At Supper, a simple comfort food steps up

Deviled eggs gussied up by chef Mitch Prensky with everything from truffle to chevre to lobster.
Deviled eggs gussied up by chef Mitch Prensky with everything from truffle to chevre to lobster.
Posted: June 25, 2009

If you're trying to signal, as chef-owner Mitch Prensky currently is, that your sophisticated, "urban farmhouse" of a restaurant - Supper, by name - is tweaking its menu, tilting more toward farmhouse and less toward urban, what might be a good visual to start?

Well, the deviled egg (albeit with a hit of wasabi or touch of chevre) might fill the bill: "Nobody," Prensky says, "doesn't like a deviled egg."

So it has come to pass that not only is Supper going to offer one starting next Wednesday at happy hour (5 to 8 p.m.): It's going to offer a dozen styles, $1 a pop ($9 for the dozen, add $3 for a can of Sly Fox's Pikeland Pils, Phoenix Pale Ale or Royal Weisse Ale).

It is not the first eatery to reach for the deviled egg, of course: Jones has long had a rendition. A few bars have recently put them on the menu.

But Supper, at 10th and South, may be the first to go whole hog - to gussy the things up while still trading on their image as homey packets of simplicity and comfort.

That's a balancing act: Supper has ditched its Moroccan chicken wings for smoked wings soaked in birch beer and buttermilk. But it's not exactly going gingham and hay bale.

I dropped in on Prensky last week to check on the progress of his uptown-down-home eggs.

The deviled egg (like the chicken breast) is a blank slate. There's your homespun classic - mayo (or to my taste, Miracle Whip), vinegar and dry mustard, period.

But you don't need to step out for that: You can get that at the family picnic or block party. Still, that basic recipe - or close to it - is Prensky's launch pad: "It's the mother sauce," he says.

But first there's hard-boiling the egg, possibly the most precise part of the exercise. Supper's technique? Add the eggs to the pot. Cover with an inch of water. Bring to boil, uncovered, and keep at low boil for eight minutes. Then shock in a bowl of icy water.

But here's the ticket. Only keep in the iced water for 30 seconds or less. Then crack (and roll back and forth on the counter) and peel right away, while the shell's inner membrane is slightly separated from the white's surface.

The rest of the process is a bit more casual. For six cooked egg yolks, Prensky adds about 4 tablespoons of house-made mayonnaise (or at home 3 tablespoons of bottled mayo and 1 tablespoon of sour cream), 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard, a squeeze of a quarter of a lemon (a little red wine vinegar can substitute), and a dash of salt and cayenne pepper.

For the designer eggs, it's simply a matter of whipping in a few extras - for the 6 truffle eggs, 1 teaspoon of truffle oil, and 1 teaspoon of chopped chives, with a garnish of a canned sliced black truffle; for the sriracha, a tiny dab of sriracha chile-garlic sauce, 1 teaspoon of lime juice, and for garnish, crushed peanut and a shred of pickled carrot.

The rest of the lineup: Pistou deviled egg with a cap of ratatouille; horseradish with a tiny chip of steak and roquefort; deep-fried Scotch, with country sausage (my least favorite); wasabi with crispy nori; saffron with salt cod and roasted garlic; chevre with asparagus tips; lobster, with dill creme fraiche; "bacon and egg," with braised bacon and cheddar; smoked chile with corn-red onion salsa; and vadouvan, with roasted cauliflower and mint.

Two tips: Prensky stuffs a pastry bag with the yolk fillings and pipes them into the eggs. You can get the same effect by spooning the filling into a Ziploc baggie, toting it to the picnic separate from the whites, then snipping off a corner of the baggie and piping the filling in at the last moment.

Second, if you refrigerate finished eggs, take them out at least 20 minutes before serving. They don't have much flavor if they're chilled.


On the Side: Bacon and Cheddar Deviled Eggs

Makes 6 servings

6 eggs, hard-boiled, halved, with yolks separated out into a bowl

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons rendered smoked bacon fat

1 teaspoon cider vinegar

1 teaspoon chopped thyme

Salt and pepper to taste

For garnish:

Julienned, slow-cooked bacon

Crumbled cheddar cheese

1. Make a stuffing with all ingredients. Pipe into eggs.

2. Garnish with slow-cooked and julienned bacon and crumbled cheddar cheese.

- From chef Mitch Prensky at Supper

Per serving: 141 calories, 6 grams protein, 1 gram carbohydrates, trace sugar, 12 grams fat, 216 milligrams cholesterol, 120 milligrams sodium, no dietary fiber.


On the Side: Chevre Deviled Eggs With Asparagus

Makes 6 servings

6 eggs, hard-boiled, halved, with yolks separated out into a bowl

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons fresh goat cheese

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon chopped chives

Salt and pepper to taste

Asparagus tips, blanched and thinly sliced

1. Make a stuffing with all ingredients. Pipe into eggs.

2. Garnish with thinly sliced and blanched asparagus tips.

- From chef Mitch Prensky at Supper

Per serving: 132 calories, 7 grams protein, 1 gram carbohydrates, trace sugar, 11 grams fat, 215 milligrams cholesterol, 123 milligrams sodium, no dietary fiber.


On the Side: Classic Deviled Eggs Recipe

Makes 6 servings

6 eggs, hard-boiled, halved, with yolks separated out into a bowl

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 teaspoon sour cream

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon cayenne

Salt and pepper to taste

1. Make a stuffing with all ingredients. Pipe into eggs.

- From chef Mitch Prensky at Supper

Per serving: 130 calories, 6 grams protein, 1 gram carbohydrates, trace sugar, 11 grams fat, 215 milligrams cholesterol, 120 milligrams sodium, no dietary fiber.


Supper926 South St.

215-592-8180

www.supperphilly.com


Contact columnist Rick Nichols at 215-854-2715 or rnichols@phillynews.com. Read his recent work at http://go.philly.com/ricknichols.

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