What makes deviled eggs such a Southern staple? I have no idea, but I do know that if there aren’t a plate of deviled eggs at every reception, funeral or potluck supper we just all seem a little lost. I famously almost had a heart attack the year that my deviled egg plate found its way into the annual St. Paul’s Episcopal Church bazaar. It snuck in with a lot of stuff I meant to give away and I had to secretly rescue it before someone bought it for $1.25. Every Southern cook has a deviled egg plate. I own very few single-use items, but that is one that is essential. Just makes you look like you know what you’re doing.
Now, many Southern cooks will scoff at using store-bought pimento cheese for anything. I know, I know. I usually make my own. But you just need to try Mrs. Grissom’s Pimento Cheese before you get all snooty on me. Let’s see. Get out the food processor, grate the cheese, buy a jar of pimentos, clean up…or just spend $4.19 for a tub of some pretty decent store-bought stuff. I think you know the answer to that.
To all my friends who live outside the South and may have never heard of pimento cheese, more’s the pity. Here’s the recipe I use when I’m making my own, the winner of a pimento cheese contest conducted by the Southern Foodways Alliance. The recipe calls for making your own mayonnaise, which I do NOT do. We have Duke’s. We don’t need any stinkin’ homemade mayonnaise.
Pimento cheese deviled eggs
½ cup pimento cheese (Mrs. Grissom’s preferred)
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Dash red pepper
Salt to taste
4 strips cooked bacon, crumbled
To boil the eggs, add them to a heavy pot and fill with cold water until the eggs are submerged. Bring water to the boil and then take it off the heat and cover. Let sit for 18 minutes. Drain the eggs (the water will still be quite hot) and immediately fill the pot with cold water. Drain again and refill with cold water. This helps loosen the shells from the eggs.
Crack the top and bottom of the egg and then gently roll the egg on a cutting board until tiny cracks form. The shell should easily come off.
Slice the cooked eggs in half and remove the yolks to a bowl. Add the pimento cheese, mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce and blend with a fork until smooth. Taste and add salt as needed.
Fill the egg whites with the pimento cheese mixture and top with crumbled bacon.