A platter of deviled eggs — the people-are-coming-over celebratory recipe, popular for generations — will most likely be the first dish to disappear from the holiday buffet table. At chef Jason Weiner’s house, this is definitely the case at hand come the holiday season.
“We’re kind of a deviled egg family,” proclaims Weiner, executive chef and proprietor of Almond in Bridgehampton and Palm Beach. “It’s a great catering item; it’s super simple, and what appeals to me is it’s just three ingredients.”
Weiner’s version of the flavorful, balanced bite not only shows up as a great bar snack on Almond’s menu but as a standard starter at many of the “Outstanding in the Field” events at which he’s become a veteran guest-chef: this January’s West Palm Beach event will be his 19th.
“I’ve worked with some amazing local producers at the Outstanding events, and they always have eggs,” says Weiner, “and who doesn’t love a deviled egg?”
Certainly not us. Start with the main component, which Weiner suggests to source locally.
“We get both chicken and duck eggs from Stones Throw Farm, Bridge Lane, or Amber Waves, but often in the Spring and Summer from people looking to offload their abundance from the raised chickens in their backyards,” explains Weiner of his “catch-as-catch-can” approach.
While letting the eggs sit out for a day or two on the kitchen counter might seem daring, Weiner insists the ambient temperature and “old school method” are essential. “In this recipe, you can’t use eggs that are too fresh,” he continues, “they will not peel well after boiling.”
Of that later technique, Weiner uses a dish towel to lower the eggs into the furiously boiling water, “basically allowing you to boil them as hard as you can without busting the yolks or the egg,” he explains. “Everyone has their way when it comes to hard-boiling eggs,” says Weiner” “and there’s quite a few methods out there. Dropping them wrapped in the towel into boiling water seizes up the whites nicely but keeps the yolk. That’s how we do it.”
To create the swirls of yolks mixed with mayonnaise and Dijon mustard into each halved egg, squeezing it out of a ziplock bag with a jagged hole-cut corner won’t do. “It may work in a pinch,” says Weiner, but it’s so not fun, and it’s just a mess.” To have your New Year’s Day brunch guests arriving and noticing your perfectly presented deviled eggs, Weiner has only one answer, “get a pastry bag with a star tip.”
It’s a practice-makes-perfect approach and it may take some effort. Pro tips from Weiner: Avoid too much height when filling the whites, and don’t pull away too fast after piping. But for the chef, the pastry bag method isn’t solely about tidier technique and aesthetics — he really thinks the extra texture the star tip provides adds to the overall taste, too. “The little bit of cut from the star tip, that little bit of texture,” he says, “interacts in a way that affects the flavor.”
Chef Jason Weiner’s deviled eggs
- 6 large eggs (preferably nice ones laid by a chicken nearby!), left on the counter for a day
- 2 to 3 tbsp mayonnaise
- 1 to 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
- smoked paprika and chives for garnishing