The Shrimp Deviled Eggs

DEVILED EGGS ARE TO SOUTHERN RECEPTIONS WHAT chowder is to Northern clambakes, and never in all my wanderings around Dixie have I encountered more wondrous eggs than these once served at a cocktail buffet in Avery Island, Louisiana, when I was visiting the legendary McIlhenny family to learn about the production of Tabasco sauce. Actually, the filling was made with crawfish, but since, at the time, even frozen crawfish were unavailable outside the region, I wasted no time substituting shrimp when I returned home. Equally enticing about these deviled eggs are the capers, which add as much unusual flair as the shrimp. Do make note that, in the South, the special compartmentalized plates (in ceramic or glass) used to serve deviled eggs are as important as the eggs themselves. As one hostess uttered to me not long ago, “Anybody who serves deviled eggs on a plain ole white plate is just . . . tacky.”

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6 extra-large eggs 6 large shrimp 3 tablespoons mayonnaise 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice 1 teaspoon capers, drained and finely chopped 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh parsley leaves Tabasco sauce to taste 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh dill Place the eggs in a large saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, turn off the heat, cover, and let stand 10 minutes. Drain, add cold water to cover, and let stand 5 minutes. Meanwhile, place the shrimp in a small saucepan with enough water to cover, bring to a boil, remove from the heat, and let stand 1 minute. Drain, add cold water to cover, and let stand 5 minutes. Carefully peel the shells from the eggs. Cut the eggs in half lengthwise, place the yolks in a mixing bowl, and reserve the whites. Shell, devein, and chop the shrimp finely, then add to the egg yolks. Add the mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, capers, parsley, and Tabasco and mash the mixture with a fork till smooth. Fill the whites with equal amounts of the mixture, sprinkle dill over the tops, cover with plastic wrap, and chill till ready to serve.

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