Deviled eggs, just like Russian salad, are yet another dish that, although rather sophisticated in Eastern Europe, is considered an almost inferior, simple party snack in the United States (note: with exception to Southern cooking, where this dish is indeed highly regarded). That’s why, when I decided to make deviled eggs for my husband’s American family for the first time, no one was impressed. Before they tried the eggs. The reaction followed immediately after the first bite, ‘What did you add there? I’m not a deviled egg person but these are good! Can I have seconds? Thirds?..’ And that was even before I told them that I would normally top each egg with a teaspoon of caviar (yes, I do realize how Russian it sounds!) In short, this casus with deviled eggs in the United States can be called the same way as the Arctic Monkeys’ album – ‘Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not.’
As you use my recipe for deviled eggs, please keep in mind that I am just giving a general direction and guidance. Sometimes, when I don’t have certain ingedients handy, I would just use whatever looks good in the fridge, and the result never dissapoints. For example, once I had anchovy paste, which I decided to use instead of salt to add a bit of umami flavor, and it turned out delicious! Now I use it every time, but good sea salt would work just fine. I also alternate between different herbs, depending on what looks best at the farmers market, and it is always an interesting experiment. I tried parsley, dill, basil, cilantro, and even fresh oregano, and so far, dill is my favorite. But again, it is not the rule, just the guidance, so listen to your intuition and stomach and use whatever satisfies your taste best.
Active time: 35 minutes | Total time: 45 minutes | Makes: 6 servings
1 medium shallot
5 baby portobello mushrooms
Bunch of dill, finely chopped
1 tsp of anchovy paste
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
Freshly milled black pepper
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp dijon mustard
Sprinkle of cholula or another hot sauce
Boil the eggs. Let them cool, them pill and cut in halfs. Remove the yolks and reserve.
Dice the mushroom. Heat 1/2 tablespoon of unsalted butter in a pan. Add the shallots and the mushrooms and saute on medium heat until mushrooms are well-browned (about 15 minutes). Let them cool.
Prepare the fillng. In a mixing bowl, combine the yolks, shallots, mushrooms, dill, anchvy paste, and paprika. Add mayonnaise, mustard, and hot sauce and mix together well with a fork, breaking the yolks as you mix.
Fill in each white half with enough filling and top with spot of caviar. Alternatively, you could decorate the deviled eggs with olives or cornichons.
Considering how difficult and expensive it is to get good quality caviar, I often top the deviled eggs with an olive or cornichon, or just sprinkle them with chopped herbs before I serve them to the guests. That makes a fine presentation and adds some interest to the flavor profile.