- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 8, 2005

CONCORD, N.H. — That’s what I get for admitting my mistakes.

It seemed such an innocent idea for a column — vegetarian deviled eggs with prosciutto. I accidentally forgot that prosciutto isn’t vegetarian.

It was all in the name of research. I’d found a recipe for deviled eggs, a dish of which I am quite fond. The editors of the magazine that printed it said these eggs were so good they would reimburse anyone who made them the cost of the ingredients.

Up for the challenge, I called Larry, my trusty food photographer, and asked him to pick up the ingredients as he headed to the photo shoot — ingredients that included prosciutto, cured uncooked Italian ham.

Even after writing this column — which since I clearly blanked on it at the time, I should point out is dedicated to vegetarian cooking — for nearly five years, for some reason it didn’t occur to me that pork products weren’t the best choice.

It was only after I had boiled the eggs and was about to chop the prosciutto that Larry pointed out that, well, in nicer language than I recall him using, I was an idiot.

In an effort to salvage the shoot, I turned the eggs into egg salad and wrote the column.

Well, you would have none of that.

“… Give us the recipe for the deviled eggs,” one somewhat irate reader wrote. “Or at least the magazine that published it.”

Meanwhile, a woman in Toronto exchanged about a dozen e-mails with the editors of her local paper as they collectively tried to track down first the deviled eggs recipe, then me.

Editors at newspapers around the country e-mailed me, saying readers had called or written to request the recipe.

All I can conclude from this is that there are a whole lot of vegetarians out there craving prosciutto. So, in a first (and I’m guessing last) for this column, I am running the deviled egg recipe, meat and all.

The recipe appeared in the premiere issue of One, a magazine published by Penzeys Spices, a specialty purveyor of herbs and spices. It’s a folksy sort of company whose mail-order catalog is packed with stories and recipes.

Recently, the company decided to take the catalog’s recipes and stories — which have created a devoted following for the company — and turn them into a magazine.

It was a nice idea, although much as I love the company’s spices, I wasn’t much impressed by the magazine. The photography looked like something I would do with my point-and-shoot, and the writing was a little too, well, folksy.

But the recipes were intriguing. Especially one for deviled eggs.

“We believe in this recipe enough to say, ‘Try it on us,’” the editors wrote. “Buy a dozen large eggs and two avocados at your favorite grocery store and send us the receipt with those two items circled” and they’d send you a store credit.

So, following the deluge of requests for this recipe, I headed back into the kitchen to make a batch, prosciutto and all.

“Does this mean I have to buy more prosciutto?” Larry complained.

The recipe was easy. Boil eggs, halve them, scoop out the yolks and mash them with a bunch of other ingredients — in this case prosciutto, avocados, tomatoes, hot sauce, lime juice and cilantro.

The editors were right. Delicious. And meaty.

So my apologies to vegetarians (who, of course, could make this minus the meat), but here is Penzeys’ deviled egg recipe.

Deviled eggs a la Sam

This recipe takes 30 minutes from start to finish.

10 large eggs

1 tablespoon water

½ teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic

1 teaspoon salt

2 avocados, halved, pitted and cut into small chunks

½ small red onion, minced

4 cherry tomatoes, minced

Juice of 1 large lime

Dash hot pepper sauce (or to taste)

2 slices thick prosciutto, finely chopped

2 teaspoons minced fresh cilantro

Place the eggs in a large saucepan and cover with cold water about 1 inch above the eggs. Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat, cover and let sit 17 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine the water, cumin, garlic and salt and mix well. Add the avocados, onion, tomato, lime juice and cilantro. Mash with a potato masher. Add hot pepper sauce and prosciutto and mix well. Set aside.

Run the eggs under cold water (this makes them easier to peel). Carefully peel the eggs and cut in half. Remove the yolks (setting aside the whites) and add them to the avocado mixture, mixing well to combine.

Spoon the avocado mixture back into the egg halves. Alternatively, place the avocado mixture in a small plastic bag, close tightly, snip off one corner and pipe into the egg halves. Makes 20 deviled eggs.

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