Deviled eggs, often served cold as a side dish or appetizer, are hard-boiled eggs that have been shelled, cut in half and filled with a paste made from egg yolk mixed with mayonnaise and mustard. The word deviled was originally used in reference to food in the 18th century, with the oldest recorded print reference found in 1786. In the 19th century, it was most commonly associated with spicy or zesty foods, such as eggs prepared with mustard, pepper, or other seasonings inserted in the yolk cavity.
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However, the history of this dish can be traced with help of handed down recipes in many parts of the world.
The origin of this popular dish is believed to be in ancient Rome, where boiled eggs seasoned with spicy sauces were served during gatherings and feasts. Serving eggs while entertaining guests was so typical for rich Romans that they even had a proverb about it: “ab ovo usque ad mala,” which translates into “from eggs to apples,” or “from the beginning to the end of a meal.” Deviled eggs are believed to be of Roman descent.
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Recipes for hard-boiled eggs packed with herbs, cheese and raisins can also be found in medieval European recipe books. The first recorded recipe for stuffed eggs, and the one that most closely resembles the modern-day deviled egg, is thought to have been penned in the 13th century in the Andalusian region of Spain. Boiling egg yolk was blended with cilantro (coriander), pepper, and onion juice, then beaten with murri (a sauce made of fermented barley or fish), oil, and salt, according to an English translation of a recipe contained in an anonymous 13th-century Andalusian cookbook. The mixture was then stuffed into the hollowed-out egg whites, and the two sides of the egg were joined together with a little stick and topped with pepper.
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In 1877, the Montgomery Advertiser, a local news publication in Montgomery, Alabama, published the first recorded American recipe for deviled eggs. The use of mayonnaise as an ingredient in deviled eggs was first suggested in an 1896 edition of an American cookbook called The Boston Cooking School CookBook by Fannie Farmer.
Deviled ham and fra diavolo sauce are two examples of spiced meals that use the term “devil” (from the Italian word for devil). The terms “stuffed eggs,” “salad eggs,” and “dressed eggs” are used in regions of the southern and Midwestern United States instead of deviled eggs. The popular dish is conceived and cooked differently by people in different parts of the world, though the base idea remains the same.