Deviled is a cooking term that’s been around since the 1700s, referring to boiled or fried foods that have been heavily seasoned with cayenne and other hot spices. But a perfect deviled egg is hard to get right, says Twain’s executive chef Savannah Haseler. It starts with a properly boiled egg. Haseler begins by piercing the wider end of each raw egg with a push pin, pressing just enough to puncture the shell. Place eggs in a large pot, and add enough room-temperature water to cover the tops by at least an inch. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then set the timer for two minutes. Add ½ teaspoon baking soda for each quart of water to increase alkalinity, making it easier to peel the eggs. Remove the pot from heat, cover with a lid, and let sit for 10 minutes. Drain, and run cool water over the eggs until they are not too hot to handle but still warm to the touch. Roll each egg on the countertop until tiny cracks appear all over. Peel under cold water, beginning at the pin hole.
1. Cut eggs in half, and scoop out the cooked yolk into a bowl.
2. Push yolks through a mesh strainer into a medium bowl. “This is a little time-consuming but well worth it,” says Haseler. “It makes the yolks light and fluffy and gives the filling a great texture.”
3. For 1 dozen yolks, add ½ cup mayonnaise, 2 tsp. smooth Dijon mustard, ½ tsp. salt, ¼ tsp. white pepper, and a pinch of cayenne. Mix until just incorporated.
4. Spoon mixture into a piping bag fitted with a star tip. (If you don’t have one, improvise by snipping about ¼ inch off the corner of a plastic bag.)
5. Squeeze mixture into each egg half, using a circular motion to create a swirling pattern.
6. Garnish as desired. For Twain’s signature deviled egg, Haseler folds the yolk mixture into homemade pimento cheese then tops it with sunflower sprouts, bacon pieces, and pickled mustard seeds.
Perfect pairing: Twain’s pimento cheese
1. Using an electric mixer, blend 8 oz. softened cream cheese and ½ cup mayonnaise at medium speed until thoroughly combined.
2. Add 2 cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese, ¼ tsp. garlic powder, and ¼ tsp. ground cayenne pepper.
3. Mix to combine, then fold in ½ cup chopped pimentos. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
About Chef Savannah Haseler
Since taking over as executive chef at Twain’s in 2012, Haseler has gradually elevated its menu with thoughtfully sourced local ingredients and classic techniques. Last year she was selected to cook with a team of Georgia chefs at the James Beard House in New York.
This article originally appeared in our June 2016 issue.