About the Recipe
"I think that's part of the magic of food: it connects us to our history and brings back simple, joyful moments. And while we can never be nine years old again, we can still bring back the scents of flavours of our childhood and hear the voices of family members far away or passed on." Shane Gadd 2023
12 large free range eggs at room temperature (see recipe tip)
4 tbsp mayonnaise
1-2 tsp English mustard
1 tsp sea salt flakes
¼ tsp paprika, plus extra for sprinkling
few drops Tabasco
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2-3 tbsp water from a freshly boiled kettle
2 tsp finely chopped chives
Bring some water to the boil in a large saucepan and. once it's boiling, add the eggs, one by one, into the pan and bring back to the boil. Boil for 1 minute, then turn the heat off and leave the eggs to stand in the pan for 12 minutes.
While you're waiting for the eggs to cook, fill a large bowl with very cold water and throw in a handful of ice cubes if you have them. As soon as the eggs have had their 12 minutes, spoon them into the cold water and leave for 15 minutes - no longer - before peeling patiently and carefully.
Halve the eggs lengthways and gently prise the yolk out of each half and pop them into a mixing bowl. Place the neatest looking 18 halved whites on a plate or two.
Add the mayonnaise, a teaspoon of English mustard, the salt and paprika to the egg yolks and shake a few drops of Tabasco on top. Stir and mash with a fork, then blend with a stick blender or in a food processor. Add the oil and blend again until smooth. It will be very thick. Check for seasoning and also taste to see if you want this hotter. I generally go up to 2 teaspoons of mustard and quite a bit more Tabasco, but it’s best to proceed slowly. Now, by hand, stir in as much of the water as you need to help form a piping consistency.
Spoon the golden mixture into a piping bag with a star icing nozzle, making sure it is densely packed at the bottom of the bag. Then pipe away, filling the hollowed-out whites with golden rosettes. Or you can mound the yolk mixture using a pair of teaspoons. Sprinkle with paprika and chopped chives and serve with a flourish.
It’s best to use eggs that are approaching their use-by date, as the fresher they are, the harder they are to peel. In order to help keep the yolk centred as the eggs cook, leave them lying on their sides in a dish (rather than sitting upright in their boxes) overnight before cooking them. It’s not a fail-safe guarantee, but it does seem to make a difference.