Picnic treat can go to formal affairs

Eggs: Here are a few tips for great deviling -- so get cracking!

September 12, 1999|By Annette Gooch | Annette Gooch,UNITED PRESS SYNDICATE

The picnic season may be over but there are still lots of occasions when stuffed or deviled eggs are called for: bridal and baby shower luncheons, weekend brunches and Tupperware parties.

If you can't seem to hard-cook an egg that doesn't end up with a rubbery texture and a greenish-gray ring around the yolk (the result of overheating chemical compounds in the egg), try this approach: Start with eggs that are at least a week old (freshly laid ones resist peeling). Place in a pan with enough cold water to cover eggs by 1 inch and add 2 teaspoons salt per quart of water. Bring the water to a simmer (the bubbles should barely break on the surface). Simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes; do not allow the water to boil. After 10 minutes' simmering, immediately place pan of eggs under cold running water; let water run until eggs are cool enough to touch.

If the eggs will be eaten right away or used in a cooked dish, peel while they're warm. Tap around each shell with a spoon to crack it, then roll the egg lightly between the palms and peel off the shell under cold running water. Before refrigerating warm unpeeled eggs, cover them with cold water and let stand until cool, changing the water as it warms.

Peeled eggs are best used right away or refrigerated and used within three days. Eggs, raw or cooked, or foods containing them should not be left unrefrigerated longer than two hours (including preparation and serving time, not cooking time).

Dress up stuffed eggs by using a piping bag (or a cone made from parchment paper or aluminum foil) to fill the halved egg whites with the seasoned yolks.

Deviled Eggs

Serves 12

12 hard-cooked eggs

1/2 cup reduced-fat or regular mayonnaise

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon curry powder (optional)

1/4 teaspoon salt

diced red pepper and tarragon sprigs or minced chives, for garnish

paprika

Peel eggs and halve lengthwise. Remove yolks and place egg whites on a platter. In a mixing bowl, mash egg yolks with mayonnaise, mustard, curry powder (if used) and salt until smooth.

Pipe or spoon filling into egg-white halves. Add garnishes. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 15 minutes.

Dust paprika over eggs just before serving.

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