[Photograph: Aki Kamozawa and H. Alexander Talbot]

It's a well-known non-secret among my friends that I'm a deviled egg fanatic. Without fail, I will order them at any restaurant, and find reasons to serve them at dinner parties, brunches, and any social gathering in between. So I had to try Aki Kamozawa and H. Alexander Talbot's version in their new cookbook, Maximum Flavor. Besides adding slices of pepper jelly-glazed bacon to the tops of their eggs, Kamozawa and Talbot also tweak the egg cooking and seasoning process. Instead of boiling the eggs (or the boil-rest technique I usually use), they steam the eggs for 14 minutes. According to the duo, this method results in the most evenly cooked eggs and makes them easier to peel. After the steam, the eggs take a two day bath in a smoky tea, cranberry juice, and salt solution to color and flavor the whites. The final steps are familiar to anyone who's ever deviled an egg—add mayonnaise, mustard, and spice.

Why I picked this recipe: I'm a sucker for deviled eggs in any incarnation.

What worked: Steaming the eggs indeed made them easy to peel, and the method was pretty efficient, to boot. The lapsang souchong tea was a nice match with the smoky bacon, fully integrating the egg with its decadent garnish.

What didn't: I used thick-cut bacon, and it needed an extra 10 minutes in the oven to crisp up. I also found it much easier to glaze the bacon when I watered down the pepper jelly a little bit.

Suggested tweaks: You could certainly pick and choose techniques from this recipe as you'd like. The brined eggs taste great on their own if you don't want to devil them, and it should go without saying that glazing bacon with pepper jelly is an awesome idea. That said, if you want to go through with the whole recipe but don't have a piping bag, you can use a Ziplock or just spoon the filling back into the eggs.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Maximum Flavor to give away this week.

About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer and personal chef living in Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American, KQED's Bay Area Bites, and Berkeleyside NOSH. Follow her @KateHWiliams.


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