Spooky eyes

• Hard-boiled eggs, shelled
• Black food coloring
• Mayonnaise
• Turmeric, optional
• Dijon mustard
• Cider vinegar
• Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
• Extra large pimento-stuffed green olives (or smaller ones if your eggs are small)

The day before you plan to serve the “eyes,” fill a large jar or deep bowl about 2/3 full of cold water. Add enough black food coloring to turn the water opaque, making sure the coloring is completely dissolved.

Halve the eggs lengthwise, gently remove the yolks, and set aside. Remove any yolk that clings to the edges or outside the egg whites with the corner of a damp paper towel. Discard any torn or broken egg whites, but add their yolks to the others. Add the whites to the jar with colored water. At this point you can go ahead and make the filling mixture below, or wait until the next day. Either way, refrigerate the jar of whites and the yolks (separately) overnight.

Purée the yolks in the food processor. Or press them through a food mill or sieve or mash them with a fork. Add mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar and a pinch or two of turmeric (this gives the yolks a brighter yellow color). Salt and pepper to taste. The term “deviled” implies a degree of spiciness, however the amounts depend on your personal taste. Start with just a tablespoon or so of mayonnaise, a teaspoon of mustard, a pinch or two of turmeric, and the same with the vinegar. You want to create a smooth creamy mixture, but one that’s not too loose. It’s much easier to add additional seasonings than it is to correct a mixture that’s too runny or spicy.

Gently remove the whites from the jars and tip out any liquid remaining in the cavities. Turn them upside down on paper towels for 15-30 minutes or until they are completely drained. They should drain until there’s no excess moisture and touching them doesn’t leave a stain on your finger.

Place the dyed egg white halves cut side up on a platter large enough to hold them comfortably in one layer. Fill the cavities with the yolk mixture using a portion scoop, two spoons, or a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip.

Slice enough olives crosswise so that there is one good slice, about 1/4-inch thick, for each egg half. Reserve the ends and other pieces for another use. Gently press an olive slice into the center of each “spooky eye.” For individual servings, place two “eyes” on a lettuce-lined plate with the more rounded ends of the eggs next to each other. Alternatively arrange all the “eyes” on a platter in a way that enhances their “spookiness.”

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