Monday, March 19, 2012

Stuffed eggs

Stuffed eggs were always popular in Russia hence its preparation simplicity and versatility, visual appeal and great cost-to-value ratio.

What it is
It's boiled eggs, cut in half (cross-wise or length-wise). Yolks them removed, mixed with various other ingredients and then stuffed back into whites. There is just one ingredient that must - it's mayoneise. Stirred with egg yolks, it's creat very smooth and tasty paste that I think can't be recreated with any other sauce or dressing.

How it's served
In Russia, it was always served as cold appetizer, usually nicely garnished with ingredients mixed in yolk stuffing. Recently I come accross stuffed (devils) eggs served warm and I really like it - right before serving eggs, sprinkled with buttered bread crumbs, are put in oven for 10-15 minutes and come out of it with really great crust that delightfully is in contrast with smooth filling.

Oh, yes, it is great as finger food at cocktail parties or as a great accompaniment for a nice red or white wine.

Some side comments
I could safely say that at about 90% of all get-together parties we serve devils eggs because it is basically fail-proof and loved by everybody. Interestingly that I can't recall making devils eggs just for ourselves, for breakfast for example. It's always being party food for me.

How to store it
Depending on ingredients used for filling, it may be stored up to 5 days in a fridge. Although it is never there for this long. Most often it's 2 or 3 left and gone from the fridge the very next morning.

Variations for filling are endless. Sometimes I like to make it as simple as just adding green onion, salt and mayo to the yolks. Sometimes it's as fancy as adding crab meat, smoked salmon (do not forget mayo!) and topped with red caviar. Here is some ingredient combinations that, along with mayonnaise, can be used for filling:
- chopped mushrooms fried with or without onion
- fired (caramelized) onion
- any smoked fish, chopped
- your favorite herbs (I like fresh dill, but you can use parsley, basil, cilantro)
- tiny canned shrimps
- herring and a bit of raw sweet onion
- cooked and finely chopped chicken or beef liver
- any kind of cooked meat, finely chopped
- and so on...
 Below is anchovy stuffed eggs recipe I was making this weekend.


- If you have hard time peeling an egg - try to do this under the running water.
- Also you can make peeling easier by putting pot with cooked eggs right away under the running cold water for about a minute. Then drain water a bit and shake eggs nicely to crack them and let a little water to penetrate under the shell. Then peel it up!
- To get perfectly shaped hard boiled egg, before putting eggs in a pot with cold water, poke round end of egg (that's the end where air pocket is) with a needle to create a tiny hole. You eggs won't break then during cooking and its shape will be perfect oval with no dents.


To serve for a company:

7 eggs
11 anchovies
4 tbs mayonnaise 
5 green onions
black pepper to taste

- Hard boil eggs (see tips above)
- Peel eggs and cut them in half.
- Remove egg yolks into a mixing bowl.
- With a fork, smash yolks into fine crumbs.
- To the yolks, add very finely chopped anchovies, mayo, black pepper and chopped green onion (reserve a little chopped onion for garnishing)
- Fill egg whites with mix. It's up to you if want it carelessly piled up or create smooth and perfect "hill" on top of whites. I like it "free and messy" :).
- Sprinkle reserved green onion on top or free up your imagination for more sophisticated garnishing with pouring sauces on top, or sprinkling with whatever you want, or sticking whatever you want, or creating bed from whatever you want and placing eggs on top of it. As a rule of thumb - it's better to use your stuffing ingredients for this.
- Cover with plastic wrap, pop in a fridge and let it wait for you guests coming up!

I like to use plain table knife for sliding filling with my finger right into the whites. Do you see my money-tree reflection on the knife? Cute isn't it. I just apologize for quality of this picture - first of all, I still didn't get my camera from repair and was making pics with my phone camera; and secondly, I probably smudged camera lenses with my "cooking" fingers  - so.. double-trouble.  I cleaned lenses after this and next pictures are better :)

For my crowd, I used not 7 but 9 eggs. If you have counted - one half was stolen and, sadly, did not make it to the table.

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