Pan-Crisped Deviled Eggs on French Lettuces

Ellen Silverman for The Splendid Table
Who would imagine browning deviled eggs to caramelize their edges and crisp their fillings? What a sensual turn with a hard-cooked egg.
 
We owe the idea to Jacques Pépin and his memoir, The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen. The inspiration comes from war-torn France and a recipe born of scarcity that Jacques' mother created during World War II, though you'd never know it when you pick up your fork.
 
This is the kind of double-edged story that we love to find in the things we eat.
 
Note: The eggs could be stuffed a day ahead and refrigerated until you are ready to sauté them.

Ingredients

Eggs:
 
  • 8 large eggs, hard-cooked and peeled
  • 1 scant teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons minced onion
  • 2-1/2 tight-packed tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, coarse chopped
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons milk
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons mayonnaise
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • Salt and fresh-ground black pepper
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons good-tasting extra-virgin olive oil

Dressing:

  • The leftover egg stuffing
  • 3 tablespoons good-tasting extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 generous teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2-1/2 tablespoons milk
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • Salt and fresh-ground black pepper

Salad:

  • 4 generous handfuls mixed greens, such as Bibb lettuce, mâche, and dandelion greens or frisée, washed and dried
Instructions

1. Cut the hard-cooked eggs in half lengthwise. Gently remove the yolks (fingers work best), and place them in a medium bowl. Reserve the whites.

2. Add the mustard, garlic, onion, parsley, milk, mayonnaise, and vinegar to the yolks. With a fork, crush everything together into a thick paste. Add salt and pepper to taste.

3. Pack the mixture back into the hollows of the egg whites, so the filling is even with the surface of the egg, not mounded. You will have leftover stuffing (this becomes the salad dressing).

4. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Gently place the eggs in the pan, stuffed side down. Cook until the eggs are beautifully browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper as they cook.

5. As the eggs sauté, combine in a large bowl the leftover egg stuffing with all the dressing ingredients. Add the salad greens to the bowl, and toss. Heap them on a serving platter.

6. Gently lift the eggs from the pan, turn them filling side up, set them on the greens, and serve.

From The Splendid Table's How to Eat Supper by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift, Clarkson Potter, 2008.

Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 
Serves 4 as a main dish; 6 as a first course
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