January 22, 2015
Devilled Eggs with Feta
Devil(l)ed eggs go in and out of fashion, party-wise. However, they are easy enough to make and, it seems, always gladly received, even when they are not at their most popular. Call them Eggs Mimosa, Russian Eggs, Dressed Eggs, or Stuffed Eggs if you will, add your favourite twist to the garnish, and customize them to your specifications, but do find a place for them on your appetizer table. Even folks so jaded as to roll their eyes and say "oh, devilled eggs, I see!" can seldom resist taking one...or two. And of course, if you have dyed easter eggs (thinking ahead here, obviously), you will find devilled eggs a delightful way to quickly use up the leftovers.
I guess it's not a real shocker that I like devilled eggs, since I've used a photo of them as the banner for this blog for years and years. Perhaps it is a shocker that I've never posted a recipe for them until now. While I do make several different variations, depending on the needs of the moment, this version which incorporates tangy feta cheese into the filling has been a stalwart of my bring-along arsenal for quite some time. The feta gives the flavour a bit of a lift, as well as adding bulk to the yolk mixture, enabling you to pile the filling up prettily.
Scale the recipe to suit your needs.
Devilled Eggs with Feta
Makes 8 pieces
4 eggs, cooked in their shells (plus an extra, for safety, if you like)
2-3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1-2 tablespoons mild Feta cheese
pinch white pepper
pinch mustard powder (optional)
dash Tabasco pepper sauce
1 tablespoon finely minced green onion (or chive)
paprika to garnish (optional)
Cook the eggs gently, so they don't become over-hard and end up with green-grey rings around the yolk. My favourite method is to put the eggs in a pan of cold water, turn the heat on high and bring to a very gentle simmer, cover, turn the heat off, and set the timer for 10 minutes. When the timer dings, drain the eggs and cover with cold water. Leave for about 10 minutes for the eggs to thoroughly cool, and then peel. To peel easily, tap each end on the counter to shatter the shell, then roll the egg gently under your palm to break up and loosen the shell around the middle of the egg. Usually it works great - sometimes it just won't, so it's a good idea to start with an extra egg, just in case one of them is a jerk.
Slice the eggs in half lengthwise, and pop the yolks into a waiting bowl, taking all possible care to avoid tearing the whites. Place the egg white "boats" on the serving dish (some folks like to put down a bed of chopped lettuce or green kale to help stabilize them, and if you're serving for a party, that's a fine idea. If we're just having them around the house, I don't usually bother). If you have a really well equipped kitchen, you might even have one of those lovely little platters with the specially egg-sized divots, in which case go for it, no lettuce required.
Place the yolks in a medium-fine mesh sieve, and use a spoon to press them through into a bowl below. Essentially, this works just like a big garlic press. The yolks will have a slightly stringy, slightly pellet-y look about them, but that largely dissipates once the other ingredients are added. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the sieve to make sure you get all of the yolk into the bowl.
When the yolks are pressed through, and consequently nicely aerated, do the same with the feta cheese. If you feta is mild, you will probably want the full two tablespoons for this many eggs, but if it is quite sharp, you might want to go with one tablespoon, at least to start.
Add the remaining ingredients, except for the minced green onion. Start with two tablespoons of mayonnaise, and add one more if it seems a bit dry, as much will depend on the size of the eggs yolks, how firmly they were cooked, and the type of mayonnaise you are using. Stir in the onion last. Taste, and adjust the seasoning if necessary. With both mayonnaise and feta in there, you probably won't need any more salt, but you might want to adjust the amount of pepper or add a bit more green onion. If your egg yolks are very pale, you can always add a pinch of turmeric to the filling to strengthen the yellow colour.
Use a small spoon (or a cake-decorating syringe, if you're feeling fancy, and you like swirled ridges) to heap the filling back into the egg white boats. Garnish with a final pinch of paprika (smoked or regular) if you wish, or any other topping you please (although I wouldn't recommend caviar for these ones, since I don't think it would play nicely with the feta).