There’s nothing like a BLT in the summer and I thought I’d just about exhausted the possibilities for variations on that particular theme until one day I had some leftover bacon and was nursing a sudden yen for egg salad at the same time. Next thing I knew, there were egg salad BLTs on the table and much happy wonder to be had right alongside them. I mean, it is bacon and eggs, after all! I think they’re now on the permanent lunch or lazy dinner rotation and not only for summer.
Egg salad, the frugal, favorite, fast sandwich filling and sister to such kitchen stalwarts as tuna salad, ham salad, chicken salad, and so on, has what Tasting Table calls a “hazy history:”
It can never be known precisely who invented egg salad as we know it today, but The Nibble has done an admirable job tracing its likely origins. The inception point may well be an old English style of composed, layered salad known as salmagundi. The site suggests that someone in Britain may have created the first egg salad sandwich in the 19th century. In the U.S., Rooted In Foods tracked down an early recipe for "egg salad," turning up an 1899 article in a Hamilton, Ohio newspaper that calls for butter rather than mayonnaise. This does run counter to our earlier assertion that mayonnaise is essential to egg salad, but we have to let it slide. Read More: https://www.tastingtable.com/1110452/the-hazy-history-of-egg-salad/
I doubt many of us stir together our egg salad with butter these days but it does give me pause. There are innumerable versions of egg salad floating all over the world and at your house, too. What’s your favorite egg salad? Or do you just make what you make? Scroll down to CHANGE IT UP and TIPS, TOO for lots of ideas should you want some.
Certainly no two kitchens produce the same egg salad and maybe even one kitchen has trouble producing the exact same salad every single time. If you want to start an interesting cooking discussion, simply ask a group of cooks (or even two cooks) what is the best way to make potato salad. Just squint and think for a moment of the people you know –yourself included– who make potato salad and you’ll get the idea. No doubt egg salad is nearly the same. In fact, when I thought about posting an egg salad recipe, I had to think more than once about it. I just make egg salad. How it comes about is not in a book, on a recipe card, or online; it’s in my heart and it changes. For fun, and harkening back to being a young and novice cook, I looked up the recipe for egg salad in my old 70’s BETTY CROCKER. General cookbooks were rather encyclopedic and contained all of those sorts of things back then — everything from homemade bread to Christmas cookies to turkey gravy to carving a ham. I still look things up in it and the recipes and directions are dependable.
However you style it, you’ll be happy when you try this:
Egg Salad BLT Sandwiches
- 4 peeled hard-cooked eggs, chopped
- 1/3 cup minced celery
- 2 teaspoons minced red or green onion, less if all you have is yellow onion
- ¼ teaspoon EACH: kosher salt,* fresh ground pepper, and dried dill
- ¼ cup mayonnaise (I like Hellman’s/Best Food's, but use Duke's if you must. You'll need more for the toast.)
- 1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
- A dash or more of hot sauce (I like Tabasco.)
- 8 slices bread, well-toasted and spread with mayonnaise
- 4 pieces bacon, fried to a crispy crisp and cut in half
- Lettuce (I like arugula.) and sliced tomatoes for serving
- MAKE THE EGG SALAD: In a medium bowl, stir together all the egg salad ingredients, eggs – a dash of hot sauce. Taste and adjust seasonings. (See note below about salt.)
- MAKE AND SERVE THE SANDWICHES: Divide the egg salad between four of the pieces of toast, mayonnaise side up, and spread it evenly. Top the salads each with two halves of bacon, a few leaves of lettuce, and two or three slices of tomato. Grind a little pepper over the tomatoes. Add the other piece of toast, mayonnaise side down, cut in half, and serve immediately.
Could you use your own egg salad recipe? Bien sur (of course); do as you please. I just add mine because it creates a recipe here. But, if you’re interested in changing your egg salad game, do read on for nearly 25 other ideas below:
CHANGE IT UP and TIPS, TOO:
- Go veggie on your version? Leave off the bacon, of course. Add minced cucumber, zucchini, carrots, fennel, sweet peppers, or _________.
- Try a southwestern version. Stir in diced roasted green chiles. Maybe lime juice.
- Avocado. Yeppers, but don’t add it until the very last second.
- Lemon zest is a happy ingredient welcome nearly anywhere.
- Is everything better with cheese? Could be. Teensy-tiny pieces of diced extra-sharp cheddar would work. Maybe crumbled blue? Grated Parmigiano Reggiano is another thought. Use a cheese with standup flavor but not too much of it. You want it to enhance the salad, not dominate it. Unless you’re more cheesy than eggy. By the way, this is a good way to stretch a tiny bit of egg salad.
- Be a hottie. Chop a jalapeño finely, add it, and see what you think. (Skip membranes and seeds if you don’t like things really hot.) Or use crushed red pepper flakes. Or just more Tabasco. Or add sriracha. Or horseradish.
- Jewish Egg Salad from New Zealand. Consider sour cream.
- How about briny? Chopped olives or chopped capers. Alyce loves briny.
- Switch Dijon-style mustard to B-flat yellow mustard, which we call “Sunshine Mustard” at our house.
- Feeling devilish? Move your salad toward a deviled egg profile and use dried mustard.
- Chives or basil? Tarragon? Za’atar? P for parsley? Hold those lovely thoughts until you decide which is best for you today. (Leave out the dill if choosing another herb.)
- UK Way: eggs and mayo only (Eggs Mayonnaise)
- a la Francaise (like the French): boiled eggs topped with seasoned mayo. (Oeufs Mayonnaise)
- Vegan Egg Salad might sound counterintuitive but there’s tofu for nearly anything you want to make, isn’t there?
- Try the midwestern cousin way and throw in diced dill pickles for interest. How about those sweet and spicy pickles instead? Cornichons? Bread and Butter?
- Pickled Onions. Oh my.
- Hungarian Egg Salad. Think white vinegar and anchovies.
- Carnivore? Toss in some roasted chicken, too. Or skip the bacon on top and crumble it into the salad.
- Pescatarian? Toss in chopped cooked shrimp or crab.
- Upscale for a party? Finely chopped, well-seasoned egg salad on great crackers or with veggies makes a starter that will bring smiles to the eyes of your guests. Or see below for my Deviled Egg Dip.
- Make your own mayo; it’s easy. I like Daniel Boulud’s Light Mayonnaise Recipe. (If it separates/doesn’t hold together, whisk the mayo with another egg yolk until emulsified.)
- Carb-less is easy when you make an old school lunch counter special: stuff the egg salad into the center of a big, ripe tomato you’ve sliced nearly all the way through into fourths in a cross pattern. Or just add the salad to a plate of salted and peppered chopped lettuce and sliced tomatoes.
- Boiling and peeling eggs troublesome? Everyone has their own ideas here. (Insert laughter.) Try adding older eggs to boiling water. Boil for 10 minutes (11 at altitude). Place eggs in an ice water bath just until they’ve cooled, maybe 10-15 min. Tap the egg gently all over, cracking the shell. Under running water, peel the shell first from the larger end where there’s an air pocket to help you get started and then around the remainder of the egg. My other method is to place eggs in cold water, bring to a boil, turn off heat and leave covered for 11 minutes. The rest is the same as above. Try one and see what works for you. Some folks swear by the Instant Pot.
- FEELING LAZY TODAY. Buy your eggs cooked and peeled at COSTCO if you don’t want to cook. This eliminates the above listed cooking methods from your life at least for now.
- Seasoning and cooking, in general, tip: If your egg salad is going on toast, crackers, or even over chopped lettuce, the seasoning will be dumbed down by the rest of the dish. So, when tasting it right after making it, do overseason it just a bit. This is similar to gravy needing extra grinds of pepper so that it still tastes of something when you eat it with a big forkful of mashed potatoes. Or vinaigrette making more sense if you taste it also with salad greens rather than only by itself.
- How long does egg salad keep? (3-5 days in a tightly-sealed container in the fridge. Hint: Does it pass the sniff test? No? Then throw.)
IF YOU LIKED THIS, YOU MIGHT LIKE MY:
LIFE GOES ON:
We are not planting a lot this summer as we’re going away for a month — first visiting our second “home” and loved ones in the Twin Cities for a couple of days. We then fly on to Boston where we’ll head out on a 25-day cruise to Iceland, hitting New England, Canadian maritimes, Newfoundland, and Greenland before we spend entire week sailing around Iceland. It’s definitely a bucket list trip and we’re so excited we want to start packing! As the temperatures will range from 40 -90F; packing might be a little confusing and maybe it’s not too soon to think about it. We have our head nets ordered for the pesky flies in Greenland and are breaking in waterproof hikers for Iceland. I’m downloading books onto my new iPad and we’ll even bring our tiny portable BOSE speaker so we can listen to music in our cabin. Spoiled we are and we know it.
So instead of the myriad planters and in-ground plantings, we have just cool weather salad greens and French radishes planted by best sous and husband Dave. (We may plant these same things again for a fall crop.) We eat the greens from the radishes, too, as they’re sparky and more peppery than arugula are are great additions to salad. It’s true; don’t throw your radish greens away. Eat them fast; they don’t last long. (Remove the greens, scrub the radishes, wrap them in a paper or cloth towel, and store in a tightly closed bag or container in the fridge to keep them longer.) I like these skinny, somewhat sweeter ones sliced on buttered toast, a la Francaise.
It’s still been cool and even continually weirdly rainy here with no complaints from us. Don’t you just love it when there’s no need to have the furnace or the AC on? Open windows. Fresh air. The smoke we had from the fires in Edmonton are gone though we see other areas of the country are suffering with smoke from the province of Quebec. Coloradans are all too familiar with such summers and hope our favorite province Quebec gets these fires out soon.
Here’s a map of our trip if you want to follow along. We embark on July 29.
Thanks for visiting my kitchen, which is fun whether we’re cooking a fancy duck dish or, like today, just making egg salad for lunch,
P.S. If you’re a longtime reader, you know our male golden retriever, Tucker, who has been around nearly as long as the blog. He’s not terribly well, though still up and about, and we are appreciating each moment with him, grateful to have had him for going on 14 years. Visiting the vet today to hopefully obtain some positive suggestions for keeping him healthy and with us a long while longer. (Update: Vet didn’t have a lot but has sent home some food which very like the bland diet I cook except it’s more balanced. We’ll try it and see.)