Every home cook has an arsenal of “go-to” dishes, tricks or final touches to elevate their menus in a given situation. One of mine is deviled eggs—who doesn’t love them, right? It’s a staple at potlucks and family get-togethers for good reason. This simple but universally loved finger food is one that I consider a blank canvas for interesting variations. With just a few ingredient swaps, you can turn a basic deviled egg into something flavorful and unexpected, and that’s what happened with these pimento cheese deviled eggs only a few weeks ago.
When my husband’s adult son, Alex, announced in February that he would be visiting from Europe for a few weeks, my mind went racing about all his favorite tastes of home I would need to make while he stayed at our house. Like his dad, Alex has a very short list of foods he doesn’t enjoy, and pretty much everything else is fair game, especially if there’s spicy heat involved. He likes spice so much, in fact, that the hostel he co-owns in Budapest is literally called Spicy Hostel! It is apparently the place for young, adventurous people to stay when visiting the capital of Hungary.
The hostel keeps Alex very busy, so we try to make the most of his infrequent visits home, and I was ready to cook whatever he requested! On the first day of his visit, I invited him to join me on a journey to one of our supermarkets, where I quickly realized that the “taste of home” he missed the most was not any home-cooked meal at all—nope, he wanted junk food! I watched in awe as he piled cans of Spaghetti-Os, Spam and chunk light tuna into the shopping cart. These are all things he cannot easily find in Budapest, so he spent the first week or so satisfying those cravings. He was also pretty excited about York peppermint patties, which he loves so much that he smuggled a multi-pack onto the plane for his trip home.
By the end of his three-week visit, though, we had treated Alex to many home-cooked meals, including the Hot Italian Sausage and Cherry Pepper Pizza that was inspired by our 2021 visit to New Haven’s Modern Apizza. We tossed some burgers on the grill, with American cheese—something we take for granted around here—and he loved it. He also requested fresh seafood (not much of that in Hungary, either), and I was happy to oblige with a panko-crusted halibut, as described in my post about Kenji Lopez-Alt’s Miraculous Mayo Marinade. Finally, Les fired up the bullet smoker at the end of his visit and made a veritable feast of smoked meats, including a pork shoulder, brisket, several artisan sausages and a gorgeous side of fresh salmon.
For that smoked feast, Alex invited a couple of local friends over for dinner, and we enjoyed a great meal that started with a smoked salmon spread that Les makes—I will insist that he make it again this summer and share it here on Comfort du Jour—and these pimento cheese deviled eggs.
I had picked up this very spicy pimento cheese in the cold pantry section at the butcher shop where I purchased the meat for the smoker. The spread was quite heavy on the mayo (not really our thing), so rather than serving it just with crackers, I decided to mix it with the egg yolk filling for a batch of deviled eggs. There was so much heat and flavor in the pimento cheese that no other seasonings were necessary. I only needed a little dab of extra mayo to loosen the filling and some finely minced shallot for crunch. As usual, I grabbed a small zip-top bag to use as a makeshift piping bag for filling the split egg whites. It’s easier and less messy than spooning it in.
Let me tell you, Alex and his friends devoured these deviled eggs in no time flat, and you can bet this treat will be coming up in the rotation again this summer. Come to think of it, deviled eggs are great for both Easter (this Sunday) and Passover, which starts this evening at sundown. I might be convinced to make another batch this weekend!
Spicy Pimento Cheese Deviled Eggs
Here come two of the South’s favorite all-time foods, combined into one tasty little two-bite appetizer—let’s just call this a win-win!
- 6 large or extra large chicken eggs
- 1/2 cup prepared pimento cheese, on the mayonnaise-y side
- 2 Tbsp. finely chopped onion
- A few tablespoons additional mayo, as needed to loosen yolk filling
- Salt and pepper as desired
- Boil the eggs, following your own preferred method. Here’s mine: Bring a pot of water to a full, rolling boil, then lower the eggs in on a slotted spoon. Set a timer for 12 minutes, then use the same spoon to transfer the eggs directly to an ice water bath for about 30 minutes. Peel under cold running water. Works great every time.
- Cut the eggs lengthwise, and empty the yolks into a medium bowl.
- Add pimento cheese, onion and additional mayo (if needed) to the yolks, blending to a smooth, creamy texture. Adjust seasoning to taste. Spoon the mixture into a quart size zip-top bag and seal.
- If working ahead, chill the filling and the egg white halves (covered, of course) until just before serving. Snip a small triangle on the corner of the zip-top bag and pipe the filling into the egg white halves. You will probably have some filling left over; enjoy it on crackers or fill a couple of celery sticks. Or, if nobody is watching, squeeze the bag directly into your mouth. 🙂