Fancy little devils: Carbonara Deviled Eggs

Carbonara Deviled Eggs

Carbonara Deviled Eggs

I have a serious problem when it comes to deviled eggs.  It’s the same problem I have with what I call “church lady” sandwiches.  You know the ones.  Crustless, cut into fingers, often served at church picnics or after special services, scarf-able in less than two bites.

I’m hoping that I’m not alone here but the issue I tend to have is that if either of these tasty little retro treats are present at a party, I will eat my body weight in them.  The feeling I get after realizing I’ve polished off a half dozen eggs or the equivalent of three full-sized sandwiches falls somewhere between pride and shame but, in all honesty, it’s totally worth it.

In my perhaps slightly biased opinion, deviled eggs are the perfect party food.  They are salty, packed with flavour, and are just about the perfect size for guests to enjoy without hindering their ability to chit chat like some larger sized party snacks might.  The classic is a classic for a reason – everyone loves them.  But here, I make an argument for a slightly updated version. 

These carbonara deviled eggs bring together some of my favourite ingredients to work with.  Salty pecorino cheese, meaty pancetta, sooty pepper, and fresh parsley come together in that classic yolky filling to create the most scrumptious couple of bites you ever did taste! 

Give these little guys a try but just don't blame me if you pull a Mary and eat the whole lot yourself!

Carbonara Devilled Eggs

Makes 12 devilled eggs

 6 large eggs
2 teaspoons white vinegar
2 thin (2-3mm) slices of pancetta
¼ cup + 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
½ teaspoon pancetta fat
2 teaspoons very finely chopped parsley, divided
¼ cup finely grated pecorino cheese, divided
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper, plus more for garnish

To hard boil your eggs, place them in a single layer on the bottom of a medium saucepan and have a tight fitting lid handy.  Add enough cool water to cover the eggs by 1.5 inches, add the vinegar, and bring to a boil over medium heat.  When the water has reached a boil, quickly cover the pot, remove from the heat, and set a timer for 13 minutes.  Allow the eggs to sit, covered, until the timer goes off then immediately drain the eggs and plunge into an ice bath to stop the cooking process.  Once the eggs are cool, tap them on the counter to break up the shell a bit.  I like to put a few cracks in the top and bottom of the eggs and use that little bubble area on the bottom of the egg to start peeling.

Meanwhile, cook the pancetta slices in a medium pan over medium heat until crisp.  When done, remove the pancetta and allow it to cool and reserve ½ teaspoon of the pancetta fat from the pan.  Finely chop the pancetta so that it almost resembles coarse bread crumbs and set aside, reserving about a tablespoon of the pancetta crumb for garnish.

Using a sharp knife or a piece of thread wrapped around your fingers like you would floss, slice the eggs in half from top to bottom.  Pop the yolks out of each egg and place into a small mixing bowl.  Mash the yolks with a fork and stir in the mayonnaise, pancetta fat, 1 ½ teaspoons parsley, 2 tablespoons pecorino, pancetta crumbs (other than the garnish), salt, and pepper.  Mix well until everything is nice and smooth and divide the yolk mixture back into the egg whites.  If you’re just looking to get the yolks in there, a spoon will do just fine.  If you’re going for a snazzier look, transfer the yolk mixture into a zip top plastic bag or piping bag and dollop a little swirl into each white. 

For an additional little garnish, place a nonstick skillet over medium heat and scatter in the remaining 2 tablespoons of pecorino.  Allow the cheese to melt and start to crisp.  As soon as the cheese is crispy and just slightly browned, remove it from the pan and allow the crisp to cool.  Break it up into at least 12 pieces and set aside.

When ready to serve, top each egg with a little piece of the pecorino crisp, a sprinkling of parsley, a bit of the remaining pancetta, and a bit more pepper.