Alex Guarnaschelli's Tips for Perfect Deviled Eggs, and Other Easter Entertaining Ideas
You’ll never think of dried ginger the same way again.
Like many who celebrate Easter, chef Alex Guarnaschelli remembers dying eggs when she was little, admiring how they ended up resembling candy with their bright, festive colors. Looking back, however, she notes that once you broke into the egg, it was still just an egg—all the work had gone into dressing up the shell.
“[It’s] kind of like when you haven’t taken a shower, but you’re wearing a great dress,” she jokes.
Now, Guarnaschelli also devils her eggs for the holiday, as a way to ramp up the inside. Her mother used to make them periodically when she was a kid, often in the spring and frequently around Easter. While every family has their own “deviled egg language,” she notes, Guarnaschelli’s mother had an unusual trick—folding whipped cream into the egg mixture to make it fluffy and light. It’s a tip she still stands by today, even including it in a “Fiery Bacon Deviled Eggs” recipe she recently developed for McCormick. Nearly 61 percent of Americans plan on making and/or eating deviled eggs this Easter, according to a company survey, so we chatted with Guarnaschelli about more of her tips for making next-level deviled eggs, as well as all things Easter dining—check out what she had to say below.
Cook them just right
“In my recipe, you bring eggs up to a boil in cold water, you shut the heat off, cover them for 10 minutes, and then you drain,” Guarnaschelli says. “And then you rinse and peel. I find for a classic large egg that you get at the supermarket, that’s a pretty good timeframe. Because you don’t want to overcook the egg, obviously, right? But undercooking is another issue—the dirty dark secret of deviled eggs is that you can also undercook the eggs. And you get that almost half soft-boiled yolk, and that’s not right either.”
Think outside the box
Some of the less traditional ingredients Guarnaschelli loves to put in her deviled eggs includes dried ginger and mustard—a combination she says has a lot of "horsepower"—as well as Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce. “People don’t think of dried ginger. It’s got a little bit of heat, almost like a cousin of wasabi to me,” she says. “When it’s combined with mustard, there’s something about that combination with the yolk of an egg that’s just fantastic. And the mix is almost too flavorful when you make it. You know, you crush the eggs with a fork and you mix in the mayonnaise and all the other stuff, and it’s almost got borderline too much horsepower. And then the whipped cream kind of just smoothes the texture, the edges out. So that’s really important, a great filling.”
Courtesy of McCormick.
Don’t forget the whites
Guarnaschelli also says she likes to spice-dust her egg whites. “And then a little bit of scallions, right on the whites with a pinch of salt,” she added. “Then you add the fluffy, whipped cream-y filling, and top it with more scallions and bacon. The white is often neglected in a deviled egg. We put so much into the yolk that no one thinks, ‘oh, I should probably pop a little bit of seasoning on the white.’ So that’s my other big tip.”
It’s all about texture
“One thing that I really love is crushed up potato chips. I’ve crushed chips up and dipped the bottom of the white in the chips,” she says. “Think about when you put an egg in your mouth. The first thing that hits your tongue is the white, not the yolk, right? The yolk is on the roof of your mouth. So if there’s crunchy chips on the underside, that’s almost more dramatic than a tasty topping that’s actually on top.”
More Easter entertaining tips
In addition to deviled eggs, Guarnaschelli’s ideal Easter menu also needs to have asparagus—it’s the one item she absolutely has to have at her table, she says. (And before you ask, lamb doesn’t make the cut.) She’d ideally start off with a chilled or grilled asparagus appetizer, or asparagus soup, followed by a roast chicken with butter and tarragon under the skin—it’s spring after all, so it’s the perfect time to take advantage of fresh herbs.
“At Easter, I know there’s going to be the beginning of great asparagus somewhere, and sugar snap peas or pea flowers, or pea shoots,” she says. “I think there needs to be something really green that celebrates the beginning of spring. For me, that’s mandatory. I know it’s kind of funny because you say, ‘what do you have to have at your table,’ and people say ‘a giant cake,' or 'a prime rib.’ I know it’s kind of weird to pick vegetables, but for me that really signals the beginning of spring.”
For sweet treats, Guarnaschelli believes Easter desserts should have an element of whimsy to them. She might do a little platter of chocolate truffles—she likes candy—or, a yellow cake with chocolate ganache frosting and chocolate truffles on top. Drinks-wise, she loves a good French 75 (gin, Champagne, lemon juice, and sugar), and whiskey sours, which she says pairs great with the deviled eggs. But she’s most likely to go with wine for the holiday rather than pairing the meal with cocktails, since it’s such a big spread.
“And of course you can always sign me up for an Aperol spritz,” she says.