Ina Garten isn’t Southern, but she might as well be. Her modern takes on comfort food and her warm and laid-back approach to entertaining are as beloved in our region as they are throughout the world. Plus, many of her fan favorites—from pimiento cheese to coconut cake—are Southern-inspired. If you’ve ever made one of Ina’s recipes, you know they are reliably delicious. But are they Southern? We’ll be the judge of that—with love, of course.
The recipe: Smoked Salmon Deviled Eggs
What Ina Says
This recipe has “lots of flavors and richness to make it delicious.”
Southern Living’s Classic Deviled Eggs are as simple as they come—think of them as the blank canvas of deviled eggs. To make the filling, you need nothing more than a bowl and a fork. Like most recipes, the main ingredient in the filling (other than egg yolks) is mayonnaise. It’s jazzed up with sweet pickle relish, mustard, salt, and pepper. When your eggs are stuffed, finish them off with a sprinkling of paprika. Enjoy them as-is, or go wild with toppings.
The egg cooking method is standard as well: Place the eggs in a saucepan, cover the eggs with water, then bring the water to a boil. Once the water is boiling, cover the pan, remove it from the heat and let it stand for 15 minutes. Transfer the hot cooked eggs to an ice bath until they cool off—this step helps the shells peel away easily.
Let’s start with the similarities: Her egg cooking method is basically the same as ours; she uses cold water instead of an ice bath. She also fills the halved cooked egg whites with an egg yolk filling. And…that’s where the similarities end.
Ready to make the filling? Get out your stand mixer! With paddle attachment! Ina forgoes the old-fashioned fork and bowl method and beats the cooked egg yolks with several other ingredients to make an ultra smooth and fluffy filling. What are those ingredients, you ask? Sour cream, cream cheese, “good” mayonnaise, lemon juice, minced chives, “good” smoked salmon, salt, and pepper. Note that sour cream comes before mayonnaise in the ingredients list—there’s just a touch of mayo in there. As with Ina’s pimiento cheese , she adds a good amount of cream cheese to the mix.
The smoked salmon and chives are another twist. While those ingredients would not be out of place whatsoever on any deviled egg tray, they are typically used as a topping and not incorporated into the filling itself. Another interesting step: Before piping the filling into the halved egg whites, she sprinkles the whites with a little salt.
And then Ina really gilds the lily by sprinkling the eggs with minced chives, salt, pepper, and dollops of vibrant orange salmon roe (yes, caviar). Eggs aren’t cheap these days, and fish eggs are really, really not cheap. The salmon roe alone added $20 to the cost of the ingredients. (Thankfully Ina didn’t specify “good” salmon roe.) Ina says the roe “adds flavor and makes [the eggs] look gorgeous, otherwise you’d have a lot of white on the plate.” These are black-tie deviled eggs—more like passed hors d'oeuvres at a wedding than appetizers for a neighborhood block party.
What Tasters Said
Ina's Smoked Salmon Deviled Eggs were polarizing among staffers.
Some testers liked the smoky flavor of the filling and the luxurious garnish:
- "Caviar and deviled eggs are a match made in heaven. Love the pop of the salmon roe!"
- "This wouldn't fulfill a deviled egg craving, but I can't deny that it's pretty tasty, especially if you're a fan of smoked fish dips. It reminds me of ordering smoked tuna dip at the beach, only instead of a saltine, you've got an egg white."
- "I don't like the taste of egg or mayo, so these are great."
Other testers did not find them appealing. And the cost was a non-starter for some:
- "These eggs are rich in every sense of the word. The smoked salmon and roe are completely overpowering. There’s so much brininess and smoke that the actual egg doesn’t come through at all.
- "I would use the smoked salmon or the roe, but not both. Also, I am cheap.”
- "It's like eating sushi in an egg."
If you dislike deviled eggs, you might love these! If you’re a deviled egg purist, this is not the recipe for you. Bless Ina’s heart, she couldn't help fancying them up.