Hard-Boiled Memories

Deviled eggs are nostalgia on a plate. The appetizer that your grandmother brought to every family function is now popping up on restaurant menus all over Sacramento, with chefs adding their signature flair to this otherwise humble finger food.
deviled eggs

At Revolution Winery & Kitchen, owner Gina Genshlea likes having deviled eggs on the menu “because the best things are the simple things.” In this case, simple means yolks mixed with salt, pepper and two types of mustard. For garnish, “we like to use pickled red onion because it gives it a little crunch along with an acid element, which highlights the flavor of the eggs. We also add a little piece of lardon, which is optional, plus a small sprig of dill to wake it up, and finally a tiny sprinkle of paprika.” Customers can’t get enough of them. “We have some people who come in and that’s all they get.”

Joseph Pruner, executive chef at Woodlake Tavern, describes deviled eggs as “one of those things that brings back childhood memories.” He first started seeing them on menus in San Francisco eight years ago and knew they’d be a hit. His rendition starts with eggs from Vega Farms, which are boiled for seven and a half minutes. Once cooled, the yolks are mixed with house-made creme fraiche, Dijon mustard, olive oil, crispy shallots and chives. “I prefer the creme fraiche to mayonnaise because it makes the yolks a little more airy,” says Pruner. “It’s a pretty simple recipe, but it’s really technique-driven.”

At Boulevard Bistro in Elk Grove, chef-owner Bret Bohlmann says that “deviled eggs are wonderful because they’re a blank canvas. You can garnish them with whatever you want—it’s limitless.” His version, which is prepared with house-made aioli, might be embellished with deep-fried duck confit, mustard seeds blanched in white wine, or three types of tobiko. “We change up the garnishes depending on what we’ve got around. We sell a ton of them, because everything’s better with eggs.”