The Egyptian nut and spice blend dukkah flavors these über-creamy deviled duck eggs with toasted cumin, coriander and fennel seed sharpened with lemon and cayenne.
This is a very special post because it’s dedicated to a super special lady: Emily of The Pig and Quill, in honor of her pending new addition. Congratulations, lady!!! I had the pleasure of meeting Emily for brunch last fall and was instantly hooked on her good vibes and generosity of spirit. I know she’ll make a terrific mama and I couldn’t be more excited for her little piglet. For her virtual baby shower today, bloggers all over are converging on party foods to eat with our eyes.
Since Emily is the master of infusing comforting classics with world flavors (how badly do we all want a trough of these Greek sweet potato fries with curried tzatziki??) I added a North African twist to the classic nosh that has graced cocktail parties for decades.
Duck eggs are particularly good devilers due to their big, fat yolks. I first tried them at Alembic soon after it had opened when my friend Amelia and I would stop by for a drink (usually a Mediterranean Homesick Blues for me) after work. They were a steal at a dollar apiece and when they finally came off of the menu, I vowed to make them myself.
It only took me six years. But hey, better late than never, right?
This recipe takes inspiration from The Perfect Egg, a brand-spanking-new book by the duo at Spoon Fork Bacon, Teri and Jenny. I was lucky enough to attend a bloggerly brunch at the picturesque Williams-Sonoma headquarters with Sarah, Ana and Pang where we got to watch Teri and Jenny demonstrate a few of the dishes from the book and then proceed to gorge ourselves on Brick Toast, Mini Toad-in-a-Hole Sandwiches, and Sabayon with fresh berries. The book brims with stunning picture after stunning picture of sweet and savory dishes all featuring eggs, including several deviled egg variations, each sounding more delectable than the last. Other recipes I’ve got my eye on are the Okonomiyaki, Avgolemono, and Spicy Chocolate Mousse. (Also, all of them!)
But first up were deviled eggs.
Deviled eggs are admittedly a bit of a pain. Eggs are boiled, peeled, scooped, whipped with goodies, and then shoveled back into their whites. I realized halfway through the peeling process that I’ve never posted a deviled egg recipe on this site and was more than tempted to just throw the little buggers in a bowl and call it dukkah duck egg salad. But there’s something special about serving up those billowy yolks in their own vessels that makes all that effort well worth the adorable outcome.
Usual deviled egg suspects can include onion, pickles, mustard, and paprika in addition to mayonnaise, but I keep the flavorings to a minimum to let the dukkah take center stage, adding just a bit of lemon zest and juice and a bit of cayenne to sharpen the flavors. The tangy acidity of lemon juice and zest creates layers of flavor along with a host of toasted spices: cumin, coriander, fennel seed, pepper, and toasted pistachios.
A few do’s and don’ts of deviled eggs that I’ve picked up along the way:
-Do yourself a favor and use eggs that are at least week old; they’ll be easier to peel and won’t make you hate life.
-Don’t slice the eggs with a serrated knife unless you want wavy textured whites. They don’t look pretty.
-Don’t try to cut corners on the mayo. It has a bad rap, but it’s really just emulsified oil. I’ve tried making deviled eggs with yogurt and it just isn’t the same. Mayo haters, suck it up.
-Puree the yolks in a food processor or work them through a mesh strainer for a silky smooth filling. Mashing will never get it quite as smooth as you want, though it will work in a pinch.
-Add enough acidity to counter the richness of all that eggy goodness. A mild vinegar, lemon juice, or pickle juice are all good options.
-Don’t let your eggs sit out for too long before shoving them in the mouths of politely offering them along with a dainty cocktail napkin and glass of chilled rose to your guests. They will form an unsightly crust. (Don’t look too carefully at these close-ups either…)
Many congratulations again to Miss Emily and her little one to be! Check out the smorgasbord of offerings from other party-goers below:
With Food + Love
So…Let’s Hang Out
Cake Over Steak
Will Frolic For Food
Fix Feast Flair
The Food Gays
Lady and Pups
Two Red Bowls
Beard and Bonnet
A Little Saffron
Nosh and Nourish
Loves Food, Loves to Eat
I am a Food Blog
Dunk & Crumble
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Dukkah Deviled Duck Eggs
If you can’t find duck eggs, never fear: use 8 hen’s eggs and reduce the cooking times to 1 minute of boiling and 9 minutes of steeping. You can boil the eggs, prepare the filling, and make the dukkah a day or two in advance, but these will be prettiest if assembled just before serving.
Makes 12 deviled egg halves
1 tablespoon pistachios, lightly toasted, cooled, and finely chopped
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon sesame seeds (white or brown)
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon flaky salt (such as Maldon)Deviled Duck Eggs:
6 duck eggs (or 8 hen’s eggs)
1/4 cup good-quality mayonnaise (such as Spectrum olive oil mayonnaise)
finely grated zest from 1 small lemon (or 1/2 a larger lemon)
4 teaspoons lemon juice (more as needed to taste)
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne powder and/or a few dashes Tabasco (optional, if you like a bit of kick)
2 1/2 tablespoons dukkah, from above, plus more for sprinkling
Make the dukkah:
In a medium-sized, heavy skillet, combine the coriander, sesame, cumin, and fennel. Toast over a medium-low flame, shaking the pan regularly until the seeds are golden and fragrant, a few minutes. Let cool completely. Place the spices in a mortar and pestle and grind coarsely. Stir in the pepper, salt, and pistachios.Make the eggs:
Place the duck eggs in a medium saucepan and add enough hot tap water to cover by one inch. Place over medium-high heat, and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 2 minutes (set a timer), then remove from the heat, cover, and let stand 10 minutes. Drain the eggs and cover them with ice and cool water to stop the cooking. Let cool completely, then peel and rinse the eggs, and use a sharp chef’s knife to slice each in half lengthwise.
Scoop the yolks out of the eggs and place them in a food processor, placing the whites on a platter. Add the mayonnaise, lemon zest and juice, salt, and cayenne to the food processor and puree until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Scrape the yolk mixture into a bowl and stir in 2 1/2 tablespoons of the dukkah. Use a small spoon, spring-loaded ice cream scoop, or piping bag fitted with a wide plain tip (or plastic bag with the corner snipped off) to get the filling into the hollowed egg whites. Sprinkle the tops with the remaining dukkah, and serve.