Welcome to our regular recipe column from teacher and stand-up comedian Sarah Whitmore. This time around, she shares what’s up with making Basque or wasabi deviled eggs from your backyard chickens. No bragging allowed.
If you’ve ever raised chickens from adorable chicks to full-fledged hens, you understand what it is to be taken advantage of—you know the meaning of the word “grifter.” The backyard chicken is the Bernie Madoff of pets—these birds run a classic manipulation scheme.
It starts when someone at a farmers’ market leans over your shoulder and says, “Whoa, those organic, pasture-raised eggs are expensive! I get mine for free—right in my backyard.”
Listen, Flax-Pants, that’s when you run—and you keep running all the way to your top-tier-federal-tax-credit-eligible electric car. Pump your arms hard and don’t look back! Not even when you hear the screams of vendors, “Hey, you forgot your tote bags full of produce!”
Backyard chickens own their humans. The little hustlers promise loads of tasty, healthful eggs. In return, all they want is 97 percent of your time, money, and attention. What the chiselers mostly deliver: a plague-level quantity of flies, pre-dawn cacophony, and crap—literal crap.
This and they don’t even lay eggs for six months. When, at last, they deign to produce an egg, they are just as likely to eat it themselves or deposit it atop a wasp nest than let you have it.
And what makes you think those eggs are for you? A majority of “your” eggs belong to the annoyed lady next door (see county ordinance #NFART3793—Neighbors with Fowl Adjacent Resentments Tax).
But who can resist fluffy chicks? Blazing cute—for about seven seconds. Nine days after you’ve invested in their $1,715.31 Incu-Sauna™ they outgrow it and enter the awkward phase I call, the-scaly-branch-wearing-a-fur-hat period. This is followed by the full-grown-fraudster phase. You will now spend $2,476.03 on a Hen Chalet™. This penultimate period lasts years—right up to your chicken’s sunset moment.
I call this final event, the stew-of-ropey-meats. Unlike mild, supermarket chicken your own chicken will offer a pungent, unyielding tangle of protein-rich cable cordage—a twine well-suited for lanyard braiding. But you can eat it.
(Can something be too local? Asking for a friend.)
The worst thing about raising chickens is not their scaly ankles and calm, homicidal-maniac gaze, IT’S THE EGGS! Once you get used to those delicious POTUS-level orange yolks, store-bought eggs—even organic—will never compare. Everything you cook with homegrown eggs will taste amazing.
My Basque mother was captain of deviled eggs. Hers were a perfect balance of salty/creamy/spicy. They were the jewel in my school lunches. The first time I saw a classmate pull a plain, boiled egg out of her lunch box and eat it, I was like, what are you, a snake? Sad.
A great batch of deviled eggs can be made with horseradish, mustard, and mayo. But if you want to be fancy—and you do—here are two special recipes for showing off at an early fall picnic.
Annette’s Basque Deviled Eggs
- 1 dozen eggs
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons roasted red peppers, drained (jar is fine)
- 1 tablespoon sun-dried tomatoes (preserved in oil, drained)
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon, aged sheep cheese, like Manchego (reserve 1 teaspoon for garnish)
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon good olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon chopped anchovies or anchovy paste
- 1/2 teaspoon horseradish
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon Piment d’Espellette OR
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
- Salt to taste
- 24 capers for garnish
- Optional: fresh red pepper for garnish
Wasabi-Lovers Deviled Eggs
- 1 dozen eggs
- 4 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1/8 cup chives (save 12 spears for garnish)
- 2 teaspoons unseasoned rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Wasabi paste
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds, for garnish
- Pinch to 1/4 teaspoon Asian hot mustard powder (English mustard is less flavorful.)
- Pinch to 1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Pickled ginger for garnish
Directions for both recipes:
- Boil a dozen eggs.
- Neatly slice cooled, peeled eggs in half.
- Remove yolks and place in a food processor.
- Add remaining ingredients to the yolk—NOT THE SESAME SEEDS, CAPERS OR PICKLED GINGER! THAT’S YOUR GARNISH, DON’T SMASH.
- Pulse yolk mix until creamy.
- Snip a tiny hole in the corner of a clean plastic bag—for piping.
- Fill bag with either mix.
- Pipe into egg halves.
- Add garnish.
Garnish for Annette’s Basque Deviled Eggs:
- Place 1-3 capers on each egg.
- Sprinkle paprika over plated eggs.
Garnish for Wasabi Lovers Deviled Eggs:
- Toast sesame seeds in a skillet until dark brown.
- Chop 8-12 chives into tiny, diagonal pieces, like little green diamonds.
- Sprinkle seeds and chives over eggs.
- Cut or tear small pieces of pickled ginger and place on top or beside each egg.
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