Slew of recipes seasons versatile salad ingredient

To go with the deviled-egg recipes circulating in food publications and on websites around Easter, egg-salad recipes abound. It’s so predictable you’d think this holiday was the only time anyone hard-boiled eggs.

Of course, there are people (my husband being one) put off by what they perceive as the sulfurous smell of hard-boiled eggs. And then there are egg lovers like me who boil a batch about every week. I love them sliced in green salads, as a sandwich filling or all on their own as a snack. In fact, there are few foods so inexpensive, nutritious, satisfying or portable as a hard-boiled in its shell.

Speaking of eggshells, a recent Los Angeles Times piece confirmed what I already suspected and advocated in last week’s story for A la Carte. Chilling eggs — if need be in an ice-water bath — is key to peeling them easily. LA Times food writer Russ Parsons also tried cooking eggs in salted water and water with baking soda to see if those methods made peeling easier (they didn’t, he reported).

For really fresh eggs, which are hardest to peel, crack the shells first by rolling them around in the pan used to cook them after the water’s been drained off. When the shells are lightly crackled all over, transfer them to an ice-water bath.

Even if they don’t get cracked first, Parsons says that because eggshells are porous, ice water will seep into the egg given enough time. He let them soak for about 45 minutes and reported that peeling them was about as easy as when they were cracked.

But back to what to do with hard-boiled eggs. Almost peerless versatility is an attribute of eggs, of which I often take advantage. When it comes to my egg-salad sandwiches, though, I’m a traditionalist, using Best Foods mayonnaise, just a squirt of French’s mustard (more for color than flavor) and, depending on how I’m feeling and the season, a rotating cast of simple seasonings: usually granulated garlic, Old Bay, cayenne and curry powder but also dill and, this time of year, fresh chives.

I also like these ideas from the “Cowgirl Chef” Ellise Pierce, who writes for McClatchy News Service. The first would be ideal with a fresh-baked baguette. And the egg-salad tostada is one that never would have crossed my mind but perhaps could tempt even my husband.

MCT photo

Egg Salad Frenchy

6 large eggs

10 French cornichons, chopped

1 heaping tablespoon Best Foods mayonnaise

1⁄2 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Pinch piment d’Espelette (optional; see note)

Sea salt and pepper, to taste

1 baguette, sliced

Put the eggs in a saucepan, cover with water by 2 inches, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. When water boils, cover, reduce heat to a simmer and time for 10 minutes. Carefully pour off hot water, then run cold water run over eggs until they’re cool enough to peel. Roughly chop eggs and put them in a bowl.

Add the cornichons, mayonnaise, mustard, piment d’Espelette and salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving on toasted baguette with an additional sprinkle of piment d’Espelette for color.

Makes enough for 2 large or 4 regular-size sandwiches.

NOTE: Piment d’Espelette is a chili pepper from the Southwest of France, milder than cayenne and without the smokiness of chipotle or Spanish paprika. It can be found in specialty stores. As there is not an American equivalent, if you can’t find it, simply leave it out, and the egg salad still will be delicious.

 

Egg Salad Texy-Mexy

6 eggs

1 avocado, peeled, pitted and chopped

Small handful of fresh cilantro, roughly chopped (plus additional for serving)

1 chipotle chili (in adobo), finely chopped

Sea salt, to taste

4 corn tortillas

1 lime, cut into wedges (for serving)

Put the eggs in a saucepan, cover with water by 2 inches, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. When water boils, cover, reduce heat to a simmer and time for 10 minutes. Carefully pour off hot water, then run cold water run over eggs until they’re cool enough to peel. Roughly chop eggs and put them in a bowl.

Add the avocado, cilantro, chopped chipotle and salt to taste. Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.

To serve, preheat oven to broil. When hot, toast the tortillas by putting them directly on oven rack, making sure to flip them to other side after about a minute. Be sure to watch them carefully so they don’t burn. Spoon a quarter of egg salad on each tortilla and sprinkle with a little more cilantro. Serve with the lime wedges.

Makes enough for 4 tostadas.

 

Egg Salad Mediterraneo

6 eggs

6 cherry tomatoes, chopped

10 artichoke heart quarters (in oil), chopped

6 fresh basil leaves, chopped (with additional for serving)

8 Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped

1 heaping tablespoon Best Foods mayonnaise

Sea salt and pepper, to taste

Put the eggs in a saucepan, cover with water by 2 inches, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. When water boils, cover, reduce heat to a simmer and time for 10 minutes. Carefully pour off hot water, then run cold water run over eggs until they’re cool enough to peel. Roughly chop eggs and put them in a bowl.

Add the cherry tomatoes, artichoke hearts, basil, olives, mayonnaise, salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving, preferably on toasted, grainy bread, open-faced, with a bit more chopped basil on top.

Makes enough for 4 sandwiches.

 

Egg Salad Fancy-Schmancy

6 eggs

Small handful fresh dill, chopped (plus more for serving)

1 tablespoon capers, chopped

1 heaping tablespoon Best Foods mayonnaise

Sea salt and pepper, to taste

1 (5.29-ounce) box of tiny toasts

3.5 ounces smoked salmon, sliced into small pieces

Put the eggs in a saucepan, cover with water by 2 inches, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. When water boils, cover, reduce heat to a simmer and time for 10 minutes. Carefully pour off hot water, then run cold water run over eggs until they’re cool enough to peel. Grate eggs and put them in a bowl.

Add the dill, capers, mayonnaise, salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.

When ready to serve, spoon egg salad on the toasts, top with a piece of the salmon and sprinkle a bit more dill on top.

Makes enough for about 2 dozen hors d’oeuvres-sized toasts.

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    Sarah Lemon

    Sarah Lemon covers the Rogue Valley’s food scene with an enthusiasm that rivals her love of cooking. Her blog mixes culinary musings and milestones with tips and recipes you won’t find in the Mail Tribune’s weekly A la Carte section. When ... Read Full
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