Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Eggs bedevil me.

Tarragon pickled eggs. © Ryan Schierling
Ooooo! It's Halloween!! All those "deviled" eggs in the magazines and on entertaining TV decked out with selectively-sliced black olives to look like scary faces or creepy spiders for Halloween... this is not that post.

Each and every October, it seems that deviled eggs start showing up all over. I get it, because there's "devil" in the name and you can make faces with the garnish to look all gouhlish – oh, and, sure, probably  because it's a holiday for entertaining. There is that.

I'm a little picky about my deviled eggs. I think there's "one way" (my way, of course*), and then there are all the other ways I am perfectly happy to eat them when someone else is kind enough to go to the trouble. They may not really be all that difficult to make, but for some reason always seem to be the LAST thing on my priority list when I'm assembling a crudite spread. Peeling hard boiled eggs is bad enough, but removing the yolks, seasoning them and then fussing them back into place... oh, please. Despite my best intentions, I can't remember the last time I managed to get them completed in time for a party. I'm lucky if a few sliced hard-boiled eggs end up on the plate with sprinkle of kosher salt. So, I've simplified a "make ahead" strategy that hits all the same spots, but doesn't require piping my yellows back into my whites.  In fact, in the fine Southern tradition of pickling eggs, I may even like these better...

Tarragon Pickled Eggs

10-12 hard boiled eggs

Pickling liquid:
     1 cup water
     1 Tablespoon kosher salt
     1-1/2 cups tarragon white wine vinegar

     Celery, very finely chopped
     Fresh tarragon, very finely chopped
     Sea salt, or Himalayan pink salt 
Combine water and kosher salt in non-reactive pan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in tarragon white wine vinegar. Let cool. Pour liquid over hard boiled eggs in a clean jar that has a lid. Refrigerate eggs anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days – based on your taste preference. (You may leave them as long as a week and they will be fine, but the whites will start to get a bit rubbery as the proteins begin to denature in reaction to the vinegar.)

When ready to serve, remove eggs from the pickling liquid, cut in half and garnish with finely chopped celery, fresh tarragon and a touch of sea salt.

*Okay, okay... if you want to make deviled eggs my way, the traditional way, peel your freshly hard-boiled eggs, cut them in half and remove the yolks. Whip the yolks with a bit of real mayonnaise, a few splashes of tarragon white wine vinegar and a pinch or two of salt to taste. Pipe or delicately spoon yolk mixture back into the hollow of each egg. Garnish per the pickled egg recipe above.

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