I made some deviled eggs for Jan’s Ethno Breakfast—a local (Bay Area) meeting of corporate ethnologists. We had some leftover smoked trout and I thought I would experiment with it, in case Jan asked me to make another dish for the next event. Plain deviled eggs are an infinite canvas for creative new dishes.
Many people have difficulty peeling eggs after they have been boiled. Bits of the white stick to the membrane leaving you with pock marked eggs. There are several tricks to pay attention to while preparing your eggs:
First—if you can—buy your eggs the week before, so that they can be properly “aged.” The whites of fresh eggs are more firmly attached to the membrane. As the eggs get older, this bond breaks down.
Second, steam your eggs, rather than boiling them. When eggs are submerged, the water at the top of the egg may be cooler than the water closest to the heat at the bottom of the egg. By putting the egg on a rack—out of the water—the eggs are surrounded by steam at exactly 212° F. This allows them to cook evenly at a known temperature.
A third trick is to shock and completely cool the eggs. Quick cooling causes the shells to suddenly contract which pulls the membrane away from the egg white. Cooling the egg completely gives the whites time to firm up and makes them less likely to break apart as you are pulling the shell away.
Daughter Eilene recently introduced me to Japanese mayonnaise. It is very different from European and American brands. It is made with only egg yolks, apple cider or rice vinegar, and includes dashi, giving it a creamier, tart, and more umami flavor. “Try it you’ll like it.”
Karl’s Smoked Trout Deviled Eggs
Note: This recipe is designed for two eggs, the amounts in square brackets are for making one dozen eggs for a potluck or family event
2 eggs (preferably a week old, see note below) [12+]
1 small green onion, sliced finely, separate uses 
1½ Tbs. smoked trout, separate uses [¼+ cup]
Pinch Kosher salt [⅛ tsp.]
Pinch black pepper [⅛ tsp.]
1± Tbs. Japanese mayonnaise [¼+ cup]
1± tsp. half and half [2± Tbs.]
1 Mandarin orange [as needed]
1. Put a wire rack in a small pot and add about half an inch of water.
Tip: You want the water no higher than the height of your wire rack.
Note: I have a steamer tray that came with my rice cooker that fits one of my small Western pots perfectly.
2. Bring the water to a boil and then add the cold eggs.
Tip: [For a dozen eggs, I usually add 14-15 eggs, because one or two will not peel cleanly and I want a few spares.]
Note: By adding the eggs after the water boils, you are controlling the exact cooking time of the eggs, preventing over cooking.
3. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to medium low.
Tip: You want your water to continue steaming, but you do not want it to boil away.’
4. Steam the eggs for exactly 15 minutes—for large eggs.
Tip: Steam small eggs for 14 minutes and extra large eggs for 17 minutes.
5. Prepare a bowl with cold water and ice.
6. When the eggs are done steaming, transfer them to the ice water for 10 minutes.
Tip: This shocking pulls the membrane away from the whites and causes the egg to fill the “dimple.”
Note: When you slowly cool an egg, the air bubble at the large end of the egg is filled with steam and creates a dimple at one end of the egg as the white firms up. The cold water quickly chills and condenses the steam and allows the still soft egg white to push into this space, making a smoother, uniform egg.
7. Remove the eggs from the water and move them to the refrigerator for at least one hour.
Tip: The firmer the egg white is, the less likely it is to break as you peel off the shell.
Note: I skipped this step—I was hungry.
8. Cut each egg in half on the long axis.
Tip: Hold the half egg gently by the thick white ends and press the back of the egg to pop the yolks into a medium mixing bowl. remove any yolk remaining in the hole.
Note: Lay the egg half hole side up on a paper towel to keep it from sliding around.
9. Use a fork to mash the egg yolks into a fine powdery mass.
Tip: It is easier to catch any hard lumps of yolk before you start adding other ingredients, rather than trying to chase them around in a slurry. You do not want any lumps larger than about half the size of a pea.
10. Mash one tablespoon of the smoked trout into a fine mince.
Tip: Break the rest of the trout into pieces—one for each half egg.
11. Mix the onion, minced trout, salt, and pepper to the powdery yolks and mix them in with the fork.
Tip: It is easier to get a good distribution of the dry additives throughout the dry powdery yolks, if you do it before adding the wet ingredients.
Note: Reserve some of the green parts of the onion to use as garnish.
12. Stir the mayonnaise into the egg yolks.
Tip: Add as much mayonnaise as needed to moisten all of the dry yolk.
Note: This mixture will be still be very thick and sticky.
13. Adding the cream—a little bit at a time—whisk the mixture with a fork until has your desired consistency.
Tip: Depending on how large the individual yolks were you may need to add more cream.
Note: Do not add too much cream. you want a light and fluffy filling, not a wet sludge.
14. Spoon the filling into the holes of the half eggs and arrange them on your serving platter.
Tip: You will have enough filling to be generous filling the eggs. The filling should hump up above the cut edge of the half egg by at least a quarter inch.
15. Garnish the eggs with the remaining green onion and place one piece of the fish atop each egg.
16. Garnish the plate with a pealed Mandarin orange and serve immediately,