On Wednesday we decorated eggs. I had invited four children from our building to introduce them to the fine art of egg dyeing. The French don't "do" decorated Easter eggs. And so I combined the American egg dyeing tradition with the French tradition of the afternoon "gouter" (snack time). The result? Small children on a sugar high with lots of dye and fragile eggs. I didn't have time to take photos. If you want to see photos of a cute kid dyeing eggs, you can check my post from last Easter, when I only had one toddler to contend with.
Although I sent the children away with a box of decorated eggs each, I still had nearly 20 hard boiled eggs in my refrigerator when the day was done. The Critic doesn't like hard boiled eggs. The baby can't have them. And I'm pretty sure the toddler is going to turn up his nose at them too, though I'm going to try to convince him how good they are. It's a good thing I like egg salad.
A lot people turn up their noses at the humble egg salad and I think it's a shame. I used to have a boyfriend who would get midnight cravings for 7-11 egg salad sandwiches and I have to admit that disliking them IS justifiable. (Should have known he was a bad egg...sorry couldn't resist!) Egg salad needs to be freshly made and with good ingredients. It needs to be kept cold. I prefer it on a slice of whole wheat bread in a sandwich, but it can also shine on a bed of crisp leaves. However, it should never ever know the inside of a plastic 7-11 sandwich box.
This is the version I made today for lunch and it was lovely. However, the mayonnaise and vinegar can be a base for many other combinations: you could omit the pickles and replace them with anchovies, or capers. I like the crunchiness of mustard seed, but you could replace it with mustard powder or cumin. Bacon bits can also be a lovely addition, especially if you can find some tomatoes with flavor (difficult in March, I know). You can fold soft fresh herbs such as chives or chervil into the eggs or top them with salty oeufs de lompe for a flavor-packed crunch. I have 18 eggs left to experiment and the possibilities are endless...
Easter Egg Salad (makes 2 generous sandwiches or enough for two salads with a bed of lettuce)
I like to make small quantities of egg salad so that it's always fresh. Hard boiled eggs can keep for quite a while in the refrigerator, but once the eggs are in a salad they seem to go stale quickly.
4 hard boiled eggs, roughly chopped
4 gherkin pickles or half an American sized pickle, chopped finely
2 Tbs red wine vinegar
4 Tbs mayonnaise
1 Tbs mustard seed
1 small shallot, minced finely
Gently mix all the ingredients together. Serve on whole wheat bread in a sandwich or on a bed of salad.
Happy Easter everyone!