Deviled eggs are a must at Southern church dinners-on-the-grounds and camp meetings. This is a little more sophisticated version, with lemon zest and a touch of vivid red caviar.

What this recipe shows:

  • Placing the securely closed carton of eggs on its side the night before cooking centers the yolks.

  • Salt in the water makes leaking white cook fast and seals cracks on any egg that may break.

  • Letting the eggs stand in hot water for 15 minutes cooks them slowly for greater tenderness.

  • Running cold water over the eggs at the end of cooking cools them quickly to help prevent greening of the yolk surface and makes peeling easier.

  • Banging the eggs against each other in the pan gently cracks the shells and makes them easier to peel.

  • Keeping caviar cold improves its taste.


  • 12 large eggs, at least a week old

  • 1 tablespoon salt and 1 1/4 teaspoons salt (about 1 1/2 tablespoons total)

  • 3 medium shallots, minced

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 1/2 cup sour cream

  • 1/3 cup Homemade Mayonnaise or store-bought

  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chives

  • Finely grated zest of 3 lemons

  • 3 tablespoons red caviar, well chilled


1. The night before the eggs are to be cooked, seal the carton with a piece of tape and turn on its side to center the yolks.

2. When ready to cook, place the eggs in a medium saucepan. Add water to cover by 1 1/2 inches. Add 1 tablespoon salt. Partially cover the pot and bring to a full rolling boil. Turn heat down to low and leave on the heat, covered, for 30 seconds, then remove from the heat and let eggs stand, covered, in the hot water for 15 minutes. Pour off hot water and rinse eggs under cold running water for 5 minutes. Pour off water and shake the pan to bump eggs against each other until all eggs are well cracked. Cover with cold water.

3. Peel the eggs under running water, rinse them, and cut in half lengthwise. Transfer the yolks to a bowl. Cover and chill yolks and whites separately for 1 hour.

4. Saute the shallots in butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat until soft, about 2 minutes. Set aside. Mash the yolks with a fork. Mash in the sour cream. Add the mayonnaise, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, and cayenne. Whisk until well blended. Whisk in shallots.

5. Fill the egg white halves with yolk mixture, extending the mixture over part of the white. Generously sprinkle each stuffed egg with chives, leaving a little yellow showing around the edges. Sprinkle each half with lemon zest. Cover and refrigerate. When ready to serve, spoon a bit of cold caviar onto each half. Serve well chilled. 

Shirley O. Corriher is a writer, author, biochemist, teacher and lecturer. She writes a column for The Los Angeles Times' "Great Chefs" series as well as articles in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. Her book Cookwise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Cooking is received a James Beard award.