Last class I taught you how to make the timeless classic, Oysters Rockefeller. This week I’m going to teach another classic, Egg Salad. I always loved this dish, but it wasn’t until I traveled to France in my early twenties that I realized not only was this dish delicious, but it was also versatile. I was staying at a little hotel in Paris and the first night I was there I walked out the lobby door and saw a little cart. The man was selling, of all things, egg salad sandwiches! But this was definitely not the egg salad from my childhood. He used just the yolks and it was whipped with luscious French mayonnaise, Dijon mustard and capers. He then spread it thinly on a warm baguette. I can still taste that super eggy salad with the slight acidity from the briny capers and how it played so well against the chew of that warm baguette. I think I ate one at least every day I was in France.
In this class I will teach you three types of egg salad: French, All-American and healthy.
Before I go into the recipes I want to talk about creating perfect hard-boiled eggs. Believe it or not, there is a technique to boiling eggs. When done correctly, eggs peel easily, the white is firm and the yolk is a gorgeous bright yellow.
First carefully put the eggs in a large saucepan. Next fill it with cold water until the water is just an inch above the eggs. Why cold water? Because this makes sure the egg cooks evenly from the inside out. Now add a generous amount of salt and a couple of tablespoons of white vinegar. The salt helps them peel easily and the vinegar keeps the yolks yellow. Put the pan uncovered over high heat and let the water come to a boil. Once boiling, cover the pan and remove it from the heat. Let the eggs sit covered for twelve minutes. At the end of the twelve minutes you have perfectly hard-boiled eggs. Now you want to stop the cooking and immediately cool the eggs. This will result in a much easier peel. So drain the water from the pan and fill it back up with ice water. Let the eggs cool in the water about 10 minutes.
Store them in the fridge until you are ready to use them.
Now that we have fabulous hard-boiled eggs, let’s get cooking!
For each recipe you will use six large hard-boiled eggs. This will make two generous servings of egg salad. I want to start with the healthy egg salad. This recipe will use only egg whites, so reserve the yolks for the French version. You will need: six egg whites, two tablespoons low fat mayonnaise, ½ a jalapeno (minced, seeds & ribs removed), ¼ of a minced shallot, ½ an avocado diced, juice of ½ a lemon, one tablespoon chopped cilantro, salt, pepper, large bowl, potato masher and a large spoon.
First put the egg whites in the bowl and use the potato masher to break up the eggs. You want them to be finely mashed. Next add in the mayonnaise, jalapeno, shallot and cilantro. Stir to combine. Squeeze the lemon over the diced avocado and then add into the bowl. Stir. Finally, salt and pepper to taste. I like to serve this over a bed of lightly dressed greens or as a dip with whole wheat crackers.
Now, we will use those yolks for my version of a French egg salad. You will need: six egg yolks, one teaspoon Dijon mustard, two tablespoons mayonnaise, one tablespoon Boursin cheese, ¼ teaspoon drained and minced capers, salt, pepper, potato masher, large bowl and a large spoon. Note that Boursin is a soft French cheese with garlic and herbs. You can find it in the deli section of your supermarket. First put the egg yolks in the bowl and mash them until they are completely smooth. Next add in the mayonnaise, Dijon, Boursin and capers. Stir to combine. Finally, salt and pepper to taste. I like this as I had it in France, spread thinly over a good baguette.
The final recipe is the All-American egg salad. For this you will need: six hard-boiled eggs, ¼ cup mayonnaise, one teaspoon whole grain mustard, one tablespoon finely minced red onion, one tablespoon finely minced celery, salt, pepper, one tablespoon chopped gherkin pickles, a large bowl, potato masher and a large spoon. Put the eggs into the bowl and using the masher, break them up until they are a large dice. Now add the mayonnaise, mustard, onion, celery and gherkins. Stir until combined and then salt and pepper to taste. I like this as I remember it from my youth, on soft whole wheat bread with a little iceberg lettuce.
Okay, now that you have these recipes, have some fun! Make the All-American version richer by adding a few extra egg yolks. Make the healthy version a little more classic by omitting the avocado, jalapeno and cilantro and add in low sugar relish and diced celery. Serve the French version topped with thinly sliced ham on crostini for a fabulous appetizer. Remember, as with any technique or recipe, the most important component is the cook’s heart. The heart is what helps you create delicious meals you’ll never forget.
Chef Flowers has over 25 years of fine cuisine experience. The former Executive Chef at Top of The Market, San Diego, also owned Fournos restaurant in Sedona, Arizona, named a top 25 restaurant in Arizona. He was also Executive Chef at L’Auberge de Sedona, the AAA Four-Diamond, Four Star award winning restaurant. Flowers has created extraordinary cuisine for some of the finest restaurants in Arizona, including T. Cooks at Scottsdale's Royal Palms Resort and the Phoenician's Mary Elaine's and Different Pointe of View.