Egg Salad: The Good, the Bad, the Easy
By Deborah Salomon
Sandwich fillings come and go, but egg salad is forever.
I adore egg salad, but only good egg salad. Unfortunately, most restaurants ruin what is drop-dead simple, if done right. Too much mayonnaise, tough eggs, not enough greens - yuck.
We can fix that with a food processor and a few tricks.
The older the egg, the easier the peel. Therefore, use eggs that you've had for a week or two. For about five sandwiches, cover eight large or extra-large eggs with warm water and set pot on low heat for a few minutes to prevent cold eggs from cracking. Raise heat to barely a simmer and cook for 8 to 10 minutes. Rinse with cold water and peel immediately to prevent yolk discoloration.
Now, put a celery heart - pale inner ribs with leaves - two scallions, white and green parts, a handful of parsley leaves (remove tough stems) and any other fresh herbs on hand in work bowl. Process until finely chopped. Cut warm eggs in half, add to processor and pulse until eggs are uniformly chopped but not mushy.
Warm eggs have a soft consistency which requires less mayo to bind.
Scrape the eggs and greens into a bowl. Add two or more tablespoons of sweet relish, preferably Heinz, a squirt of mustard and just enough regular or reduced fat mayonnaise to hold the mixture together. Taste, then season with salt and pepper. (Mustard and relish may provide enough salt.)
The egg salad will firm up as it chills.
That's the basic method. I like to chop a few pimento-stuffed olives with the celery and herbs. A small slice of green bell pepper also adds flavor. For a pleasant sting, use a spoonful of horseradish sauce instead of all mayonnaise.
For a lovely presentation, make your sandwich with pumpernickel bread and a single curly red lettuce leaf. Because this egg salad is spreadable, you can smear it on bagel halves and serve open-faced. I like it wrapped with baby spinach leaves in a whole-wheat tortilla. Or scoop out a tomato half and fill with egg salad, 1950s-style.
Sardine lovers must spread egg salad on a long lavosh or Rye-Krisp cracker and top with a single fish. Kids never outgrow party sandwiches: crustless thin-sliced whole wheat and white bread spread with egg salad.
Needless to say, with deli meats chocked full of chemicals costing $6-$7 per pound, a perfect egg salad sandwich is more than a bargain. It's a revelation.
Contact Deborah Salomon at email@example.com.
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