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Deviled eggs with smoked fish

Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Yields Makes 24 deviled eggs
Deviled eggs with smoked fish
(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.

Garlic aioli

1

In a blender, beat together the mustard, egg yolks and garlic. Slowly drizzle in the canola oil until emulsified, adding ice water if needed to thin the mixture and keep it cool. Beat in lemon juice to taste, then slowly beat in the olive oil. Season with ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste. Pass the mixture through a fine strainer, discarding any garlic solids. This makes about 2 cups aioli, which will keep, covered and refrigerated, up to 1 week.

Deviled eggs

1

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together the egg yolks, Dijon mustard, mustard powder, lemon juice and aioli until smooth. Pass the mixture through a very fine strainer into a bowl. Fold in the horseradish, whole grain mustard and parsley. Season with ¼ teaspoon salt and a pinch of pepper, or to taste. This makes about 1 ¾ cups yolk mixture.

2

Prepare the garnishes: Very finely slice the radishes and set aside. In a small bowl, toss the chives with a little rice wine vinegar and olive oil to coat.

3

To prepare the eggs, fill the cavity of each egg white with yolk mixture. Top with flaked smoked fish, a radish slice and a sprinkling of chives.

Adapted from a recipe by chef Govind Armstrong of Post & Beam restaurant.. Armstrong makes his own smoked catfish but recommends substituting store-bought or made smoked trout, salmon or shrimp. He also makes his own garlic aioli but you can substitute any good, whole egg mayonnaise. 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.