Cracking egg salad

Just about anything goes when making egg salad. Raid your fridge for condiments and fresh vegetables and the variations can be endless. Of course you can always go for the basic chopped eggs with mayo only. But why settle? I think a good egg salad should be as much about texture as taste.

Recipe (makes 4 to 5 sandwiches)

  • 6 to 7 – Hard boiled eggs
  • 3 to 4 tbsp each – Chopped red onion, pickles, cucumber, parsley
  • 4 tbsp – Mayonnaise
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Alternatives:

  • 3 to 4 tbsp each – Chopped celery, capers, lettuce, chives, bread crumbs
  • 2 tbsp – Mustard (with 2 tbsp of mayo)
  • Pinch – Turmeric, smoked Paprika, Cayenne Pepper

And there are so many ways to serve this up. Try a cup of egg salad on top of some lightly dressed romaine lettuce, spinach, beet greens or thick-sliced tomato. Respect the classics and go for an egg salad sandwich, plain or toasted. Other variations could be a wrap, bagel or open-faced rye bread egg salad sandwich with sprouts. Remember, texture is important. You don’t want just a pile of eggy mush.

Hard boiled eggs

Want to know how to make a great egg salad even better? By boiling those eggs properly! Believe it or not there’s more to it than just putting eggs in water and cooking the @#$% out of them. Boiling eggs the right way requires an attentive eye and some patience. Here’s a fail-proof method I use.

  1. Place the eggs in enough water so that they’re covered over by about an inch.
  2. Put the heat on high and let the water come to a boil. Don’t walk away!
  3. When you start to see large bubbles in the water, lower the temperature to an active simmer. Turn on your timer to 9 or 10 minutes. I prefer 9 minutes.
  4. When the timer dings, drain out the hot water and run cold water over the eggs. This stops the cooking.
  5. Pour out the cold water and lightly slam the eggs around in the empty pot until the shells crack a bit. Add more cold water. Repeat this step a few more times then pile in some ice. The cracking allows water to get in behind the shell which makes for easier peeling.

Lowering the temperature after the water comes to a boil is important. Eggs cooked over too high a heat, for too long, will have an off-putting green sulfur film around the yoke.

I recently switched to buying fresh eggs from the farmer’s market. Truthfully, I can’t say I taste a huge difference between them and ones from the grocery store. To tell if your eggs are fresh is very simple. A fresh egg will have a compact yoke and the white will be dense, sitting in a watery outer layer. As an egg ages the yoke will spread out and flatten and the white will look more like water.

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