Fresh little Araucana eggs from Iowa. I placed a “special order” with friends of mine who raise show chickens. They also just happen to live in the same town as Murray McMurray Hatchery, which specializes in rare chicken breeds. (rumor has it that’s where Martha Stewart buys her chickens. I’ll need to confirm that with her ; ) My plan was to make “fancy” deviled eggs with these itty bitty gems.
So first lesson learned, it’s easiest to find farm eggs when the daylight hours are longer. Most likely that’s why deviled eggs traditionally show up on summer picnic tables more often than Holiday buffets.
Many cruisers agree that it’s well worth your time to search out fresh farm eggs for long passages. The key is to be sure they have never been washed or refrigerated. Eggshells have a “bloom,” a natural coating that protects the egg from bacteria. So don’t wash them until they’re ready to be cooked. Farm eggs typically have a thicker shell than store-bought eggs which also helps seal and preserve them. Kept in plastic egg containers in a cool, dry place (not refrigerated) they can last up to 2-3 months. The only maintenance is to rotate them every 3-4 days to keep the yolks from sinking and sticking to the shell. (although some sailors claim the movements of the sailboat does the trick as well.)
Good chance most galley pirates will not be able to get their hands on itty bitty Bantam eggs, so I’ve adapted the following recipe to be used with regular chicken eggs.
Fish & Fowl Deviled Eggs
1/2 Cup Mayonnaise
1 tablespoon White Balsamic Vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1 tablespoon minced shallots
1/2 teaspoon hot curry powder
1/2 teaspoon regular or smoked paprika
Red and/or Black caviar or capers to top
Place your eggs gently in a 4 quart sauce pan, fill with water to cover the eggs. Light your burner, place your sauce pan on medium flame, cover, and let come to a gentle boil. Boil for 7 minutes, drain, then “shock” the eggs by running them under cold water. Let cool.
While they are boiling and cooling mince the shallots.
Once cool enough to handle, gently peel the eggs. (Note: it’s generally known, and scientifically proven, that the fresher the eggs the harder they are to peel. The whites stick to the shell. So it might be best to save the “fresh out of the chicken” eggs for a dish other than hard boiled.) Cut them in half lengthwise and pop out the yolks into a bowl. Set egg whites aside.
Mash the egg yolks, then add the rest of the ingredients. Stir until smooth. Fill the egg whites with the yolk filling and top with a tiny spoonful of caviar. (or capers) These are wonderful without the additional of caviar as well.
Because of the smoked paprika, the yolk filling tends to be darker than traditional deviled eggs. Not to worry. The smoked paprika adds a richness that compliments the caviar and well worth changing the color of the yolks to a deeper orange.
The Araucanas from Iowa will never know their eggs made it all the way to the Chesapeake Bay for a late afternoon champagne treat. The Skipper and I had our nibblies along with a pomegranate…which apparently must be in season somewhere given the amount of pomegranates in the produce section of the grocery store.
Now if I could just figure out how you actually eat a pomegranate. There must be a website for Pomegranate Best Practices somewhere. Help!