Masterpiece Deviled Eggs
The way food is presented significantly influences our dining experience, and its impact on our mood is profound. Our brains are hardwired to respond positively to aesthetic beauty. When we see a beautifully presented dish, our brain releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of pleasure and satisfaction.
This immediate surge of happiness, even before tasting the food, primes us for a positive experience. Observing colors, noting arrangements, and appreciating minute details — anchors us in the here and now. Such mindful moments have been shown to reduce feelings of anxiety and increase feelings of happiness. What better way can you start your day than with beautiful food?
Even a simple dish like deviled eggs can be made visually appealing using a combination of creative presentation techniques, color contrasts, and garnishing. Below is a very simple recipe for basic deviled eggs and some ideas for how you can turn them into dining experience that encourages us to slow down, savor each bite, and reflect on the flavors and textures we are experiencing.
2 Tablespoons - 1/4 cup mayonnaise (start with a small amount and add more based on desired creaminess)
1 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
1/2 to 1 Teaspoon Vinegar (white, rice vinegar or apple cider)
Dash of Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Replace Dijon with yellow mustard, horseradish mustard, wasabi, or hot German mustard
For Southern Style deviled eggs: add in 1 1/2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
Instead of mayonnaise: Greek yogurt or sour cream (or a combo of mayonnaise with one of these ingredients)
For a little "kick" add a dash of tabasco sauce
Step 1: Cooking the Eggs
When it comes to cooking hard-boiled eggs, there are two schools of thought. One calls for you to cook the eggs in already boiling-hot water. The other calls for you to start the eggs in cold water, then allow them to gradually come to a boil on the stove.
Both methods have their pros and cons. Choose whichever method you prefer.
Boiling Water Method: Starting your eggs in hot, already-boiling water makes them easier to peel. (Why? Slow-cooked egg whites bond more strongly with the membrane on the inside of an eggshell)
Cold Water Start Method: Eggs started slowly (i.e. in cold water brought to a boil) will have more tender, evenly cooked whites because in rapidly boiling water, the exterior of an egg will cook much faster than the center. But as noted above, they may be harder to peel.
Boiling Water Method:
Pour enough water into a saucepan to cover all the eggs and bring water to a boil.
Lower your eggs straight from the fridge into the boiling water, let them boil for 30 seconds or so just to set the exteriors of the whites,
Then drop the temperature to a very low simmer and let them cook for 10 to 11 minutes
Cold Start Method:
Place the eggs in a saucepan large enough to accommodate them in a single layer.
Next, fill the pan with cold water to cover them by one inch, and bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat.
Once water begins to boil, turn off the heat and cover.
Let it stand 11 to 12 minutes in the hot water
Drain the eggs and then rinse under cold water, or plunge into a bowl of ice water
Peel the eggs
Step 2: Peeling the Eggs
Transfer the just-cooked eggs to a bowl of ice water, which will prevent discoloration and facilitate peeling, and let them stand for 5-10 minutes before cracking the exterior by gently pressing it against a hard surface. Peel the shell under cold, running water for an easy and efficient removal.
Step3: Preparing the Deviled Egg Mixture & Filling the Eggs
Cut the peeled eggs in half lengthwise. Remove the yolks and place them in a medium bowl.
Mash the yolks with a fork until they are crumbled.
Add the mayonnaise, vinegar, and mustard to the bowl. Mix until well combined.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Spoon the yolk mixture into the egg white halves, or if you prefer a fancier presentation, you can use a piping bag with a star tip to pipe the mixture into the egg whites.
Step 4: Garnish and Serve
Making a simple dish like deviled eggs visually appealing involves a combination of creative presentation techniques, color contrasts, and garnishing. Here's how you can transform a traditional deviled egg into a visually captivating treat:
Herbs: Place a sprig of parsley, dill, or chives between eggs or finely chop the herbs and sprinkle on top for a burst of green color.
Paprika: A light dusting of paprika not only adds flavor but also a lovely contrast to the yellow filling.
Caviar or Roe: A small dollop on each egg can elevate the dish both in terms of flavor and visual appeal.
Pickled Red Onions: These offer a vibrant pink color and a tangy contrast to the creamy filling.
Bacon: Crumbled bacon or a small bacon piece can add a savory note and a contrasting texture.
Plating: Start with a neutral or contrasting plate color. A dark plate can make the yellow yolks pop, while a white plate offers a classic, clean look.
Egg Placement: Rather than lining up the eggs in a straight row, consider placing them in a circular pattern or scattered organically across the plate.
Drizzling: Consider drizzling a reduced balsamic glaze in a zigzag or circular pattern around the plate. This not only adds a touch of acidity to complement the richness of the eggs but also enhances the visual appeal.