No doubt the Italian in me reigns over my soul. But on cold, rainy days, my belly craves the almost poetic comfort from the simple, hearty foods common to both my Slavic and Germanic roots. Foods like pumpernickel bread, toasted to the perfect point of caramelization. Or spring radishes just developing a bit of a bite. Thick sour cream. New chives poking their heads up from the garden. And of course, eggs with yolks so orange they remind me that warmer days filled with sunshine are right around the corner.
So, on this cold, rainy day where I’m blessed to have all of these foods in my house, I treated myself to this egg salad sandwich. I serve it open-faced. It can be dressed up or down. It makes a great breakfast, lunch, or appetizer, and is surprisingly light…you know, for egg salad. Enjoy!
5 large eggs
4 slices of thin pumpernickel bread
3 TBS sour cream
2 TBS mayonnaise (not salad dressing)
1 tsp Dijon mustard
¼ tsp honey
Zest of one lemon
2 TBS chopped fresh chives (plus a bit more for garnish)
1 – 2 radishes thinly sliced
Salt & pepper to taste
Boil the eggs:
Place the eggs in a single layer in a large saucepan and cover them with water.
Heat the pan on medium-high and bring the eggs to a boil. Cook for 1 minute. Cover the pot with a lid and turn the heat off. Allow the eggs to sit for 10 minutes (you can leave the eggs in the water for 8 – 9 minutes for softer yolks or 11 – 12 minutes for dry ones).
Remove the lid from the pot and carefully dump out the hot water. Run cool water over the eggs in the pot to stop the cooking process (you may need to do this several times). Carefully remove the eggs from the pot and set aside to cool. Once the eggs are cool enough to handle, crack and remove the shells. If there are any bits of shell stuck to the egg, run the egg under cold water and blot them dry with a lint-free kitchen towel or paper towel.
Make the salad:
Slice one egg and reserve the slices for garnish.
Finely chop the remaining eggs. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the sour cream, mayonnaise, mustard, honey, lemon zest, chives, and a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. Add the cooked eggs to the bowl and carefully fold the eggs into the dressing.
Toast the pumpernickel bread to your desired doneness. Spread the egg salad equally between all four slices of bread. Cut the bread in half diagonally.
Top the egg salad with sliced radishes. Garnish with the reserved egg slices and chopped chives. Sprinkle the top with salt and pepper and serve.
Don’t Freak Out!
1) I like the very thin and very large sliced pumpernickel bread found in the German section of my local market (sometimes it’s called “fitness bread”). It toasts beautifully. As it cools, it becomes crunchy and hard, making a sturdy holder for heavier foods like egg salad or cheese. If you can’t find this kind of pumpernickel, just use your favorite. Or try rye bread (with or without caraway seeds) or marbled rye-pumpernickel bread. Any would be delicious.
2) For appetizers, use the small loaves of sliced pumpernickel bread (often found in the deli section); or cut larger slices of bread into halves or quarters (diagonally for a nice presentation); or chop the eggs a bit smaller, place the egg salad in a bowl, garnish it with chopped chives and radishes, and serve it as a dip with crackers like Melba toast, Wasa crackers, or bread sticks.
3) Bump up the bite by adding ½ of a finely chopped radish or shallot to the egg salad. Or grate in a small clove of garlic.
4) While there is not a lot of honey in this recipe, it makes the salad well-rounded. You can omit it, of course.
5) Try substituting ½ tsp of prepared lemon curd for the honey and lemon zest in this recipe.
6) Try adding other herbs to the salad. Herbs like fresh flat-leaf parsley, thyme, lemon balm, or lemon basil would add both freshness and an additional lemon component to the salad. Herbs with a licorice back note—like basil, tarragon, or fennel fronds—would also work well (especially with the dark bread).