I've lived a lot of places throughout my culinary career and one place that I've felt a connection to is Arkansas. So much so that I am in the process of converting an old church into a new culinary space there!
Thanksgiving is the perfect holiday to celebrate with family, friends and lots of really great food. Two of my favorite foods are fried shrimp and pimento cheese, so I created a twist to one of Arkansas' top iconic foods: the deviled egg.
I'll be the first to admit that sometimes holiday cooking gets a little hectic so I'm always on the lookout for a tasty shortcut or kitchen hack — which is why I'm not shy about using a good quality frozen shrimp when I can't get my hands on fresh (and who has time during the holidays to do it all?). I usually head down the frozen food aisle and grab seasoned, fried popcorn shrimp for my topping. For my friends who don’t like to cook and/or don’t do it often, they are excited to see an easier addition like this to the recipe, which takes out the intimidation of preparing fresh seafood.
Serve the eggs garnished with crispy bacon and scallions, and if you want a really festive treat, add fried popcorn shrimp.
Technique Tip: Use a cooling rack to push the boiled egg yolks through. Save time on chopping the yolks and on clean up!
- 2 dozen eggs
- 1½ cups extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 cup mild cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1/2 cup hickory smoked bacon, cooked and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup onion, minced
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 1 4-ounce jar diced pimentos, drained
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/4 cup cooked hickory smoked bacon, crumbled
- 4 scallions, green and white parts, chopped
- 24 fried popcorn shrimp, chopped (optional)
1. In a large saucepan, place eggs in a single layer and cover with enough water to cover the eggs with 1½ inches of water above the eggs.
2. Heat, uncovered, over medium-high heat until water begins to boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 1 minute.
3. Remove the saucepan from the heat and leave, covered, for 14 minutes, then rinse under cold running water for 1 minute.
4. Remove the eggs from the water, gently crack the eggshells and carefully peel under cool running water. Blot the eggs dry with paper towels.
5. Slice the eggs in half lengthwise and remove the yolks. Place half of the yolks into a large bowl and all of the whites on a large serving platter. Save the remaining yolks for another use.
6. Mash the egg yolks into a fine crumble using the back of a dinner fork.
7. Add cheddar, 1/2 cup bacon, cream cheese, mayonnaise, onion, garlic, pimentos, paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper and using a rubber spatula mix until well combined. (You can also make the filling in the bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment.)
8. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
9. Using a spoon or piping bag, evenly divide the deviled egg mixture into the egg whites.
10. Garnish with crispy bacon, scallions and fried popcorn shrimp.