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Deviled Eggs are a Rite of Spring

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Since pagan times eggs were a sign of spring and rebirth. Brightly colored eggs were thought to be laid by a rabbit or hare and children would build a nest, and the next day there would be decorated eggs. There is definitely a blending of traditions between these early pagan rites of spring and Christianity. Although there is nothing in the Bible about an egg laying rabbit, there is some base for the inclusion of eggs in the Christian spring ritual of Easter. Eggs were once forbidden during the Lenten season, a time of penance and fasting; followers would paint and consume eggs to signal the end of Lent.

Besides colored or dyed eggs, deviled eggs are also prepared, especially in the South. These southern favorites make a great accompaniment to ham and look fabulous on an Easter buffet. Make plenty as they always go quick. There are a couple of pointers to remember when hard boiling eggs: never use eggs that are too fresh, don’t overcook, and always add salt to facilitate easy peeling. Here are instructions for the perfect hard-boiled egg as well as a few variations on the deviled egg.

The perfect hard-boiled egg

Adapted by Joseph V. Fasy from http://www.incredibleegg.org

Step 1: PLACE eggs in saucepan large enough to hold them in single layer. ADD cold water to cover eggs by 1 inch and add 1 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. white vinegar. Then HEAT over high heat just to boiling. REMOVE from burner. COVER pan.

Step 2: LET EGGS STAND in hot water about 12 minutes for large eggs (9 minutes for medium eggs; 15 minutes for extra-large). If using farm fresh make sure and grade by size.

Step 3: Cool completely under cold running water or in bowl of ice water, then REFRIGERATE.

Mom’s Deviled Eggs by Joseph V. Fasy

1 dz. Eggs, hard-boiled and chilled

5 Tbsp. Mayonnaise

2 tsp. Prepared Yellow Mustard

1 tsp Olive Juice

1 jar Pimento Stuffed Olives

Paprika

1. Cut eggs in half from small end to large end; remove yolks and place in separate bowl.

2. With a fork mash yolks until fine, add mayonnaise and whip with fork until smooth and fluffy. Add mustard and olive juice and whip to combine.

3. Fill to cover top and garnish with half olive and sprinkle with paprika.

Variations:

Loaded: add bacon bits, cheese and scallions

Muffaletta: add olive salad to yolks and top with crisp salami

Mexican: Add pickled jalapeno, cilantro and smoked paprika

Southern: Add hot sauce, pickle relish and Italian parsley.

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