Guest blog by NC Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler
My grandkids are one of my greatest joys in life, and my wife Sharon and I enjoy having our whole family at the house. As a farmer granddaddy and Agriculture Commissioner, it gives me a great deal of pride knowing that my five grandchildren are growing up knowing where their food comes from and that a farmer is always involved in the process. Having that understanding will hopefully always help them appreciate the work and value of our farmers and agricultural community. After all, we all depend on farmers to feed us – even if we farm.
At one time, North Carolina farms were mainly subsistence farms – meaning they produced enough for their own families and maybe a little extra. That has changed completely, particularly as people are now more often one or two generations removed from the farm and don’t have the land resources in neighborhoods for farming.
Today, on average, each farmer feeds 155 people. Some of my city friends say they cannot grow vegetables for what they can buy them for, so greater efficiency in production helps keep our food supply affordable.
With two sons, two daughters-in-law and five grandkids, gatherings often happen around a big meal. One of the regular items on the menu is deviled eggs because they are a favorite of my grandkids. They especially like the ones we call “piled high” stuffed eggs, which are topped with extra filling. My wife uses the largest local eggs she can find since she always needs extra yolks for the filling. No matter how many eggs Sharon makes, it seems like there are never any leftovers. And, I know that’s not because there is a shortage of eggs in North Carolina.
In fact, North Carolina farmers produce 7 ½ million eggs a day, making us the seventh largest producer of eggs in the country. Egg production is just one part of our livestock industry, which accounts for nearly 70 % of farm cash receipts.
It’s an important industry because it provides an accessible and affordable protein for consumers. Or delicious deviled eggs!
I hope you enjoy my wife’s recipe for “piled high” eggs as much as our family does. I’d recommend you plan to at least double up the recipe.
“Piled High” Deviled Eggs
12 large eggs
About 1 cup Duke’s Mayonnaise
About 1 teaspoon Sweet pickle juice
2 teaspoons vinegar
Salt and pepper
Paprika for garnish (optional)
Cover the eggs in a large saucepan about a quarter of the way with cold water. Place the eggs in layers at the bottom of the pan. Add more water so that the eggs are covered by at least an inch or two of water. (More eggs=more water). Turn the burner on high and bring to a full rolling boil. Turn off the burner. Keep the pan on the hot burner and cover. Let eggs stand (covered) for 12-15 minutes. (Check one at 12 minutes if you like a softer yolk.)
Drain, and gently lift eggs with a slotted spoon into a bowl or pan of ice water. Allow to set for five to 10 minutes before peeling.
Tap each egg firmly with a spoon or on the counter until cracks form all over the shell. Peel under cold, running water. Slice eggs in half, lengthwise, and carefully remove the yolk to another bowl.
Mash yolks with Duke Mayonnaise to taste. The more mayo, the smoother the egg mixture. I usually use about a cup of mayo for 12 eggs (24 halves), adding a tablespoon of sweet pickle juice, and a couple of teaspoons of vinegar and mix well. Finish off with salt and pepper to taste.
Use a spoon to stuff the egg mixture into the egg halves, pressing down and rounding the top. To make the “piled high” version, mound the yolk considerably. Yield will be about 18-20 egg halves.
Sprinkle each egg half lightly with paprika to garnish. Mrs. Troxler noted: Sprinkle each egg while holding over a paper plate before putting it on the serving tray. “I learned this the hard way!”