During the day I work as a Content Manager for a pretty cool dry ingredients company, meaning I get to fool around with food concepts all day. My coworkers and I obsess about food constantly, and lately we’ve been exploring the idea of ruining some of our favorite meals with blue cheese. We’ve been contemplating the concepts of blue cheese lasagna (hnngggh), blue cheese-filled Oreos (brrrnnngggh), and blue cheese nachos (nnnghhhrrbbrrp). Pretty vulgar stuff, I know. I think I’m going to throw up just thinking about the imaginary smell.
However, my coworker Jason, riffing off the theme, basically vomited up an even better idea: Deviled Century Eggs. He actually gagged when he said it. I had the same reaction, so, naturally I knew I had to make this a reality.
Century eggs are by far one of the strangest food items I’ve ever seen. Hailing from China, they’re duck, chicken, or quail eggs that sit in an alkali mix (such as caustic lye), preserving them so they last a lot longer, hence their “century egg” name. And boy, are they weird. The whites turn into a translucent brown color, and the yolks turn into, well, you’ll see.
From the outside, they’re just regular-looking eggs. They feel like hard-boiled eggs and don’t jiggle in the shell.
Crack the shell, and you’re rewarded with a smell that reminds you of beer farts and the sulfur springs at Yellowstone National Park. Delicious. They usually have an oddly beautiful design on the outside of the white, like a fractal design, or frost on a window.
Like a finely-aged cheese, century eggs smell like dead toes, but taste pretty amazing. The whites (er, browns), don’t have a ton of flavor, but they have a chewy gelatin-like texture. But that alarming-looking yolk (alarming is a word I should use to describe food more often), is something else entirely. It smells like eggy burnt hair, and is both firm and gooey at the same time. It tastes like the mildest egg yolk you’ve ever eaten, with a silky texture. If you like eggs, you’ll like century eggs just fine, as long as you close your eyes and dig in. The first time I tried them was with my friend Craig, aka Wheezy Waiter, in this video. I was scared. But they were delicious.
I’m not a culinary expert, but I am a gross person, so I thought about making this thing as disgusting-looking as possible.
I used century eggs (available at many Asian markets in unrefrigerated packages like the one seen above), good ol’ Hellman’s mayonnaise, nori (toasted seaweed) and cheap-ass black caviar to, you know, class things up. Brrrpnngggh — sorry, trying not to gag.
All it took was a little mashing of the yolks with some mayo, piped back into the browns (formerly known as whites) seasoned with salt and black pepper. I used a Ziploc bag with the corner cut off because I couldn’t find my pastry tips. I have pastry tips because sometimes I bake cupcakes for myself and eat them in the closet. So basically I’m MacGyver, who extruded what looks like brown guacamole, into cured egg browns.
I used some scissors to snip up the seaweed sheets, and topped them with a generous helping of caviar. Pinkys up, bitches.
Here is the glorious finished product. Both absurdly rubbery and savory, they had the texture of flip-flops filled with a smooth sulfuric custard. The seaweed chips added a touch of ocean, and the bottom-shelf caviar added both a false sense of class and a shitload of fishy salt flavor. And yes, they’re pretty damn good.
Would I make them again? Absolutely. Just so I could watch you throw up while trying to eat one of them. I’m a pretty cool person.
And no, I didn’t steal my plates from Old Country Buffet, goddamit.