You never know where you’ll learn a life-altering cooking technique. Longtime readers will know that I glean most of my food knowledge from Saturday afternoon PBS cooking shows (hat-tips to Lidia, Bridget & Julia, and Mary Ann Esposito), but today’s post is a result of following pastry chef extraordinaire Nicole Rucker on Instagram.
After mastering April Bloomfield’s recipe for Deviled Eggs, I woke up the next day–a Saturday, as a matter of fact–and thought about the ingredients I still had on hand from the previous day’s venture: homemade mayo, eggs, those same pickled chilies. I also saw English muffins. What if I made a Deviled Egg Salad and put it on the English muffin? Wouldn’t that be a treat?
Of all the shameful things a home cook can do, the most shameful is letting leftovers go to waste.
I’ve been guilty of this; maybe I’m craving sushi instead of yesterday’s lentil soup, and the lentil soup sits, gathering mold over the weeks, and getting tossed when it might’ve provided a perfectly satisfying second night dinner. But lentil soup is one thing, meat is another. And when you have leftover meat, you have absolutely no excuse not to make a sandwich.
Cooking, sometimes, is like a game. The game changes from dish to dish, but often, for me, the game is: How Can I Make This Better Without Leaving My Apartment?
This is a fun game to play, especially when you’re making something as pedestrian as an egg salad sandwich. You boil the eggs, you peel them, then you put them into a bowl and look at them. That’s when the game starts.
I, Egg Salad, am superior to your egg salad. Why you ask? For starters, my eggs are always perfectly cooked. They start in cold water and then the heat is raised until it’s boiling, then it’s taken off the heat, a lid is placed and they sit like that for 15 minutes. I bet your eggs have green rings around them; not mine! Again, I’m superior.
Once cooked like that, my eggs are submerged in ice water and then peeled under a running faucet to make it easier for the egg to separate from the shell. Once peeled, my eggs are NOT smashed in a bowl with a fork like your grandmother used to do. No, no, no. My eggs are placed on a cutting board and cut into dainty little cubes. Precious? Perhaps; but darling no doubt!
Diced, the eggs dive into a bowl and are adorned with a loving dollop of mayo: not too much or we’ll lose our eggy essence. For a kick, some mustard; kosher salt, pepper and here’s the real kicker: capers. And celery. And paprika and just a dash of cayenne pepper.
Those are my secrets, you unworthy secret hearer. I am Egg Salad, and I am superior to you and all that you represent. I am served on toasted whole wheat bread with salt and vinegar potato chips. I am wonderful, you know it. Kiss my feet.
Prepare to be repulsed or impressed or both! After leaving the movies yesterday (“Paris, je t’aime”), I was too full from popcorn to make something elaborate for dinner and too restless to get something to go. So I popped into my local late night organic food & drug store (seriously, there’s one on the corner) and bought peanut butter and bread: I was going to make peanut butter and jelly. But, as I continued home, I realized that after all that popcorn I wanted something green. And it was too late to buy anything fresh and green–the stores that sell green things were closed. So when I got into my apartment, I opened my fridge and saw the green onions and cilantro from the day before’s Otsu. What if I mixed the peanut butter with soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, lime juice (I had a lime), and sesame seeds and spread it on the bread and then topped it with some of those greens? It’d be like an Asian noodle salad except in sandwich form. And that’s exactly what I did and what you see above. It was flavorful and exotic and it required no more effort than making a PB&J. Are you impressed? Are you repulsed? Hey–you don’t have to make it. But if you do make it, make sure to give me credit: it’s my new signature sandwich.