6.25.2013

The Egg Man


Eggs. They are the new black. Or at least the new bacon. Eggs can be used in every type of meal in countless ways: sunny side up, scrambled, frittata'd or used to coat bread for French toast for breakfast, on top of a burger at lunch, deviled eggs for a snack, over roasted asparagus, in an avgolemono soup or used to make a pasta for dinner and even baked into cakes, cookies, whipped into meringues for dessert. You can have them soft, medium or hard boiled, or go for the sixty-two degree version. The options are endless.
And the types of eggs with which to play are also numerous: chicken eggs, duck eggs, quail eggs, ostrich eggs, fish eggs (roe and caviar). Think of the infinite creations and myriad of recipes using all manner of eggs. And, in every single type of regional cuisine, from Japanese to Italian to Israeli to every place.
I've got it: eggs are the little black dress of food. Dressed up or dressed down, accessorized or kept simple. A classic. A staple. And much like always wanting to have that little, black dress in your closet, one always wants eggs on hand in the refrigerator.
One iteration of the egg I haven't seen much of in recent memory (save for untouched in deli cases), but I grew up with, is egg salad. I know a lot of people get a little ooged out by proteins followed by the word salad: tuna salad, ham salad, chicken salad, shrimp salad, egg salad, and the grossest of all, Jell-o salad. Usually these salads involve mayonnaise as a binder, and there is a pretty substantial anti-mayo cult out there. This particular family of salads is also considered straight old school. It can be grouped into things like casserole, Betty Crocker and the like which dates back to the 1950s and 1960s.
Even though, theoretically, these salads should fall into the category of not suitable for packed lunches or picnics, what with the mayonnaise and the tuna fish and the eggs and all, that is exactly where they do fall. How many of you had one of these fill-in-the-blank salad sandwiches, wrapped tidily in wax paper in your lunch box or brown paper lunch bag? How many of you have had one of these fill-in-the-blank salads on sandwiches, crackers, on top of lettuce or just straight out of their container on a picnic? I am willing to bet quite a few.

My dad had to learn how to make shrimp salad in a home economics class in high school in the mid 1960s. He food poisoned himself. So I don't recall much of that around growing up. But, between Mom and Dad, there was a lot of tuna salad, chicken salad, and a weird-but-totally-delicious sandwich my mom packed for school lunch involving cream cheese and sliced green olives between two slices of bread. But, though I'm not sure why, my dad's egg salad always stood out to me. Whenever he made it, which was usually for a late-afternoon, dog days of Summer snack, I was thrilled.
Egg salad is one of those things I have never given mountains of thought. I could probably count on one hand the times I've ordered it out. But I order chicken and tuna salads often. And make them. And even more often, I order, and prepare at home, deviled eggs. And really, a deviled egg is pretty much the same thing as egg salad, but constructed differently.
As we have deemed June picnic month here at F for Food, and June is when his birthday falls and, of course, Father's Day, I called my dad to find out his egg salad recipe to take on our next picnic. He made a couple of batches so he could recall his recipe-non-recipe and sent it forth. He wanted to let you know that either white or wheat bread is acceptable but the bread you choose MUST be a soft bread and it is certainly not to be toasted. And if you must add lettuce, tomato or bacon, feel free. But he won't be having any of that.


I left the recipe in his words since they are so extremely cute. Googier?! I love it.

Steve's Egg Salad
Makes enough egg salad for 3 or 4 sandwiches.
6 hard boiled eggs:
(Foolproof hard boiled eggs can be made as follows: Start the eggs in cold water, bring the water to a boil, then remove the pan from the heat, cover and let the eggs sit for 10 minutes.)
The cool or room temperature eggs are peeled and chopped up in a mixing bowl.  I use a fork and do a mixture of slicing and pressing to get my desired base. A mixer makes it too creamy.
Add and mix:
1/3 cup Duke's mayo. You can add a little more if you want it googier.
1 tablespoon brown spicy mustard
1/2 kosher dill pickle, finely chopped
1/4  teaspoon ground pepper, kosher salt & (secret ingredient) vinegar.
Bon appetite, y all.


Two years ago: Artichoke-Potato Hash
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