Everything old is new again in these artisanal times, so along with other throwbacks like pickles and Bourbon, devilled eggs are all the rage. They emerge everywhere, from the most indifferent bar kitchens to serious restaurants mining the American past. This flexible recipe, for “stuffed” rather than devilled eggs, appeared at least three decades ago in Dublin, where Mrs. FitzGibbon wrote a weekly food column for The Irish Times. We cannot know precisely when the recipe appeared; the Editor found it in the blurred reproduction of a partial page of the newspaper lacking its date, an illustration from Donal Skehan’s Pleasures of the Table: Rediscovering Theodora FitzGibbon.
The variable recipe departs from the usual bfia format in homage to the prose of Mrs. FitzGibbon.
“Hard boil as many eggs as are needed for not more than 10 minutes, then put them under cold running water. This prevents them from overcooking and having that unattractive black ring around the yolks. When cold, shel, cut in half across and put the yolks into a bowl. Snip off a tiny bit of the whites so that they stand up. Mix the mashed yolks with salt, pepper, a dash of Worcestershire or tomato purée if you like it, and a little grated cheese, or mashed sardine, or finely shredded ham, and a few fresh herbs if you have them. Mix very well and if very stiff a trickle of yogurt or a little top of the milk but don’t make it sloppy. Put this mixture back into the whites…. Two eggs would be a usual helping and very low in calories.”
-‘Top of the milk’ corresponds roughly to light cream.
-Other flavorings favor by the Editor include minced anchovy, anchovy essence or anchovy paste; cayenne; curry; horseradish cream sauce; hot sauce; any kind of mustard, whether dry or prepared, that you prefer; scallions….
-A drip of dark beer, preferably porter and maybe stout, is a winning alternative to the yogurt or ‘top,’ but be sure to the warning of Mrs. FitzGibbon not to make your filling sloppy.