Make Ahead

Virginia Willis' Deviled Eggs

March 30, 2012
Photo by James Ransom
Author Notes

By combining her Southern sensibilities with the restraint of her French training, Virginia Wills' deviled eggs just do everything right. There is a secret ingredient here, one that Willis picked up in culinary school: butter, just a tad. Mixed in while it's soft, it rounds and smooths over the more acidic ingredients and renders the filling creamy without overtaking it. A few classic players -- mayonnaise, dijon and cayenne -- hover at the edges, so the richness of the yolk still shines. A speckling of fresh herbs stirred in at the end lifts everything up. Adapted very slightly from Bon Appetit, Y'all(Ten Speed Press, 2008) —Genius Recipes

  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Cook time 20 minutes
  • Makes 24 deviled eggs
Ingredients
  • 12 large eggs (about a week old if possible -- they'll be easier to peel)
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 pinch coarse salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh tarragon, chives, or chervil, plus leaves for garnish
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. To hard-cook the eggs, place the eggs in a saucepan and add water to cover them by 1 inch. Bring to a boil over high heat (you will see bubbles around the sides of the pot). Remove from the heat, cover, and let stand for 12 minutes. Drain the eggs and rinse them under cold running water. Set aside to cool completely.
  2. To peel the eggs, once the eggs have cooked and cooled, remove the shells by tapping each egg gently on the counter or sink all over to crackle it. Roll an egg between your hands to loosen the shell. Peel, starting at the large end, while holding the egg under running cold water; this facilitates peeling and also removes any stray shell fragments.
  3. To prepare the filling, halve the peeled eggs lengthwise. Carefully remove the yolks. Set the whites aside. Pass the yolks through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl or place them in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Blend the yolks, mayonnaise, butter, mustard, and cayenne, and mix until smooth; season with salt and pepper. Add the finely chopped tarragon.
  4. Place the mixture in a piping bag fitted with a large star tip, or use a medium sealable plastic bag with one of the corner tips snipped off.
  5. To assemble the eggs, when ready to serve, pipe the yolk mixture into the whites. Garnish with additional herbs and serve immediately.
  6. To make ahead: Unpeeled hard-cooked eggs can be refrigerated for up to 1 week. Or prepare the eggs, but don’t assemble, up to 8 hours in advance of serving; refrigerate the whites covered with a damp towel in an airtight plastic container. Store the egg-yolk mixture in the piping bag with the tip also covered in a damp paper towel. Knead the yolk mixture slightly to soften before filling the yolks. The eggs may also be assembled and stored covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 hours. Any longer and the yolk mixture starts to form a crust.

See Reviews

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Cuocopazzo
    Cuocopazzo
  • Robert Wilkanowski
    Robert Wilkanowski
  • Pat E. in SLO
    Pat E. in SLO
  • Jeff Shaffer
    Jeff Shaffer
  • robin lewis
    robin lewis
Review
Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

Genius recipes surprise us and make us rethink cooking tropes. They're handed down by luminaries of the food world and become their legacy. They get us talking and change the way we cook. And, once we've folded them into our repertoires, they make us feel pretty genius too. Watch for new Genius Recipes every Wednesday morning on our blog, dug up by Food52's Senior Editor Kristen Miglore.