Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Update on a Classic

I never really thought the first post on my blog would be devoted to egg salad. First, I always thought it seemed like a strange food, mushy and smelly and generally unappetizing. Second, it's not exactly haute cuisine and it seems to be one of those love/hate foods — the sheer mention of its name brings either looks of disgust or dreamy smiles.

But recently, I saw an episode of Barefoot Contessa on Food Network where Ina Garten made an updated, fresh version of egg salad that looked neither gloppy nor soggy. Hers had dill, my very favorite herb, and was served as a French tartine — basically an open-faced sandwich — atop smoked salmon. It looked delicious.

Then, Heidi from 101cookbooks.com posted another version with celery, lemon juice, chives and about half the mayo the traditional recipe uses. Hers also looked lovely.

I was intrigued. I decided to try my hand at making a tastier version of the deli classic. A combination of those two recipes was the inspiration for my update of the egg salad sandwich. I decided to contrast of the soft egg salad with crusty bread and made it open-faced. The whole thing takes less than 20 minutes, and half of that is waiting for the eggs to cook. It's super cheap to make, and served with a salad, it's a perfect, light lunch.

Updated Egg Salad Sandwich
serves 2

5 eggs
Scant 1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon capers, drained and lightly chopped
1 tablespoon fresh chopped dill
Light squeeze of lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Crusty French baguette cut diagonally into 1/4-inch-thick slices

Put eggs in a pan and cover with about 1/2 inch of water. Cover and bring to a boil. When the water boils, turn off heat and let sit, covered, 9-10 minutes. Drain and plunge into ice water or run under cold water for a few minutes to stop the cooking.

Peel eggs and place in a large bowl with the mayo and mustard. Using a fork, lightly mash eggs until they are in small pieces, being careful not to over-mash. Stir in capers, dill, lemon juice and salt & pepper.

To serve, toast the baguette (or any crusty bread) at 350 degrees for 10 minutes until crisp but not dry. Mound egg salad on baguette slices and serve.

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