As I mentioned in yesterday's post for La Grande Orange, I spent the first 21 years of my life avoiding any egg that didn't come already baked into a cookie, brownie or cake. For years I told people that I couldn't stand the smell, or that the texture repulsed me. From time to time I would try to force down a hard boiled egg around the Easter holiday (I liked the pretty colored shells), but I never understood why people found the slimy orbs so appealing.
That all changed one Sunday morning during my senior year of college when I, cheered on by my favorite brunching partner in crime, Ashley, ordered an egg white broccoli omelet from Clarke's Diner in Evanston. Because the omelet came with a stack of buttermilk pancakes and substantially portioned side of "Northshore" potatoes, I figured that if I still hated eggs, I would have plenty else to eat. I ended up loving the fluffy, veggie-filled omelet, and after that day, I finally understood that "I love eggs" television commercial that always irked me so much as a youngster.
Of course, because I spent so much time waving an "anti-eggs" flag, I missed out on some pivotal childhood egg-based dishes, specifically deviled eggs and the egg salad sandwich. This past Saturday, I tried (and enjoyed) deviled eggs, and yesterday, I decided it was time to further my education with the egg salad sandwich.
While it may seem like a basic and easy lunch to prepare, I was incredibly nervous about the endeavor. Not only have I never eaten or prepared an egg salad sandwich, but I have never hard boiled an egg before. (Insert horrified gasps here.) After a quick consultation with my mother and brief study session on 101 Cookbooks, I submerged two eggs in a pot of cold water. I brought the water to a slow boil and then immediately removed the pot from the heat, covered it with the lid, and let the eggs "rest" for 15 minutes (my mother's suggestion for "well-done eggs"). When the timer went off, I placed the eggs in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process and then began preparing my egg salad fixings.
After perusing the comments for the 101 Cookbooks' egg salad sandwich recipe, I decided to dress my eggs up with Dijon mustard, a dollop of mayo, a squirt of lemon juice, chopped capers, celery, green onions, dill, and the requisite salt and pepper. With additions set, it was finally time for the unveiling of my eggs. I was slightly concerned that my mother's cooking time would result in the dreaded grey ring, but as soon as I began peeling my eggs, I knew they were perfect. Beginner's luck, I thought happily, as I began chopping up the silky egg whites and tender yolks. It reminded me of when I won a stuffed Colorado Rockies baseball on my first attempt at that horrid arcade game with the claw. I was thrilled. (My brothers were not.)
While I suspect my lunch might have been even better if I'd had time to let the egg salad chill for a few hours, I was pleased with the final results. Next time I might amp up the amount of lemon juice and capers, and perhaps chop my celery in slightly bigger chunks for greater textural contrast, but the flavor profiles did compliment each other nicely. I was excited about the whole experience -- as though I had just conquered something profoundly difficult like Turduckin.
Of course, who really wants to eat Turduckin? Eggs are all well and good, but a chicken in a duck in a turkey? It may take me more than 21 years to come around to that one...