Zero George Restaurant’s Vinson Petrillo serves an up-tempo spin on the traditional appetizer, perfect for bringing to a springtime brunch
(Makes 20 egg halves)
10 large eggs
1 small shallot, finely diced
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
2 tsp. fried garlic (recipe below)
Kosher salt to taste
To prepare the eggs, put them in a large pot of water and bring it to a boil over high heat. As soon as the water boils, take the pot off the heat, and let it rest for nine minutes. In the meantime, prepare an ice bath for the eggs by filling a large mixing bowl or pot with ice and cold water.
Transfer the boiled eggs from the stove to the ice bath. Allow the eggs to cool completely. Remove them from the ice bath and peel them.
Halve the peeled eggs horizontally. Scoop out the yolks and place in a food processor, setting the whites aside on a platter. On each half, carefully slice a bit from the rounded side, making a flat surface so the egg can sit upright on the plate.
Add the shallot, mayonnaise, mustard, fried garlic, and a sprinkle of salt to the food processor. Pulse until smooth and creamy.
Spoon the egg mixture into a gallon-sized Ziploc bag and snip a bottom corner. Carefully pipe the paste into the egg white halves. Garnish with your choice of toppings, such as caviar, pickled mustard seeds, truffle shavings, and/or crispy ham.
For the fried garlic:
Pulse two cups of peeled garlic in the food processor until minced. Lightly salt the garlic and let it sit for five minutes. Place the garlic in a kitchen towel and then squeeze out all of the liquid. Heat two cups of canola oil in a large pot over high heat, then gradually stir in the garlic and reduce the heat to medium high. Stir the garlic for about 15 minutes, until it turns golden brown. Drain the garlic in a fine mesh sieve, pressing it with the whisk until all the oil drains out. Spread the garlic on paper towels and cool to room temperature. Stored in an airtight container with silica gel, the garlic will keep for up to two weeks.
■ Don’t overcook: “Take the pot off the heat as soon as the water boils. This helps avoid overcooking the yolks,” Petrillo says. If you cook too long, an ugly, greenish ring can form around the yolk.
■ A cut above: While hard-boiled eggs are traditionally sliced lengthwise, Petrillo likes to cut his horizontally across the middle. “It makes the deviled eggs look unique,” he says. Be sure to cut a sliver from the bottom of each egg half, making a flat surface, so the eggs won’t roll around on the plate.
■ Quick peel: As soon as the eggs have cooled completely in the ice bath, peel them. “If you wait too long, the shell won’t come off cleanly,” explains Petrillo.
Meet the Chef: Vinson Petrillo (pictured inset above)
Though he was born in New Jersey, Vinson Petrillo followed the coastline south to join the culinary school class of 2004 at Johnson & Wales University—at the time located in Charleston. After graduating, he was drawn back to big city life, rising through the ranks in fine dining restaurants in Boston; New Jersey; and New York City, including Manhattan’s Caviar Rousse and farm-to-table eatery Prospect in Brooklyn. In 2012, Petrillo’s kitchen skills won him the honor of Top Chef in the cooking show Chopped, and three years later, he was awarded the regional title at the San Pellegrino Young Chef competition. Now back in the Lowcountry with his wife and daughter, Petrillo continues to use innovative techniques to turn local ingredients and classic dishes into unique, artful plates at Zero George Restaurant. His signature deviled eggs are stuffed with a garlicky filling and topped with caviar—an upscale take on the downhome dish.