Monday, August 22, 2016

Deviled Eggs Two Ways: Mustard-Cornichon and Smoky-Toasted-Rosemary


You know, I would like to say that I am a sophisticated urbanite who does not hanker for the staples of her childhood potlucks. However, I would be lying.

Yet such hankerings do not include Jell-o molds. Nope. (To be clear, I have nothing against the Jell-o set. I love my aunts dearly.)


Kristin Donnelly of Eat Better, Drink Better has recently launched a new cookbook that drags the potlucks of yore into the modern age. Gone are the green bean and condensed (of course) cream-of-mushroom soup casseroles, the pigs in a blanket, and the cheese balls rolled in mixed nuts. Instead, Donnelly sets new rules for potluck fare that include
  1. Staying power (it's gotta withstand its tenure on the buffet table)
  2. Simplicity (too many components equals prime fussiness; potlucks do not equal fussiness)
  3. Crowd pleaser with a bit of a surprise (it's a potluck, but it's not the 1970s)
These are all rules that I can get behind. Her modern recipes include Apple-Ginger-Bourbon Cocktails, Indian-Spiced Spinach-Yogurt Dip, Ribollita with Lemon-Chile Relish, and Peach-Blueberry Slab Pie. Yes, please.


However, one does not simply have a potluck, a true potluck, without deviled eggs.

Donnelly updates the deviled egg to have a little more punch and pizazz than your standard mustardy, mayonnaisey, gloppy affair.  Instead, she gives us toasted rosemary and smoky paprika or whole-grain mustard and tangy cornichon. Neither really whips the deviled egg into unfamiliar territory. Instead, they nudge you from the familiar to the delightful, and Aunt Jenny won't be taken too far off guard.

These potlucks retain all the familiarity and coziness of a family affair and combine them with the edge of the unexpected.



On a personal (and side) note, I served these deviled eggs as an appetizer before a birthday (potluck) dinner held in our backyard for one of our friends. Said friend is French, and she and her husband (also French) had never had deviled eggs before. We had to explain that these little bites were totally retro, absolutely nostalgic, and still a little special.

I felt like an ambassador of the American potluck.

(Let me just point out: there were none left. American and French diplomatic relationship remains intact.)


All in all, I am enjoying cooking my way through this fun little book. The recipes are pleasing, the layout easy to follow, and the design satisfying (if the cover is a little reminiscent of one of my favorite David Tanis cookbooks, One Good Dish from 2013).

Plus, Donnelly is urging us to use the "power of the potluck" to come together, truly see each other for the complicated and baggy and frail humans that we are rather than the projections we present behind the veil of the internet, share in the labor (of love) of cooking for one another especially in an age of costly ingredients, and settle our real and imagined differences over a meal.

Including ones with deviled eggs.

Now, that's something I--and all of my aunts--can get behind.



Smoky Deviled Eggs with Toasted Rosemary


Yield:
2 dozen deviled eggs

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
48-64 fresh rosemary leaves (pulled from the stems) (just eyeball it)
12 peeled hard-boiled eggs
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp mayonnaise
1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp dijon mustard
2 tsp lemon juice
3/4 tsp smoked paprika (she calls for 1/2 tsp, but I found it was not enough)

Instructions:
1. Set a paper towel next to the stove. In a small skillet, heat the olive oil. Quickly fry the rosemary in the heated olive oil, for about 30 seconds. Stir frequently while frying. Remove the rosemary with a slotted spoon, spread it on the paper towels in a single layer to drain the oil. 

2.  Halve the boiled eggs, and use your fingers or a small spoon to remove the yolk, being careful not to tear the egg whites. Put the yolks in a mini food processor and blend until smooth. If not using a processor, either mash with a fork or press them through a sieve. Add the mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice and smoked paprika and mix. Season generously with salt and pepper.

3. Arrange the egg whites on a platter, and then spoon or pipe the filling into the cavities in the egg whites. Garnish with the fried rosemary.

(Donnelly even has the solution for transporting deviled eggs!) 



Mustard-Cornichon Deviled Eggs



Yield:

1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp mayonnaise
2 Tbsp whole grain mustard
6 cornichon pickles, finely chopped, plus 1 thinly sliced for garnish
Salt and pepper

Instructions:

1.  Halve the boiled eggs, and use your fingers or a small spoon to remove the yolk, being careful not to tear the egg whites. Put the yolks in a mini food processor and blend until smooth. If not using a processor, either mash with a fork or press them through a sieve. 

2. Mix in the mayonnaise, mustard, and chopped cornichon. Season generously with salt and pepper.


3. Arrange the egg whites on a platter, and then spoon or pipe the filling into the cavities in the egg whites. Garnish with the sliced cornichon.


(Donnelly even has the solution for transporting deviled eggs!) 




3 comments:

  1. I borrowed Kristin Donnelly's Modern Potluck from the library and will likely have to buy it. It is loaded with really lovely, delicious recipes that take into account a variety of dietary limitations, while still appealing to all tastes and with a nod to a variety of cultures.

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    1. I really enjoy it. My only problem is that I am not cooking from it nearly enough!

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