The devil in your food

Robert Harland

I WAS amused when two priests on the next table to mine in a pub years ago ordered deviled kidneys. No, it was nothing sinister – they just liked their lamb kidneys hot and spicy. The term refers to the connection between the devil and the excessive heat in hell.

Thus, deviling refers to food cooked in a spiced sauce. The term deviled, in reference to food, was in used in the 18th century, with the first known print reference appearing in 1786. In the 19th century, it came to be used most often with spicy or zesty food, including eggs prepared with mustard, pepper or other ingredients stuffed in the yolk cavity.

Eggs are still the most common deviled dish you’ll come across today – no cocktail party is complete without them. These two-bite treats are easy to make, and they're delicious.

Try this simple recipe for perfect results.

How to make deviled eggs:
Makes 12 deviled eggs

Ingredients

6 large eggs
2 to 2 1/2 Tbsp mayonnaise
2 tsp yellow mustard
Salt and pepper
Paprika, for garnishing
Minced parsley or other fresh herbs, for garnishing

Hard-boil the eggs: Place the eggs in a saucepan and fill with enough cool water to cover the eggs by an inch or two. Place the pan over high heat. Once the water reaches a boil, remove the pan from heat, cover and let stand for 10 minutes.

Peel the eggs: Tap the eggs gently against the counter to crack the shell in a few places, then submerge in ice water for at least one minute. Peel the eggs.

Slice the eggs in half down their length, from tip to bottom.

Remove the yolks: Gently squeeze the eggs to separate the yolks from the whites and use your fingers to remove the yolks. Transfer all the yolks to a mixing bowl. Arrange the empty whites on a platter, cut-side up.

Mash the yolks with a fork until they are completely crumbled.

Mix in the mayonnaise and mustard: Measure two tablespoons of mayonnaise and the mustard into the bowl with the yolks. Mix and mash the filling until you form a smooth paste. If the filling feels too stiff, add more mayonnaise – a small spoonful at a time.

Season with salt and pepper: Season to taste with salt and plenty of pepper.

Transfer the filling to a plastic bag or piping bag: Use a spatula to scoop all the filling into a plastic bag or piping bag. Press the bag with your hands to push all the filling to one corner and press any air out of the top. If using a plastic bag, snip one corner off with a pair of scissors.

Pipe the filling into the egg whites: Pipe the filling into the cup of each egg white, filling the cups so that the filling mounds a little over the top. Squeeze the bag from the top to force the filling downward. Alternatively, scoop the filling into the egg whites with a spoon.

Sprinkle with paprika and fresh herbs to serve: Sprinkle a pinch of paprika and a pinch of fresh herbs over the top of each egg before serving.