Regina Stadnik (www.reginastadnik.com) is an artist and graphic designer working on a series that commemorates recipes from her Ukrainian family. I bought a print from her entitled “Mom’s Deviled Eggs” and hung it in our dining room. I’ve been intrigued by these dressed-up eggs since my mother requested them for her ninetieth birthday lunch three years ago. Just as there are dishes for servings oysters, there are special serving plates with oval depressions to hold the filled eggs so they don’t slide around. I found a stack of these plates piled on the floor in a corner of a used cookware store near my house and bought two made from clear glass that were probably popular the last time deviled eggs were in fashion.
Regina told me that her mother followed a standard recipe for the eggs, mixing mayonnaise and mustard with the cooked yolks, and added a twist of her own: chopped walnuts.
This is my version of her recipe.
Deviled Eggs, with homage to Alla Stadnik, Regina’s mother
12 extra-large eggs
extra-virgin olive oil mayonnaise (recipe follows)
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, more to taste
2 ounces walnut pieces (½ cup by volume), lightly toasted and finely chopped
snipped chives for garnish
Hard boil the eggs:
Put the eggs in a pot that will hold them in one layer. Add enough cold water to cover the eggs. Cover the pot and bring the water to a boil over high heat. As soon as the water boils remove the pot from the burner, still covered. Let the eggs sit for 10 minutes, then drain them and run cold water in the pot to cool them. When the eggs are cool, peel them, cut them into halves lengthwise, and scoop the yolks into a medium bowl. Reserve the whites.
Make the mayonnaise:
2 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature
1 tablespoon (½ ounce) lemon juice
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 cup (8 ounces) delicate extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon (½ ounce) cool water
Put the egg yolks, lemon juice, salt, and 4 grindings of pepper in the small bowl of a food processor. With the motor running, drizzle the extra-virgin olive oil through the feed tube, starting with a few drops at a time and gradually increasing to a thin stream. The sound will change to a splat as the mayonnaise thickens. Add all the oil, then add the water.
Make the filling and assemble the eggs:
Mash the yolks with a pastry blender. Add the mayonnaise and mix with a fork, then add the mustard and walnuts. Taste for salt and pepper.
Mound the filling into the cooked egg white halves, distributing it evenly. Garnish with snipped chives.
Refrigerate if not serving immediately.