Egg salad is certainly not the most romantic or exotic of food. But for me it is one of those dishes that evokes very special memories.
New York with my mother. It didn’t matter what part of town we were in. We would take a break from our errands more often then not at some nondescript coffee shop/deli and get egg salad sandwiches on rye with a cup of coffee. Sometimes the egg salad had chopped celery and or onion. Some places it was chunky, sometimes finely mashed, sometime it contained way too much mayonnaise, some places put in chopped dill or sweet pickle. Some places the sandwich came with lettuce. It was always an adventure to see what the establishment’s take on egg salad would be. The amount of egg salad was always very generous so that when you bit into your sandwich a goodly amount would fall out. Trying to eat an over stuffed egg salad sandwich daintily is impossible but we did have a solution. Open the sandwich up, divide the egg salad between the pieces of bread and eat the sandwich open faced. Even then egg salad would fall. That was part of the fun.
Reno Nevada in the early 80ies . Egg Salad Sandwiches at the Woolworth’s corner of Virginia and 1st Street. Ashton and I would go there in the end days and sit in a special booth where we could see both 1st and Virgina ,watching the scene. It didn’t have anything except mayonnaise and it came on plain Wonder Bread style white bread. The egg salad didn’t fall out of the sandwich. I can’t even tell you what it tasted like or why I ordered it but it was special because of who I was with. That in many ways is what a great dining experience is about. Even egg salad can be elevated to a gourmet experience because of who you are with.
Now of days I rarely if ever order egg salad at a restaurant. Well sometimes at Hidden Valley Country Club in the stuffed Avocado Salad and once at the Manhattan Deli in the Atlantis just to see what they did with the stuff. Both places do an acceptable job.. but truthfully.. like my mother and I would say while scarfing down our sandwiches,.. .. these guys do not know how to make egg salad.
It’s an easy enough dish to whip up for a quick lunch, light supper, snack or hors d’oeuvre. It doesn’t take much, but it offers opportunities to add amazing ingredients. So just in case you wanted to know how I make egg salad and it’s variations on a theme. here goes.
A great eggs salad starts with perfectly cooked hard boiled egg. My preferred method is putting the desired number of eggs into a single layer in a pot. Cover with cold water, bring to a rolling boil. Put a lid on the pot. Turn off the heat (if you have an electric stove remove the pot from the burner) and let the eggs sit undisturbed for 11 minutes. Or if you don’t have a lid for the pot you are using bring the eggs to a boil lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 11 minutes. I also like steamed method. This works well for fresher eggs and seems to make peeling easier.
When the eggs have cooked. Drain them and drop into a bowl of ice water to cool down.
My method for peeling and easy clean up is to put down a double layer of paper towels on the counter next to the bowl. Take an egg bang it on both ends on the paper and then roll all around to crack the shell, put it back in the cold water and repeat with the rest of the eggs. Then take each cracked egg out of the water, roll it around to further loosen the shell and start peeling on the paper towels. The shells will come off pretty easily and the eggs will not get bruised from pieces of shell sticking to them. If a piece of shell does stick whisk the egg in the ice water and it will release.
Once you have peeled all of your eggs on the paper toweling you can just gather that mess up and give it a toss. Easy, peezy. Bruised whites aren’t an issue if your making egg salad, but if your making deviled eggs or eggs for Passover you want those eggs to look perfect.
Just in case you didn’t know. The fresher the egg the harder it is to peel. Older eggs are best for egg salad and deviled eggs.
Now it’s all a matter of preference and a matter of taste. I take my perfectly cooked eggs and cut them up.
My preferred basic ingredients for a great egg salad is onion, (either green or yellow) celery, yellow mustard, mayonnaise, salt, and pepper. In this recipe I use 3 eggs that makes 2 very generous sandwiches, green onion including some of the green tops and 3 small pieces of celery because that what I had on hand. Trust me this isn’t a rocket science dish. Just multiply the ingredients for 4/6/8 etc. being careful you do not over goop it with the mayo and mustard. Taste and texture count.
I prefer plain old French’s yellow mustard to Dijon or stone ground for my egg salad, and I do not over salt because both the mustard and mayo have salt in them.
Mince the onions and celery
Smash the eggs with a potato masher. I like my egg salad finely smashed and find this old fashioned tool does a great job. The edge works to break up the whites and the smasher, smashes smashingly well.
Once the egg salad is to your desired degree of texture, chunky or smashed add the mayo and mustard, salt and pepper to taste. I probably used a good tablespoon of mayo, a tsp of mustard and a generous pinch or so of salt along with 4 good grinds of pepper. Toss in the onion and celery(or anything else you might decide to use) and mix it up. Taste for seasoning. Adjust as you see fit.
That look about right to me.
There it is. All one has to do is to decide what you are going to do with it. Stuff into Belgium endive leaves, sprinkle with hot Spanish smoked paprika or a shake of dill. Stuff into avocado halves or scooped out tomato halves. Pack into a ramekin and set out with thin toasted buttered rye bites or potato chips. Cut a cucumber in half and scoop out the seeds, stuff with egg salad and press the two halves together, cut into rounds. Makes a great appetizer or snack. You have a basic canvas. Toss in sweet or dill pickles chopped fine or top with fried capers, sliced radish or what ever you fancy. Go for it! Dust with shaved truffles, truffle or lavender salt. You just never know how fabulous egg salad can be or how wonderful such a simple dish is to satisfy the tummy and the soul. Plus for me it always bring back wonderful memories.
And there you have it. My very first food blog complete with not so great pictures.. but I did have fun and the egg salad was delicious. Today’s special for my ever lov’n served up on a Sesame bagel from Rounds Bagels my favorite bagel shop in Reno Nevada.
Let me know if you liked it too. Thanks.