Cooking Creole: Deviled eggs and their alternate name for church functions (2024)

  • Marcelle Bienvenu, | The Times-Picayune
  • 3 min to read


Deviled eggs garnished with capers and paprika, served on a glass deviled-egg plate.

(The / Times-Picayune archive)

"Why are deviled eggs called that?"

The questions was raised by my 10-year-old niece while she and I were making a couple of dozen for a recent family gathering.

I happened to have the answer. The term dates to the 19th century, and it was used to refer to foods that were spicy or zesty with the addition of mustard or pepper. In some regions of the South and the Midwest, deviled eggs are also called salad or dressed eggs when they are served at a church function, to avoid the term "deviled."

Deviled eggs have been a popular picnic offering as well as being a standard item in what has become known, especially in the South, as "funeral food."

The traditional or classic deviled egg is stuffed with finely mashed hard-boiled egg yolks bound with mayonnaise, but through the years, the deviled egg has been adapted continuously to reflect customs and cravings of the changing food trends.

For example, in the 1940s, eggs were typically dusted with paprika. In the 1960s, James Beard garnished his eggs extravagantly with caviar. Fresh dill was a popular garnish in the 1970s. In the early 1990s, I remember having wasabi deviled eggs.

And just recently, chef Sean Brock at the celebrated restaurant Husk in Charleston presented diners with deviled eggs topped with pickled okra and trout roe.

I noticed my niece didn't seem to be so intrigued by all of this: P probably way too much information. But when I pulled out my collection of deviled egg plates, her interest was rekindled.

"I've never seen a dish like this before," she said.

My collection includes two vintage milk glass platters, three clear glass ones, a Christmas-themed one and one orange/red platter featuring tiny chickens. One that I retrieved from Mama's house after it burned is cracked, but I can't seem to part with it. It's the one she used at Easter, and she always made a bed of fresh parsley sprigs from her garden on this particular one.

With more warm weather ahead, I plan to make lots of chilled deviled eggs to offer during the co*cktail hour, since another niece has been bringing me two dozen of her yard eggs just about every week.

This first recipe I adapted from one by Julia Reed, one of my favorite Southern writers and a great Southern foodie. The addition of the butter gives the egg yolk stuffing a nice texture. To add MY touch to it, I garnish the eggs with a tiny dab of pesto made with my homegrown sweet basil.

Julia Reed's Deviled Eggs

Makes 24

1 dozen eggs

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup Dijon mustard

4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pesto for garnish (recipe follows)

Place the eggs in a saucepan large enough to hold them in a single layer and cover with tap water. Bring to a boil, cover, turn off the heat and let sit for 15 minutes. Drain and run under cold water until the eggs are completely cool.

Peel eggs and cut in half lengthwise. Remove the yolks and rub through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl. Add the mayonnaise, mustard and butter; mix until smooth. Stir in the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Place in a pastry bag or Ziploc bag with a cut-off corner. Fill the egg whites by pressing the bag. Garnish each with a small dab of pesto.

Garden Pesto

Makes 2 cups

3 cups fresh basil (tightly packed), gently rinsed and patted dry

5 cloves garlic

1/2 cup toasted pine nuts (or walnuts or pecans)

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese

2/3 cup virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a food processor, combine the basil and garlic and pulse two to three times to chop. Add the nuts and cheeses, and pulse once or twice. Slowly add the oil while the processor is running, and blend. Season with salt and pepper.

The mixture can be stored in the refrigerator in airtight containers (I use small sterilized jars) for several weeks. The pesto can also be tossed with pasta, spread on crostinis, and dabbed on thick slices of tomatoes.

When I really want to splurge, I make these lobster deviled eggs.

Lobster Deviled Eggs

Makes 24

12 large hard-boiled eggs, peeled

1/3 cup mayonnaise (or more to taste)

1 tablespoon Creole mustard

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Hot sauce to taste

3/4 cup finely chopped cooked lobster meat

Paprika for garnish

Snipped chives for garnish

Cut the eggs in half lengthwise. Remove the yolks. Combine the yolks, mayonnaise, mustard and lemon juice in a food processor and pulse to blend. Season with salt, pepper and hot sauce. Pulse once or twice to blend.

Combine the mixture in a bowl with the lobster meat and stir gently Spoon the mixture into the egg whites and garnish with paprika and snipped chives.

Crabmeat Deviled Eggs

Makes 16

8 jumbo hard-boiled eggs, peeled

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 tablespoon sour cream

2 teaspoons snipped chives

1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley leaves

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1/2 pound white crabmeat, picked over for shells and cartilage

Salt, freshly ground black pepper and hot sauce to taste

Cut the eggs in half lengthwise. Remove the yolks, put them in a bowl, and mash them with a fork. Add the mayonnaise, sour cream, chives, parsley, and lemon juice. Blend well. Fold in the crabmeat and season with salt, black pepper and hot sauce. (Add more mayonnaise if you like a moister mixture.)

Mound about 1 heaping tablespoon of the crabmeat mixture into the cavity of each egg white half. The eggs can be served immediately or stored in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Cooking Creole: Deviled eggs and their alternate name for church functions (1)

Love New Orleans food? Pull up a seat at the table. Join Where NOLA Eats, the hub for food and dining coverage in New Orleans.

Follow Where NOLA Eats on Instagram at @wherenolaeats, join the Where NOLA Eats Facebook group and subscribe to the free Where NOLA Eats biweekly newsletter here.

Cooking Creole: Deviled eggs and their alternate name for church functions (2024)


What are the different names for deviled eggs? ›

Deviled eggs, also known as stuffed eggs, curried eggs or dressed eggs, are hard-boiled eggs that have been peeled, cut in half, and filled with the yolk, mixed with other ingredients such as mayonnaise and mustard.

What are church lady deviled eggs? ›

Each half of an egg is filled pretty high with a smooth and creamy egg yolk mixture. Each deviled egg is then topped with a piece of bacon, smoked paprika, and chives. It's definitely a rich appetizer, but it's so good.

What did the Romans call deviled eggs? ›

For National Deviled Egg Day, we're taking it back to Ancient Rome…. where serving deviled eggs was often referred to as “ab ova usque ad mala.”

What culture do deviled eggs come from? ›

According to The History Channel, deviled eggs go all the way back to ancient Rome, where eggs were boiled, seasoned with spicy sauces, and then served at the beginning of meals. In the 13th century, stuffed eggs began to appear in the southern, Andalusian regions of Spain.

What are different eggs called? ›

Over easy, sunny side up, over hard - and that's before you get to poached scrambled or fried. Eggs can be cooked in many different ways, it's part of their beauty, and this infographic by Culinaut sets out a handful of the ways in which eggs can be cooked with explanations on what exactly each name means.

What are holy eggs? ›

The church prohibited the eating of eggs during Holy Week, but chickens continued to lay eggs during that week, and the notion of specially identifying those as Holy Week eggs brought about their decoration. The egg itself became a symbol of the Resurrection.

What did Katy Perry call deviled eggs? ›

“I wasn't able to say I was lucky, because my mother would rather us say that we were blessed, and she also didn't like that lucky sounded like Lucifer,” she told Rolling Stone in 2010. “Deviled eggs were called 'angeled' eggs. I wasn't allowed to eat Lucky Charms, but I think that was the sugar.

How many eggs do you offer in church? ›

By tradition, a dozen eggs (representing the twelve months of the year) is offered even if one wishes only for a day or two without rain."

What is a fun fact about deviled eggs? ›

If we rewind time, we find deviled eggs in ancient Rome, where boiled eggs flavored with spicy sauces were so commonly served as an appetizer that a Roman saying, “ab ovo usque ad mala,” meaning “from egg to apples,” referred to the expected bookends of a meal.

Are deviled eggs a southern thing? ›

Deviled eggs are a Southern tradition. Just what is it that makes deviled eggs Southern? Some insist it's the addition of sweet pickle relish. Other's point to the mayo—Duke's, specifically—the only choice for proper Southern cooks who like that hallmark creaminess and satisfying tang.

Are devilled eggs good for you? ›

Plus, eggs provide protein, vitamin D, folate, selenium, and lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that support healthy vision. And they're one of the best sources of choline, which is important for brain health. As a snack food, deviled eggs have an edge over many store-bought snacks: they're whole and unprocessed.

What is so devilish about deviled eggs? ›

"Deviled" goes back to the late 18th century as a way to refer to something that's spicy or grilled with spice. Deviled eggs are "deviled" because they're generally made with paprika and black pepper. We can also thank "deviled" for other mouth-watering dishes like deviled kidney and deviled bones.

Who invented devilled eggs? ›

Some believe that deviled eggs may have originated in ancient Rome, where eggs were often boiled and served with a spicy mustard sauce. Others think that deviled eggs may have originated in medieval Europe, where they were considered a luxurious and decadent snack.

Is it OK to eat deviled eggs? ›

Eggs are nutritious, and deviled eggs are obviously very suitable for a low carb or keto diet. This is actually one of those happy instances where a very palatable food is also good for you! But when you make them with standard mayonnaise, they're arguably not as healthy.

What is the name for a fried egg with a hard yolk? ›

Sunny side up: The egg is fried with the yolk up and is not flipped. Over easy: The egg is flipped and the yolk is still runny. Over medium: The egg is flipped and the yolk is only slightly runny. Over well: The egg is flipped and the yolk is cooked hard.

What are other names for cowboy eggs? ›

Names and appearances in pop culture

There are many names for the dish, including "bullseye eggs", "eggs in a frame", "egg in a hole", "eggs in a nest", "gashouse eggs", "gashouse special", "gasthaus eggs", "hole in one", "one-eyed Jack", "one-eyed Pete", "one-eyed Sam", "pirate's eye", and "popeye".

What do you call a hard boiled egg with a runny yolk? ›

Over Easy Eggs

The yolk remains a bit runny in an over easy egg.

What is an over hard egg called? ›

An over-hard egg is an over-easy egg whose yolk is completely cooked through. It starts as a fried egg that's cooked on one side, then flipped and cooked yolk-side down until the yolk is no longer runny. You can also order your eggs "over-medium" if you'd like it somewhere in the middle.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Prof. An Powlowski

Last Updated:

Views: 6389

Rating: 4.3 / 5 (44 voted)

Reviews: 83% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Prof. An Powlowski

Birthday: 1992-09-29

Address: Apt. 994 8891 Orval Hill, Brittnyburgh, AZ 41023-0398

Phone: +26417467956738

Job: District Marketing Strategist

Hobby: Embroidery, Bodybuilding, Motor sports, Amateur radio, Wood carving, Whittling, Air sports

Introduction: My name is Prof. An Powlowski, I am a charming, helpful, attractive, good, graceful, thoughtful, vast person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.