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Tasty bites for Easter meals

Easter dinner is a special occasion, presenting an opportunity for family and friends to gather, celebrate their faith and give thanks for their blessings.

Traditional dishes tend to find their way to the Easter dinner table, but no meal would be complete without some sort of deviled eggs appetizer. Deviled eggs make good use of hard-boiled eggs that may not have been colored, or even those that have been dyed and can now be safely repurposed as food.

“Debonaire Deviled Eggs” from “Southern Appetizers” by Denise Gee (Chronicle Books) teaches home chefs how to craft tasty, aesthetically pleasing eggs.

Debonaire Deviled Eggs

Serves 8 to 12

12 large eggs

1⁄4 cup mayonnaise

4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (optional)

3 tablespoons sweet pickle relish

2 teaspoons prepared mustard

1⁄4 teaspoon salt

1⁄8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Sprigs of fresh savory or another herb for garnish

Turn the eggs bottom- (wider-) side up in the carton. Use a pushpin to delicately poke one hole squarely in each center.

Fill a large saucepan or small Dutch oven with 2 to 21⁄2 quarts of water (enough to cover the eggs; use two pans if cooking all the eggs at once). Bring the water to a rolling boil.

Use a slotted spoon to add six eggs to the pan (working quickly but carefully to get them in at the same time); boil the eggs for 6 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat. Let the eggs sit for 6 minutes for slightly soft yolks; add about 40 seconds for firmer yolks).

Remove each egg with a slotted spoon and place it on a kitchen towel. Repeat with the remaining six eggs. Let the eggs cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes, before peeling. (Store in the refrigerator, unpeeled, for up to 1 week; peeled for up to 4 days).

Peel the eggs under cool running water. Slice the eggs in half lengthwise, gently scooping out the yolks into a medium bowl. Add the mayonnaise, three-fourths of the crumbled bacon (if using), pickle relish, mustard, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine (and adjust seasonings as desired). Use a small spoon (or better yet, a piping bag) to insert the filling into the egg halves. Garnish with the remaining chopped bacon and savory, if desired, before serving.

Note: Large eggs are best used for egg plates and are easier to eat in one or two bites.