. If the mixture is too thick, add a little more light sour cream to thin it a little. You will want a smooth consistency.
- I like to put the egg mixture into a ziptop bag and pipe it into the eggs, a pastry bag also works, but that’s just one more thing to clean. If you want to skip this method altogether, simply spoon the mixture into the egg halves, it will be a good heaping teaspoon per half.
- Garnish each egg with a slice of fresh grape tomato and a little fresh basil. You can put the basil on the eggs if you like, or just use it to brighten up the plate, as the photo above shows.
- Chill until ready to serve and nosh!
Makes 12 deviled eggs