I’ve tried variations on deviled eggs over the years, with bacon, pickles, hot peppers, pimento cheese, but this is hands down the best deviled egg recipe I’ve ever tried. This recipe takes classic deviled eggs on a trip to Basque Country. A California version of Piment d’Espelette, Piment d’Ville, gives them a unique subtle heat while the smoked salmon gives umami and a rich depth of flavor. Take these to your next soirée and you’ll be fighting off the recipe requests.
I LOVE deviled eggs. Grown-up in Ohio pretty much every potluck, picnic or major holiday had deviled eggs. As iconic as they are to American gatherings though the roots of the modern deviled egg can be traced back to Ancient Rome. Romans served boiled eggs seasoned with spices and sauces at the beginning of meals. The term “deviled” first started appearing in the 1800s in Europe. Never-the-less American cookbook author, Fanny Farmer, is credited with first using of mayonnaise in deviled eggs in 1896.
One of the key ingredients in this recipe is a Basque pepper called Piment d’Espelette. The iconic red pepper is such a staple in Basque cuisine that they call it the third spice: salt, pepper and Piment d’Espelette. It has a lovely heat that slowly builds but never gets overwhelming. The flavor is like a cross between paprika and cayenne but more complex. Normally this famous pepper would be an import but luckily there is Piment d’Ville, a version grown and harvested by hand in California. A chef at Table 128 was using the famous French ingredient and insisted on growing it in the restaurant garden. The peppers are grown with traditional farming methods in Booneville, CA. Because they are local (to the US) they are also fresher tasting!
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