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October 08, 2013

Fit for Royality--Egg Salad

Egg Salad Sandwiches with Sprouts
Egg salad has always been a popular luncheon salad, particularly among women. Both my grandmother and my mother favored egg salad. When I was in college, my girlfriends and I would lunch at a local coffee shop where the egg salad sandwiches ranged from the basic, to the sublime, decked out with all sorts of unimaginable ingredients. Aside from its dainty reputation, egg salad is high in protein and it sticks to your ribs, making it the perfect salad for a man.

It's no wonder then, that egg salad was the creation of a man, namely, French chef, Marie Antoine Carême who is responsible for mayonnaise, as we know it today. Orphaned by his parents during the French Revolution, Carême was left to fend for himself. He soon found refuge working in a restaurant where he quickly learned the craft. He went on to make quite a name for himself, particularly because he was well known for his towering confections built from marzipan and spun sugar. Eventually, he even cooked for the French Royals.

Whether he ever served his egg salad as a snack for the king or queen, we'll never know--that information is forever lost to history. We can assume, however, that when Carême was whipping up his concoction, it was never intended to go between two slices of bread. True enough, the sandwich was just coming into fashion, but in France it was all about Le Grande Cuisine--everything was bigger, better, and more elaborate. In fact, it was Carême who was responsible for designing the chef's toque--the high chef's hat--and categorizing the Mother Sauces.

While egg salad may have a colorful history, it's also pretty darn good. The proof is in its staying power. With almost 3 centuries of satisfying eaters worldwide, it's no wonder egg salad is still a popular choice among the lunch bunch. I've tweaked the recipe, just a bit, to give the salad an ethereal quality fit for royalty.


Egg Salad Fit for a Queen
8 hard boiled eggs, peeled
2 teaspoons sweet pickle relish
2 teaspoons super finely minced onion, rinsed and squeezed dry
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
2 tablespoons creme fraiche
good quality mayonnaise
dash of hot sauce
salt and pepper to taste

1. On the a grater, use the fine holes to grate 6 of the eggs into a bowl.
2. Cut the 2 remaining eggs in half and put the yolks into a small bowl; grate the whites and mix in with the grated eggs.
3. Add the sweet pickle relish, the onion, and the mustard to the egg mixture, then add enough mayonnaise to bind the ingredients together, but so that the mixture remains very firm.
4. Mash the 2 egg yolks together with the creme fraiche and the hot sauce.
5. Combine egg yolk mixture with the egg salad mixture and stir to combine.
6. Add salt and pepper to taste.
7. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Serve any way you would like, but I highly recommend putting a scoop between 2 lightly buttered slices of rye bread, and adding a generous handful of sprouts.

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