Those who know me can attest that I am always looking for ways to elevate and/or improve upon what might ordinarily be considered "boring" or "basic" recipes. This occasionally bugs some of my purist friends who believe that one shouldn't mess with tradition, but it's not that I don't respect traditional recipes and methods. On the contrary, I am a classically trained professional chef, and I am fascinated by how food connects us to our past and to each other. But I don't believe that a recipe has to remain static to pay proper homage to its origins.
Enter the classic Egg Salad Sandwich. A food purist might say that there is no improving upon the traditional combination of hard-boiled eggs, chopped and mixed with mayonnaise and relish and maybe some dill, smashed between two slices of white bread. The white bread aside (I hate the way it sticks to the roof of my mouth), I can understand the nostalgia associated with this classic deli sandwich. But take one bite of my elevated egg salad, and you might never go back.
Not-Your-Grandma's Egg Salad Sandwich
(Makes 2 open-faced sandwiches)
6 large eggs
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1/4 cup plain whole milk Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Freshly ground pepper and kosher salt
2 thick slices of rustic sourdough (This recipe makes two open-faced sandwiches. If you want closed sandwiches then double the bread.)
1/2 cup lightly packed microgreens
1 tablespoon fresh dill fronds, minced
2 tablespoons minced chives
1 teaspoon preserved lemon peel, minced (if you don't have preserved lemons, substitute fresh lemon zest)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
A few thin slices of cucumber (optional)
Place a steamer basket in a pot and add water until it reaches just below the bottom of the steamer basket. Cover the pot and bring the water to a boil. Once the water is boiling, carefully place your eggs into the steamer basket, lower the heat to medium, cover the pot, and steam the eggs for 15 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove eggs from the pot and place in an ice bath to stop cooking.
While you're waiting for the eggs to cool down, combine the shallot, yogurt, mustard, vinegar, cayenne, and salt and pepper to taste in a small bowl.
Once the eggs have cooled completely, peel them and then (this part is KEY) tear them into large ragged pieces and set them aside in a medium or large bowl. Tearing the eggs works better than cutting them because they maintain a better texture when mixed with the other ingredients.
Add a couple of spoonfuls of the yogurt mix to your torn eggs and fold gently to coat. Add more yogurt mixture until you reach your desired consistency. (You can always add more, but you can't take it out if you add too much!) Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Toast your bread. While the bread is toasting, toss together the microgreens, dill, chives, preserved lemon (or zest), and olive oil.
Arrange cucumber slices on your toasted bread. Mound egg salad on top, and pile some of the herb mixture on top of that. Enjoy! I bet your grandma would want seconds.