Thursday, October 6, 2011
4 Recipe #287: Mexican Egg Salad
Three salad recipes in a single week. What can I say, it's been a week of salads. :) Today, I decided to take on a new challenge: Come up with an original egg salad recipe that I actually want to eat. LOL.
This clearly isn't your grandma's egg salad. :) I use the term "egg salad" rather loosely, as there's no mayo in it, but that doesn't mean I can't call it an egg salad. Heck, there's eggs in it and it's a salad, so there. ;-P Anyhow, it's my blog and I can call it what I want. LOL. [See, this is exactly why I'm known as a GFWA, a Gourmet Foodie with Attitude. :) ]
OK, I'll fess up: The reason I'm creating an egg salad recipe that strays so far away from tradition is that, in truth, I really don't like traditional egg salad at all. :) For one, the typical stuff is usually rather bland and uninspired (Can we say "B-B-B-BORING!"?!), not to mention that it often looks so pale that it looks like a vampire could've drained the color from it. For all the flavor and excitement factor that it has, it might as well be used to fill cracks in the sidewalk. ;) Meh.
Second, traditional egg salad usually that kind of "Would-you-like-some-eggs-with-your-mayo" quality about it. ;) Eggs + mayo, and then more mayo? Yeah, right. It's more like, "Would you like some cholesterol with your cholesterol, sir?" ;) There are already hard-boiled eggs in that thing, so why add insult to injury. :)
Plus, the traditional dish is really stock-and-trade, overly basic cooking that frankly just doesn't get me excited to cook. Hey, I'm the one making these recipes, so if I'm not inspired to make them, then you're in big trouble. LOL. There's a good reason why Erik has learned to just go with the flow: He knows that if I'm just not in the mood to cook something -- he's got an overdeveloped spidey sense for these kind of things -- he'd better not push his luck, or he'll wish he'd never asked. Haha! When I don't want to cook, look out. ;) I'm not exactly saying that I turn into a "kitchen witch" (remember those things?!), but let's just say that sometimes there might be some attitude served along with the meal. ;) Yeah, even this chef has days when she feels like she'd rather phone it in. This is why, when I'm in a mood like this, I don't even have to recommend to Erik that he head in the other direction and not stop until he's far, far away from the kitchen. Hahaha.
So where was I? Ah yes, the myriad but relatively obscure virtues of traditional egg salad. ;) Now, make no mistake about it, THIS egg salad is totally different. There's no mayo, and yet, it's creamy and packed with flavor, and yes, with the addition of vegetables and tomatoes to balance out the "starch and protein fest," it's even good for you too. Imagine that. :)
Frankly, this recipe is pretty much the only version of egg salad that I'll actually want to eat. I submit into evidence Exhibit A: my most recent tweet:
This is the kind of dish that's perfect for picnics, BBQs, and casual parties. Plus, it actually looks pretty on the plate, unlike the usual unsightly congealed egg blobs frequently seen at picnics or family-style buffets. ;) In the former disaster scenario, that egg salad's been cooking in the sun, and in latter, it's usually warm and mushy and very well might require some carbon dating. Haha! (Now doesn't that sound SO appealing?! NOT. Now you know why I never touch the generic version of the stuff, particularly when it's offered in public settings.) Now contrast that to my egg salad, a healthy mix of eggs and vegetables, made fresh from scratch. Yes, my version is an egg salad where you can actually SEE the eggs in the salad, instead of some indistinguishable, massacred mass. ;) With this recipe, you won't ever have to question whether or not the egg salad actually really does contain eggs after all. :-D
Also, as an option to serving this dish as a standalone side, you could also use it as filling for a totally new and different kind of egg salad sandwich.
And finally, you'll be happy to know that this recipe takes under a half hour to make. And, minus the boiling of the eggs and the potato, there's basically zero cooking involved. :) So, have at it and enjoy!
Mexican Egg Salad
6-8 c. lightly salted water (for boiling the potatoes)
1/2 lb. red-skinned potatoes, unpeeled and well-scrubbed (about 1 medium-sized potato; makes 1 c. cooked and diced potatoes)*
2 large hard-boiled eggs, peeled and sliced crosswise into 1/8" thick rounds with an egg slicer (make in advance)**
1 c. grape tomatoes, halved (about 10 large grape tomatoes)
1/4 c. scallions (white and green parts), sliced crosswise into 1/4" thick rounds (about 4 large scallions)
1/4 c. fresh cilantro, finely minced and densely packed
1/2 Tbsp. capers, drained, soaked in 2 Tbsp. water for 10 minutes, and then drained again
1/8 c. (2 Tbsp.) extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. dried (or ground) oregano
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
1/8 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
Directions: Place the grape tomatoes, scallions, cilantro, and capers into a large bowl and set aside. Bring lightly salted water to a rolling boil in a medium-sized pot, about 8 minutes. Then gingerly place the potato into the pot of boiling water. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover tightly with lid, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the potatoes are almost tender when pierced with a knife. Drain into a heat-proof colander, then transfer potatoes back into the pot, and let them cool for at least 15 minutes. Set aside.
Meanwhile, prepare the dressing: Pour all of the dressing ingredients into a blender (or food processor), cover, and pulse until smooth and emulsified. Pour into the large bowl of vegetables and gently combine. Set aside. This will allow the solid ingredients some time to marinate in the dressing while you're waiting for the potatoes to cool.
When the potatoes are cool enough to handle but still warm, dice them into small, rough chunks while they're still in the pot. Then transfer the potatoes into the large bowl of vegetables. Toss well, then add hard-boiled eggs and gently mix together with salad tongs. Cover, and refrigerate for a few hours (or even better, overnight) to allow the flavors to meld. Serve cold or at room temperature.
Yield: 3-4 servings as a side dish, depending upon appetite. :)
Chef's Notes: *I like to leave the potato peels intact when adding the potatoes to the salad -- for added color, flavor, texture, and nutrients -- but whether or not you'd like to do this is, of course, up to you.
**Here's how to make the most tender, creamy, and delicious hard-boiled eggs you'll ever have: My grandmother taught my mother this technique, who in turn, taught me, and so now I'm passing it onto you. :) It's super easy to do: First, bring a pot of boiling water to a rolling boil. Then place the eggs into the pot and quickly cover the pot with a tightly fitting lid. Turn off the heat, and allow the pot to sit on the stove burner for at least 25-30 minutes before draining the water and peeling the eggs. (And just in case you're wondering, yes, the water is, in fact, actually hot enough at this stage to cook the eggs all the way through.) Enjoy!
No additional salt is needed for this recipe. The capers provide sufficient salt. :)