One pleasure living in a large city such as New York is the great variety of stores catering to fancy needs. But in truth we certainly don’t need much to get by and that's where window-shopping comes in.
Harps and other chef’s tools
As a chef I feel like a child must in a Toys R Us store when I’m in a Williams Sonoma or Sur la Table type of store. These beautiful stores cater to most of the needs a serious home cook may have. Sous vide supreme (a newish slow cooking device) blenders and mixers of different sizes and brands nicely showcased on handsome looking butcher-block tables. Fancy knives, shiny polished stainless steel and copper pots, utensils such as well-crafted measuring spoons, ladles, electronic kitchen equipment such as well-designed scales, too good-looking to be used thermometer, the newest line of recommended skillets for the perfect steak and on and on. Many professional cooks dream of tools like this actually. Beautiful and decorative china in all sizes and shapes – want an elongated dish to line up olives like soldiers, need a bee house look-alike honey jar, dreamed of that pretty looking butter dish from breakfast at Tiffany’s, no problem you can get it all right here. Strolling in-between all this fanciness I came across a traditional egg slicer, which is a bit of an anachronistic gadget. One of those harp look-alike tools, which cut an egg in perfectly thin slices, sparked my interest in egg salad…again.
(colorful egg salad)
Old-fashioned egg salad
Many people have mastered egg salad simply because of its recipe. In its sparest form it’s simply some boiled eggs sliced (with that egg slicer) in two ways making a perfect small cube shape and a dollop of store bought mayo and off you go – it’s a dish. Most likely the mayo comes out of a store bought jar not realizing what the ingredients are since it has been having a place in the average household refrigerator next to the ketchup for so long. Think about it - when is the last time you made mayo? In fact it’s not that easy to make your own mayo at home without the additives that you’ll find in the store bought version. Some of you might actually have learned to make mayonnaise in a cooking class or some online tutorial. If not you may not know how to emulsify the ingredients since correct temperature and acidy level is required to whisk up a homogenous creamy mayonnaise. Don’t feel bad though since a good amount of cooks I have hired throughout my career have been failing on the house-made mayo task.
All that motivated me to make a version of egg salad without mayonnaise with all ingredients freshly cooked.
Egg Salad – hold the mayo!
(recipe yields four servings)
8 hard-boiled eggs
1/2 cup nuts such as pecans or walnuts
1 apple such as Granny Smith
½ teaspoon salt
10 black pepper grindings from a mill
- Peel eggs and separate yolks from egg white. Chop egg whites with a knife.
- Cut avocado in half remove seed. With a tablespoon remove avocado out of skin.
- Put avocado and cooked egg yolks in a bowl strainer. Press mixture with a rubber spatula through the strainer collecting the puree in a bow.
Put nuts into a paper towel and crush with a heavy object such as a small pot or thick bottomed glass. In a skillet toast crushed nuts on medium heat setting until browned.
- Cut apple off its core. Cut apple pieces into 1/8-inch cubes.
- In a bowl combine chopped egg white, pureed avocado/cooked yolk mixture, toasted nuts, cubed apple salt and fresh pepper.
Chef’s Tip: Serve the egg salad with toasted sprouted whole grain bread.