Deviled eggs are one of my favorite things to see on a buffet table at a party. So when I saw a picture on my friend's Facebook page of these cute little chicks, I knew I had to try them with a fabulous filling the next time I had a party to go to. We were invited to accompany some friends to a Memorial Day weekend party hosted by their friends who live on an absolutely breathtaking parcel of land near Narrowsburg, New York. I was slightly concerned that the level of sophistication of the party would be marred by my kitchy chicks, but people loved them. The conversation ranged from fracking and politics to fashion, and my chicks were just fine.
I needed to find some way to make them my own, so I got the idea of making the egg filling spicy hot. I've been hooked on harissa lately--using it to marinate meat and shrimp, and as an addition to yogurt sauces. Our friend from Tunisia made our last jar of harissa, and it's now gone. I'm going to have to learn how to make my own, and thankfully, the New York Times can help me do it.
The process of making these little guys was not easy, let me just say that. I fact, let me say it again: it was not easy to make these little chicks. If you try to do it, plan to make double the amount of eggs so that you have enough that work. For the next time, I have to find some way to make the hardboiled eggs so that the yolk doesn't end up too close to the edge of the egg making it impossible to pop out without breaking the side of the egg white. Someone suggested stirring the water as it begins to boil to ensure that the yolk stays in the center.
How to do it:
Chicks from Hell
Make your hardboiled eggs using this technique. When they are sufficiently boiled, pop them in ice water for a few hours, or in the fridge overnight. When you're ready to assemble them, get a sharp knife, two bowls, and cutting board. Take an egg and feel gently for where the yolk is. Slice 1/3 of the egg at the top and if you're lucky, the yolk will be right there to easily pop out. If not, you have to find some way to gently extract it. Pop all the yolks like this out into a bowl. If you break any of the egg white bodies, dump those dead ones in another bowl. You can make some egg salad on the side. When the yolks are all out, and the little hats are separated from the little bodies, you can make the filling.
Deviled egg filling
As many yolks as you have chick-bodies
salt & pepper
cilantro, basil, chive or whatever fresh herb you like best
about 2 scallions
You'll also need enough little eyes made of sliced black olives, and little noses made of little carrot wedges.
Mix together these ingredients to taste. Depending on the kind of harissa you have, you need to be very careful about how much you add. Remember, you can always give the filling more heat, it's impossible to take it away. And harissa kicks in after you bite it--make sure you account for the after-burn.
Once the filling is made to your satisfaction, begin assembling your chicks.
You need to slice a tiny sliver off the bottom of each egg so that it will be balanced enough to stand up straight on the plate. You can chuck those little slivers into the damaged chick-body bowl. Gently spoon some of the filling into the base of the body, then top with a mound. Place your eyes and noses on each chick, then top with the other 1/3 of the egg white.
Assemble on a fun tray, garnish if you wish, and serve. Since so many of my chick-bodies were disasters, I served them alongside a bowl of egg salad with crackers.