How to boil — and devil — an egg

A plate of deviled eggs.

A fool-proof method for hard-boiled eggs makes for an egg that is easy to peel, according to former L.A. Times Food section editor Russ Parsons.
(Rebecca Peloquin / For The Times)

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If you are looking for deviled egg recipes this Easter season, you aren’t alone. According to recipe expert the Cookie Rookie, deviled eggs were the most popular Google search ahead of the spring holiday in 24 states.

Deviled eggs are popular partly because they are simple enough to make, or so I thought. I was under the impression that if you can boil water, you can make deviled eggs. A search for instructions on the best egg boiling method in our archives led me to Russ Parsons, former Food section editor and hard-boiled egg aficionado. Parsons was so embroiled in finding the right way to hard-boil an egg, he once mused about the possibility of receiving a grant to further his research.

After egg-tensive investigation, Parsons settled on a method that is both simple and forgiving. Cold eggs are arranged in a pot in a single layer with enough water to cover them. Bring the water to a rolling boil and cook for 1 minute. Then turn off the heat and let stand until the eggs reach your desired consistency: 12 minutes for golden orange yolks, 15 minutes for moist yellow yolks. If you are peeling the eggs for deviled eggs, follow the recipe for easy peeling. If you are coloring the eggs for Easter and leaving the shell on, you are ready to start decorating.

Coloring eggs is an Easter tradition that can be traced back to early Christians in Mesopotamia. As an ancient symbol of new life, eggs were thought to symbolize rebirth and therefore reflect the resurrection of Jesus. During the Middle Ages, eggs became prevalent during the Easter holiday since Catholic Christians refrained from eating eggs during Lent, but indulged in them once Easter arrived.

Deviled eggs also have a storied history, believed to have originated in ancient Rome, where hard-boiled eggs were enjoyed with spicy mustard. The name came from the practice of referring to highly seasoned food as “deviled,” its richness practically a sin. In the 1940s, the deviled egg was a cocktail party staple and today the fiendish eggs are still a potluck favorite. Though, if you are taking them to a church function in the South or the Midwest, the name has probably been tamed to “stuffed eggs” or “dressed eggs.”

Typically, the hard-boiled egg is sliced in half, so the yolk can be removed and mixed with mustard, mayonnaise and relish before getting piped back into the egg white and topped with a sprinkle of paprika. Although, that really is just the springboard for your own creativity. Deviled eggs can be the base for everything including bacon bits and caviar. The devil is in the details, as they say.

Since coloring eggs for Easter is still a popular tradition, use these deviled egg recipes to put all those hard-boiled eggs to good use after the egg hunt. If searching for the right hard-boiled egg recipe was enough of an egg hunt for you, skip the egg dyeing altogether and go straight to turning them into a snack.

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Hard-Boiled Eggs

Use this method to achieve your desired consistency for hard-boiled eggs. This fool-proof method also makes for an egg that is easy to peel, a critical part of a good hard-boiled egg recipe, according to former L.A. Times Food section editor Russ Parsons.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 30 minutes.

Boiled eggs sweat in a bowl.

(Larry Crowe / Associated Press)

Everything Spice Deviled Eggs

Everything bagel spice has many applications, topping everything including avocado toast and popcorn. This method, adapted from a recipe by chef Daniel Patterson, adds the spice to deviled eggs to create a unique flavor that is everything.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 1 hour 15 minutes.

Deviled Eggs With Uni

Deviled eggs often become the budget-friendly vehicle for bougie ingredients like caviar. This recipe levels up your appetizer with equally luxurious uni.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 40 minutes.

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Deviled Eggs With Chicharrones

The best deviled eggs use aioli or mayonnaise to silken the yolks that get piped back into the egg whites. Which makes crushed pork chicharrones the perfect salty contrast.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 35 minutes.

Also …

In L.A. Times Cooking this week, writer Michelle Huneven explores the “soup for dinner” diet — always delicious, never boring — with flavor hacks and recipes for Roman-style Chickpea and Tomato Soup With Bulgur, Kaeng Lieng (Thai Vegetable Soup With Shrimp) and Ash Reshteh (Persian Beans, Greens and Noodle Soup).

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