I don’t think a summer picnic would be the same without stuffed eggs. At least, not in my family. Or any summer gathering for that matter. Stuffed eggs are a family tradition, and one of my mother’s favorites. But I imagine everyone has a favorite version – I personally can’t abide the typical version made with pickle relish. So I come up with variations that appeal to me, and hopefully everyone else.
This version combines two picnic favorites, stuffed eggs and pimento cheese. The creamy, rich yolks blended with cheese and pimentos bring both concepts to a new level. And to prove what a family favorite these have become, I’ll tell you a story. I served these at a family birthday gathering, and my nephew walked in the house, spotted the eggs, made a beeline past all his family in the room, and immediately stuffed an egg in his mouth. He quickly realized this breech in etiquette and committed another by saying, mouth full, “Hi, Aunt P.C., can I have a stuffed egg?” In the end, he had several, and the eggs were judged by at least two present as the best stuffed eggs ever. That’s what I call a good egg.
Pimento Cheese Stuffed Eggs
1 dozen eggs
2 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese
1 (2-ounce) jar diced pimentos
1 cup mayonnaise
½ teaspoon paprika (plus more for decoration)
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Place the eggs in a single layer in a large pot and cover with cold water by one inch. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. When the water is boiling, cook the eggs for 8 minutes. Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with water and ice. When the 8 minutes are up, use a slotted spoon to transfer the eggs to the ice water. Leave the eggs for at least 20 minutes, but up to 30.
As the eggs are cooling, grate the cheese on the fine holes of a box grater and leave to come to room temperature. Rinse and drain the pimentos and pat dry on paper towels.
When the eggs have cooled, roll them on the counter to crack the shells all over. Peel the eggs and rinse under cool water to remove any shell bits. Pat the eggs dry, then cut in halves and gently remove the yolks to a bowl. Set the whites on a tray to be stuffed.
Break the eggs up with a fork, then add the grated cheese and mayonnaise (save a little cheese to sprinkle over the tops). Mash together with the fork, then add the paprika, garlic powder and generous amounts of salt and black pepper to taste. Continue to mash the filling with the fork until smooth. Add the pimentos and stir to distribute them evenly throughout the filling.
Fill the egg white halves with the pimento cheese filling, distributing it evenly among the whites. Refrigerate the eggs for at least an hour, but up to 4, to firm the filling. You may cover them loosely with plastic wrap. Sprinkle with the reserved cheese and paprika.
Makes 24 stuffed eggs