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lucy waverman

Deviled eggs are a natural snack for casual entertaining: they are inexpensive, simple to make and easy to eat without a plate.Jackie McCarten/Handout

For years, we celebrated New Year’s Day by going to the Deviled Egg Levee. Our friend Allison made hundreds of these eggs, which all disappeared almost instantly. Her party was the highlight of the holidays. Deviled eggs faded from the spotlight for awhile, but they are back with a vengeance. Call it the TikTok effect (#deviled eggs has more than 160 million views).

Their viral buzz is easy to decode: They are inexpensive, simple to make and easy to eat without a plate – a natural for cocktail parties or casual entertaining. The fillings – which can be simple or intricate – vary. Many cultures have their own versions using local ingredients, from kimchi to feta. You can pipe the filling prettily into the yolks, or slap them together with a spatula.

Inspired by Scotch eggs, I once created a recipe for deep-fried deviled eggs that I loved, as did my guests. I have since streamlined the recipe and developed an air-fryer version. Make them for your next cocktail party and watch the smiles as each egg disappears. As a side note, you can skip the frying part for a more traditional deviled egg.

Deep-Fried Deviled Eggs

Makes 12 pieces

These can be served as a first course with the cucumber salad (recipe following), or as an hors d’oeuvre without. The creamy filling is reminiscent of the famous Japanese egg sandos. If you are going to Japan, a terrific version of these iconic egg sandos is available at 7-11 stores all over the country.

6 eggs

2 tbsp mayonnaise

1 tbsp miso

2 tsp soy sauce

1 tsp rice wine vinegar

1 tsp chopped pickled ginger

1 green onion, finely chopped

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Coating

½ cup flour

2 eggs

1 cup (250 mL) panko breadcrumbs

Oil for deep frying

Garnish

5 sheets seaweed snacks thinly sliced or 2 tbsp (30 mL) chopped chives

Bring a pot of salted water to the boil. Gently add eggs. Boil for 10 minutes. Remove eggs from heat and immediately plunge into ice water to cool, then peel.

Cut peeled eggs in half lengthwise. Carefully scoop yolk into a small bowl, reserving whites on a plate. Mash yolks with a fork or grate with a microplane. Stir in mayonnaise, miso, soy sauce, rice vinegar, ginger and about 2 tbsp chopped green onion. Season well. Chill until ready to use.

Place flour and panko on separate plates. Season with salt and pepper. Beat eggs in a shallow bowl.

Heat about 2 inches of oil in a medium pot until temperature reads 350 F, or a cube of bread turns brown in 20 seconds. Coat the egg whites in flour, shaking off any excess, dip in egg and roll in panko. Slip into oil and fry for a couple of minutes until browned. Remove from oil with a slotted spoon and place on a rack. Let cool to room temperature.

Place yolk mixture in a piping bag and pipe filling into the fried whites, or spoon it in. Garnish with seaweed snacks or chopped chives. Serve at room temperature on the cucumber salad, if desired.

Air Fryer Version

These are not quite as evenly crisp, but they are very easy and a bit healthier.

Heat fryer to 390 F. Spray panko crusted egg whites with olive oil spray or brush lightly with oil. Place in air fryer for 6 minutes or until coating is crisp.

Cucumber Salad

Serves 6

1 seedless cucumber, thinly sliced (preferably using a mandolin)

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tsp rice vinegar

1 tsp sugar

½ tsp wasabi paste

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add cucumbers, return to a boil and then drain at once. Run cucumbers under cold water to stop the cooking and maintain the colour. Let cucumber sit in strainer for 30 minutes, then blot with paper towels to remove moisture. Place in a bowl.

Stir together soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar and wasabi in a bowl. Pour over cucumber and toss to coat.

Place cucumbers on a platter or divide between individual serving plates and top with eggs. Sprinkle with chives.

Tips

  • Hard-boiled eggs can be difficult to peel. Plunging them into ice water after boiling loosens the membrane around the white, making it easier to remove the shell cleanly.
  • Older eggs peel better than fresh ones.
  • Use large eggs – they make the perfect bite-sized treat.
  • If you don’t have a piping bag, you can make one by cutting a small hole in the corner of a sandwich bag.
  • To make ahead, boil the eggs 3 days ahead of time and keep refrigerated. Separate the yolks and whites the day before and make the yolk mixture. Deep fry the egg whites 3 hours before needed and keep in a cool place.
  • Once deep-fried, the egg whites should remain at room temperature or the coating slips off.

Need some advice about kitchen life and entertaining? Send your questions to lwaverman@globeandmail.com.

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