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PHOTO: Hali Bey Ramdene
At some point, certain recipes begin to feel like they’ve maxed out on interpretations. That’s how I’ve been feeling about deviled eggs. The classic is so good, and some of the rifts on it have made it even better. So what else is left to do? Turns out, the answer is a simple one. But simple with a twist.
That’s how I ended up at the stove warming a few cloves of crushed garlic, thyme sprigs and fresh cracked pepper in a shallow pool of olive oil until it shimmered. Once the scent of thyme clouded the air, I pulled the oil off the heat and drizzled it over still warm hard-boiled eggs. The yolks and whites were bathed in the fragrant oil and turned this classic finger food into a full-on fork-and-knife affair. Next to a dressed salad, this became a meal I’d happily serve friends.
The oil itself is open to interpretation: Add the spices and herbs you’re craving, but be gentle with the amount of heat. You want to warm the oil so the flavors of the seasonings can sink in. A black pepper-thyme combo is my favorite as the weather begins to transition from winter into spring. As the days continue to warm up, a frizzled basil leaf and lemon zest may come into play.
- 6 large eggs, room temperature
- 1/4 cup good-quality olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed
- 2 sprigs thyme, snipped into 3-inch pieces
- 1/2 tsp. fresh cracked black pepper
- 1/4 tsp. red chile flakes
Bring a pot of water to boiling. Gently add eggs, and boil for 1 minute. Reduce heat to low, and cook for 10 minutes for creamy yolks or 12 minutes for firm yolks. Drain eggs and immediately plunge into cold ice water. Let the eggs stand in the ice water 10 minutes or until cool enough to handle. They will still be fairly warm. Peel the eggs and slice them in half lengthwise with a very sharp knife. Lightly wet the knife between slicing for the cleanest cut.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine oil, garlic, thyme and black pepper. Cook over medium-low heat until the oil begins to shimmer and the garlic is fragrant. Don’t brown the garlic. Remove the oil from the heat, and add red chile flakes. Drizzle the warm oil over the eggs. Season with salt to taste. Serve immediately.