Wife Jan is interviewing job applicants over the next two weeks. The university will only cater groups of 10 and there will only be five for breakfast during the interviews. Jan asked me to cater the sessions—deviled eggs, a baked good, and fruit salad. Today, I decided to go a bit Italian.
For the first interview I used some old standards—curried deviled eggs and biscuits. While the candidates would change each session, the interviewers remained the same. I tried to make a different flavor of deviled egg and a different baked good for each meeting.
Note: For my baked good I decided to go with cinnamon pinwheel biscuits.
Karl’s Basil and Caper Deviled Eggs
¼ cup Japanese mayonnaise
2+ Tbs. capers, separate uses
1 tsp. basil, dried
pinch Kosher salt
2-3 tsp. cream
1. Put a wire rack in a large pot and add about an inch of water.
Tip: You want the water no higher than the height of your wire rack.
Note: I have a round wire rack that came with a wok that fits my Western pot perfectly. You can buy these separately in some large Asian stores.
2. Bring the water to a boil and then add the cold eggs.
Tip: Always add an extra egg or two than the number you need, in case you get a “blowout.”
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 large 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.
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. Roughly mince two tablespoons of capers.
11. Mix the capers, basil, and salt into 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.
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 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.
Note: If you do not have a deviled egg plate—with egg shaped indentations to keep the eggs from sliding around—it is useful to lay down a sheet of paper towel on the serving platter.
15. Garnish with a 2-3 whole capers on top of each egg.
Tip: For transporting the eggs to Jan’s event, I found a deviled egg carrier.