Deviled Eggs with Gruyère Cheese, Garnished with Dark Chocolate Shavings and Japanese Shiso Powder
I love deviled eggs and growing up our family and neighborhood parties were not the same without them. Having said that a lot of popular recipes are minor variations of each other and I wanted to do something different but stay true to what makes a great deviled egg.
When I begin work on a new recipe I will usually look at the main categories of ingredients, garnish, and plating in traditional or classic recipes. Most recipes for deviled eggs include an acid (e.g. vinegar), herb (e.g. chives), spice (e.g. mustard), seasoning (e.g. salt/pepper), a binding agent (e.g. mayo), plating (e.g. sliced in half, cut-side up, yolk replaced with filling), and garnish (e.g. paprika).
My next step is to consider as many possibilities as I can within each category, determine which ingredients are already in my pantry or fridge, or are readily available at nearby mainstream or specialty markets. I then begin to mix and match ingredients to see which combinations will work best together, and by work best, I mean that they either complement or contrast each other in the areas of color, shape, aroma, flavor, and texture.
While I would like to go into more detail about how I came to this combination I think a more important discussion is how I cook hard boiled eggs.
I’ve tried many different ways to cook the perfect hard boiled egg that peels cleanly, and where the yolk isn’t overcooked and surrounded by a greenish-gray outer layer: cold eggs in cold, cold eggs in hot, cook or steep for 10, 11, 12,…, 15 min, then cooked eggs in colander under cold running water or in bowl with cold running water or in ice bath or right into the fridge overnight. Needless to say, none of these really worked 100% every time, and to make things more difficult really fresh eggs are not considered good candidates for hard boiled eggs because the bond between the shell and the protein membrane between the whites/yolk and the shell is too strong.
…and it all happened by chance as well actually. While getting ready to make hard boiled eggs using fresh eggs I placed the carton on the counter next to the stove, got distracted and a couple hours later, came back to the task. The eggs were then at room temp. I decided to boil them anyway. I started the very fresh but room temp eggs in boiling water, boiled for 30 seconds then reduced to a light simmer for 12 minutes. (I had purchased a small bag of ice earlier in the day to chill a watermelon in a cooler and had a lot of leftover ice so I thought that if cold water is good then really cold water must be even better so I put a ton of ice in the ice bath; more ice than water actually.) As soon as the timer went off I put the cooked eggs into the heavily iced ice bath, set the timer again for 15 minutes then went and did something else. Fifteen minutes later, and to my amazement, the very first egg that I tried to peel came out very clean without any of the more normal (for me) and unsightly gouges. (Perhaps I need to add “5 lbs bag of ice” to my list of ingredients.)
Grove Ladder Farm’s egg layers are Rhode Island Red. The first photo below shows the birds in the pasture and the second photo shows the Reds dutifully lining up to lay their eggs.
- 6 farm fresh eggs at room temp (from Grove Ladder Farm here)
- 1 cup finely grated Gruyère cheese
- Water (for boiling the eggs)
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp sherry vinegar
- Kosher salt to taste
- Black pepper to taste
- 1 to 3 cubes of Dutch dark chocolate (shaved with a fine microplane for garnish)
- Minimum of 72% cacao; will be slightly bitter but a perfect pairing with the Gruyère cheese in this savory dish (garnish)
- Use as much or as little as you prefer
- 1 tsp Japanese shiso powder (garnish; from shiso grown in my garden, dried, then ground)
- You can replace with 1/2 tsp dried mint ground to a powder
For the less adventurous:
- Garnish with chopped chives and smoked paprika instead of the dark chocolate shavings and Japanese shiso powder.
- Prep the eggs and the pot for boiling:
- Take the eggs out of the fridge and place on the counter top, let them get to room temp (30 minutes to 1 hour).
- Place the eggs in a medium soup pot, add water to cover the eggs by at least one inch, remove the eggs; set both aside.
- Finely grate 1 cup of Gruyère cheese; set aside.
- Prepare an ice bath:
- Fill a medium to large bowl 3/4 of the way to the top with ice, add water to just cover the ice; set aside.
- Boiling the eggs:
- Bring the pot of water to a rapid boil, carefully add the eggs, boil for 30 seconds, reduce the heat to maintain a light simmer, cover and cook for 12 minutes for small eggs. (Add 30 seconds cooking time for every size you go up in the eggs, for example, 13 minutes and 30 seconds for extra large eggs.)
- Shocking the boiled eggs in the ice bath:
- Immediately after the prescribed cooking time has ended for the eggs use a slotted spoon to quickly move the eggs from the pot of simmering water to the ice bath.
- Leave the eggs in the ice bath for a minimum of 15 minutes, add more ice if necessary. The colder the water is the greater the likelihood that the cooked egg white will easily separate from the shell when peeled.
- Preparing the cooked/chilled eggs:
- One at a time, take an egg out of the ice water bath and gently tap all sides of the egg on the countertop or another hard surface, then starting with the rounder end of the egg peel the shell and thin membrane away from the egg under running water or in the ice bath.
- Store the shelled hard boiled eggs in the fridge until ready to make the deviled eggs.
- Using a very sharp paring knife slice the eggs in half lengthwise, wipe the knife clean with a clean paper towel after every cut.
- Carefully take out the egg yolk and place it in a microwave-proof bowl, place the halved egg cut side up on a plate or cutting board.
- After all the yolks have been removed and placed in the bowl, mash the yolks using a fork then add the grated Gruyère cheese, mustard, sherry vinegar, and a couple of turns of a black pepper mill (or to taste), mix well.
- The Gruyère cheese does contain salt, sometimes a lot of salt, so wait until your mixture is done then taste test to decide whether you need to add more salt or not.
- Place the bowl with the yolk and cheese mixture in a microwave and zap it on high for no more than 10 seconds, mix again then begin to form small balls just large enough to fit into the egg yolk cavity of the halved eggs.
- Gruyère is great for melting but you only want to soften the cheese; it will work as the binder and because I am not using mayo this filling is not suitable for a piping bag.
- Garnish with fine shavings of dark chocolate and a pinch of Japanese shiso powder.
- For a cleaner presentation move the garnished eggs to a clean serving platter.
- Your deviled eggs using Grove Ladder Farm eggs, and garnished with dark chocolate shavings and Japanese shiso are served!
- You may have guests that aren’t too adventurous when it comes to food so you may want to make another batch using the same filling but garnishing with the more traditional chopped chives and smoked paprika instead.
Deviled Eggs with Gruyère, Garnished with Dark Chocolate Shavings and Japanese Shiso Powder
This is part of a series of posts that are a collaboration between myself and Grove Ladder Farm, a small, family-run farm in Sarasota, Florida that specializes in pasture-raised, non-GMO, soy-free poultry for meat and eggs. I created recipes/dishes that featured their various products in order to provide them with photographs to use in their online and print marketing materials. The photos are used with their permission.