Deviled Eggs -- Heavenly Easy Recipe and a Dozen Variations

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No heavy lifting, exotic ingredients or even kitchen know-how is involved in making deviled eggs, which, incidentally, never fell out of favor with certain regional types (read that: Southerners).

Trendy? We scoff at the notion that a simple picnic basket, funeral table, and church supper staple show up on a restaurant menu -- much less sell for $1 each. Them's some serious golden hens.

Make your own deviled eggs (with a dozen variations given) from the basic recipe below. And check out Debbie Moose's cookbook if you're looking for other recipes: Deviled Eggs: 50 Ways From Simple to Sassy.  

Deviled Eggs -- the Basic Devil
6 eggs
2 rounded tablespoons good mayonnaise (I use Duke's)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon yellow (or spicy) mustard
salt and pepper to taste
Hard boil the eggs: Start with older eggs (2-week old eggs peel easier), at room temperature - an important step. Add 1 teaspoon baking soda to the tap water which should be 1 inch on top of the eggs in your non-reactive pot. 
Bring the eggs to a boil and allow to boil for 1 minute at a full rolling boil. Cover the pot tightly and turn off the heat. Let eggs stand as is for 10 minutes.
Drain the water, and add ice to the pot. Add a couple of inches of water. Stir briefly. Let stand until chilled - 2 minutes. They should peel easily at this point.
Slice the eggs in half lengthway and remove yolks to a small bowl. Mash yolks with a fork until fine and crumbly; add mayonnaise and mustard. Mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Use a spoon, or if you want to get fancy, a wide star tip on a piping bag to fill the yolks. Sprinkle with paprika, if desired. Keep refrigerated.
Makes 12 deviled eggs. 
(These should be eaten within 24 hours for best flavor; they do not freeze.)

Variations:
To the yolk mixture... 
1. Add pickle relish. Dill relish is paricularly delightful.
2. Add chopped pimento-stuffed green olives, well drained. Cut back on salt.
3. Substitute softened cream cheese instead of mayonnaise and substitute horseradish for mustard. (Particularly good with No. 2.)
3a. Substitute vegetable cream cheese instead of mayonnaise; skip mustard and add 1 teaspoon herbes de Provence.
3b. Substitute Miracle Whip for mayonnaise. 
4. Add 1 teaspoon chili pepper.
5. Add chopped jalapenos.
6. Add 1/2 teaspoon finely minced garlic or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder.
7. Add chopped bacon.
6. Add chopped scallions, chives or shallots. (Good with any of the above.)
7. Add caramelized onions.
8. Add finely chopped hard hot sausage; cut back on salt.
9. Add a tablespoon of drained capers; cut back on salt.
10. Add a dollop of caviar to each egg. (Dip egg tips in toasted plain bread crumbs to make this fancier - you're already using caviar!)
11. Add finely minced drained cucumbers and a few drops of pure lemon juice. 
12. Add chopped smoked salmon. (Best when made with cream cheese.)


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