Healthy Cooking: To turn eggs into treats, the devil is in the details

Eggs are the low-cost, low-calorie highlight of the healthy eating universe. For about 25 cents and 78 calories, a single large egg delivers vitamins A, D, B2, B5 and B12. Even better, each egg contains 6 grams of “complete protein.”

That's a foodie phrase meaning the egg provides all nine essential amino acids that our bodies must take from food, because we can't make those amino acids ourselves. This is not a criticism. I'm sure we would make all of our own amino acids if only the instructions were on Pinterest. Until then, I try to enjoy an egg each day, like my current obsession: deviled eggs.
<< Perfect egg recipes for Easter -- and beyond

Deviled eggs feel more festive than their plain-Jane hard-boiled relatives. And you need neither a special occasion nor mad cooking skills to whip up a batch.

Making deviled eggs is as simple as boiling water. Start by placing the eggs in the bottom of a pot that has a tight-fitting lid. Add enough cold tap water to cover the eggs by at least an inch. Then bring the pot to a gentle boil. The eggs should be moving like slow-dancing middle schoolers: swaying and barely touching each other. Place the lid on the pot, remove it from the heat, and let the eggs bask in their sauna for precisely 10 minutes. I’m not joking — set a timer. If you transfer the eggs to an ice bath when the bell dings, your attention to detail will be rewarded with perfectly firm whites and creamy yolks.

Now listen up, because this tip will make your egg-loving life easier: drop each egg onto the countertop before plunging it into the icy water. Cracking the shell while it’s hot makes it infinitely easier to peel the egg when it’s cold. I may or may not have discovered this fun tidbit while bare-hand handling hot eggs. On a related note, use a slotted spoon to move your eggs from pot to counter to bath.

Once the eggs are peeled, slice the eggs in half lengthwise and pop out the yolks. The yolks are golden globes of protein and flavor, but they also contain all of the egg’s fat. To make my deviled eggs a little less devilish, I take three of the halved yolks and pop them into the fridge for another use, like on a salad, crumbled in a breakfast burrito or grated over smoked salmon. By slightly reducing the number of egg yolks in the filling, I cut 1 gram of fat — and none of the rich flavor — from each deviled egg.

Take the remaining yolks and mix them with fat-free Greek yogurt instead of fat-full mayonnaise. The swap won’t make a significant difference in taste or texture, I promise. Then play with your seasonings. Here, I suggest tangy Dijon mustard, accompanied by the flavor-rounding notes of garlic and onion powder. Feel free to get fancy by adding your own touches, like a squeeze of Sriracha, a dollop of harissa or a tablespoon of freshly chopped basil. Then spoon or pipe the filling back into the egg whites and enjoy your essentially delicious protein.