Thursday, March 22, 2007
Egg salad? What's the big deal, right? Who doesn't know how to make egg salad? But this egg salad is something special.
I'm not a very enthusiastic egg eater but my doctor is now urging me to consume what strikes me as an insane amount of protein. I think she'd be happy if I consumed half a cow a day. She knows my feelings on meat and has consequently encouraged me to up my egg intake.
You won't see me wolfing down a plate of scrambled, fried, or over-easy eggs. I like my eggs hidden, disguised, tucked away. A sandwich is perfect but the standard, bland, full-of-mayonnaise egg salad has never really done much for me. Years ago I read the wonderful memoir Miriam's Kitchen in which author Elizabeth Ehrlich explores both the spiritual and culinary sides of Judaism at the side of her mother-in-law, a Holocaust survivor. I loved the book, but all I ever cooked from it was the egg salad which is so distinctive that it really has little to do with the pale yellow goo we call by that name. This egg salad is special, you need to plan ahead just slightly and everyone who eats it will ask for more.
It starts, as so many good things do, with lots of deeply browned onions. Three or four onions to half a dozen eggs is a good ratio. Slice them thin or dice and then sauté in a mixture of 2 tablespoons butter and the same amount of olive oil. Here is where you need patience because the darker and sweeter you let the onions get, the better the egg salad will be. Boil half a dozen eggs, cool, peel, and chop finely in a good sized bowl. When the onions are perfectly dark and sweet, scrape them along with all the pan oil over the eggs. Add salt and pepper to taste, along with finely chopped fresh dill. That's it, really.
I served this today along with some freshly baked honey-whole wheat rolls and it was just about perfect with the windows open and a lovely blossom-scented spring breeze drifting through the kitchen . The friends who were supposed to come for lunch were unable to make it (now they know what they missed!) but we enjoyed the meal nonetheless.