Of course the most important thing about egg salad is how you cook the eggs and I definitely have a preference: hard cooked. I like the additions to the egg to flavor the salad but you certainly can cook them less and allow a creamier yolk to reduce the additions. I will provide information for both but whatever you do, don’t let anyone tell you more yolks aren’t better; they make the dish!
Now for the eggs, I will use 6 for this blog…..
Start a pan large enough to fit the eggs filled half full of water over high heat (make certain the amount of water will cover the eggs when you place them in the pan), make sure it has a tight fitting lid. When the water reaches a rolling boil, remove the eggs from the refrigerator (they need to be cold) and place in the pot with a slotted spoon, add a tablespoon of baking soda and put the lid on the pot. Turn off the heat.
Let the eggs sit for:
- 12 minutes for hard cooked
- 9 for medium cooked
- 7 minutes for soft cooked
Just before you have reached the desired time to let the eggs sit, make an ice bath in a bowl large enough to hold your eggs and not send water over the edges when you put them in the bath.
Once they have set for the time you desire, dump the hot water but leave the eggs in the pot. Put the lid back on and shake the pot well, banging around the eggs to really crack the shells. Remove the lid and dump the eggs in the ice bath, let sit for ~5 minutes. The eggs should slip right out of the shells.
[Note: You want to make sure the eggs are not warm when you begin to assemble the egg salad so let them sit in the bath until they no longer feel warm on your hands.]
Now let’s talk about texture, you know how I feel about texture because I talk about it a lot…..
The best method for achieving the best texture of your eggs is a potato ricer, seriously just get one please. You can use it for the fluffiest mashed potatoes (see note), the smoothest cauliflower puree, easier avocado mash for guacamole, juicing quartered fruit, smashing bananas for banana bread, the list goes on and on for a tool that costs an average of $30! This is the one I have and I have had it for about 10 years, no issues and I use it on the regular!
[Note: if you boil whole potatoes for your mashed potatoes, the ricer will PEEL THEM FOR YOU! No more grated knuckles or grating your skin with that terrible peeler! Just place the hot potatoes in the ricer and press, that’s it!]
Take four of the eggs whole and place in the ricer, discard the white from two of the eggs and put the yolks only in the ricer; apply the plunger and “rice” the eggs. Look at the consistency of these eggs, it really does make a difference!
Set the riced eggs aside to cool a little more and start assembling your mise en place (your ingredients ready to mix), this helps with clean up.
I like to add the following to my egg salad but use it as a guide, add whatever you like. One thing to remember is that I purchase things I can use again for other purposes which is why I chop pickles, I can use them for another purpose instead of having a jar of relish but I wouldn’t usually use relish anyway because of the extra liquid, just an example of making your money/purchase go further:
- Mini sweet pickles finely chopped (you can use sweet relish but it is a little watery so it can affect the final texture)
- Fresh dill minced (you can use dried too)
- Mini dill pickles or cornichon if you can find them (you can also use dill relish but, again, it is watery and can affect the final texture)
- Mayonnaise (of course use Duke’s if you can find it but I make mine often, it is really easy and you have everything in your house!)
- Dijon mustard
- Yellow Mustard
- Smoked Paprika
- Salt and Pepper
Set it all out, chop the things that need chopping and have everything ready to add as you need it.
For six eggs, I usually start with ~1 tbsp of mayo because you don’t want it to be too “runny”, I add in a generous squirt of yellow mustard, a tsp of Dijon, a small dash of cayenne, ~1/2 tsp paprika, three small pickles (sweet and dill each so six total) and about a tbsp of the dill. Mix together and add about three churns of sea salt and fresh pepper (from the mills) or a dash of salt and pepper. Sea salt only please, don’t use that crap in the round blue paper can…..
If it seems a little dry for your liking, I would add more yellow mustard. This will add more flavor without a significant amount of calories, more mayo gives it a more bland flavor. Add small amounts, mix well and evaluate for consistency; if you need to add more, just do it with very small amounts at a time.
The bread, the glorious bread. It is no secret how I feel about bread…..
The bread here is really important and I am a big advocate of making your own bread (click here for my easy and quick crusty bread recipe that you can make in ~2 hours!) because it can be used for so many things. Granted, it doesn’t last as long as store bought bread but that’s okay because it gets better with age for french toast, regular toast, croutons, bread pudding, etc. Just make a loaf and toast it up for a fresh egg salad sandwich!
There are two schools of thought on sandwich bread, soft and pillowy or thick and crusty; you need a hearty bread to stand up to a good egg salad. If you don’t want to make your own bread, buy one of the baked loaves from the market bakery because it is just a good! Whether it is homemade or store bought, slice it thick (discard the ends or save to dip in hummus!) and toast just enough to have the outside crusty but the inside remains softer.
That’s it really, slather some egg salad on the bread and enjoy while the bread is still a little warm from the toaster. Add whatever you like, think about some chopped arugula or spinach to bulk it up and add some texture, maybe some raw red onion or bacon to amp it up a little. Use whatever you have to make it your special dish, it’s your food so make it your own!