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Deviled eggs with croutons and pickled mustard seed

Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Yields Makes 24 deviled eggs
Deviled eggs with croutons and pickled mustard seed
(Calvin B. Alagot / Los Angeles Times)
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If there aren’t any deviled eggs at a cocktail party, did the party really happen? I have a friend who is adamant that a celebration is not a celebration without a platter of deviled eggs. And she isn’t the only one. Deviled eggs make an appearance on restaurant menus all over the city; and they’ve been associated with cocktail parties and celebrations since post-World War II America.

Modern iterations of the dish have come a long way from those made in the 1940s, which mostly consisted of mayonnaise, paprika and mustard. Chef Sam Jung puts pickled mustard seeds and crunchy croutons on the deviled eggs at Church & State in downtown L.A. There’s gochujang paste and kimchi juice in the eggs at Faith & Flower, another downtown restaurant. And at Barbara Jean in Fairfax, chef Jason Fullilove spikes his deviled eggs with yuzu-kosho, then tops them with uni.

Just think of the deviled egg as a perfectly composed dish: bite-sized flavor bombs that offer a study in both texture and balance. The acid component — often from vinegar, mustard or lemon — should pop. The texture, smoothed by an aioli or mayonnaise, should be silky and luxurious. And the garnish — which can vary from sprigs of dill to crumbled chicharrones, a quenelle of caviar or a sprinkle of Everything Bagel spice — should tie all the flavors together while riffing further on the textures of the dish.

Because any party you throw should be a celebration, particularly one thrown on the last night of the year, here are 12 different ways to make deviled eggs — with recipes from chefs Daniel Patterson (Alta), Govind Armstrong (Post & Beam), Roy Choi (Commissary), April Bloomfield (Hearth & Hound), Josef Centeno (Bar Amá) and more.

How long you boil your eggs — and whether you use an immersion blender, or good old-fashioned elbow grease to make your own aioli — is up to you. Some eggs call for garlic aioli, others require a little Kewpie mayonnaise. Some require a dash of Tabasco sauce, while others favor a couple splashes of Champagne vinegar. Whatever you decide, just be sure you make enough for everyone.

Aioli

1

In a blender, combine the egg yolk, mustard, Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar and lemon juice. With the blender running, slowly drizzle in the grapeseed oil to form an emulsion. Season with ¾ teaspoon salt, or to taste. If desired, thin with a little water as needed. This makes a scant 2 cups aioli, which will keep, covered and refrigerated, up to 1 week.

Croutons

1

Remove the crust from the bread and cut it into 1/4-inch cubes. Place the cubes in a bowl and toss with 2 teaspoons olive oil, or enough to lightly coat, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Toast the cubes in a skillet over low heat until golden-brown, 15 to 20 minutes, shaking frequently to prevent burning.

Pickled mustard seed

1

Bring a small saucepan of water to the boil. Add the mustard seeds and blanch. Drain, discarding the water. Repeat, blanching the seeds twice more. Drain and place the seeds in a glass bowl.

2

Make a spice sachet: Combine the coriander, cardamom, pepper, juniper, bay leaf and thyme in a coffee filter or cheesecloth, tying the sachet shut with butcher’s twine so the spices don’t escape.

3

In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar and water, along with the sachet and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and pour the vinegar mixture and sachet over the seeds. Set aside until cooled. Cover and refrigerate the pickled seeds until ready to use. Strain before using.

Deviled mustard seed

1

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the egg yolks, aioli, mustard, crème fraîche, salt, smoked paprika, sherry vinegar and chives. Taste and adjust the flavorings or seasoning as desired. Place the yolk mixture in a piping bag.

2

Pipe the yolk mixture into the cavity of each egg white. Garnish each with a sprinkling of bacon and croutons, along with ¼ teaspoon pickled mustard seeds. Finally, garnish each egg with a dash of smoked paprika.

Adapted from a recipe by chef Sam Jung of Church & State. Although many recipes, such as the aioli, call for raw egg yolks, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that diners — especially children, seniors, pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems — avoid eating them.