Where Does Egg Salad Come From?
Who first had the notion of putting hard-boiled eggs and mayonnaise together? Was it an Italian chef trying to impress his aristocratic master? Or perhaps a war hero who wanted to keep his troops fuller for longer? No, it was none of these. It is thought that egg salad first made an appearance in French cuisine just after the invention of mayonnaise in the 1800s.
Mayonnaise itself was the brainchild of chef to Napoleon, Marie-Antoine Carême, who created an emulsion of olive oil and egg yolks. And it did not take long for someone to add it to hard-boiled eggs.
Since then, this simple combination has taken on many forms and has been influenced by culture and occasion alike. From luncheon sandwiches to a fulfilling side dish, egg salad has survived the test of time and remains a firm favourite for those who want a little more protein in their meal without adding more carbs.
At Hellman’s we set out to explore the best egg salad recipes and ideas to give you the tips you need to make your next egg salad uniquely tasty.
Four Essential Components of an Egg Salad
There are four components that come together in beautiful harmony in an egg salad. The best egg salad recipes all have these four components present and would not be the same should one be left out. If you want to create a mouth-watering egg salad the following are not negotiable:
1. Hard-boiled eggs
You guessed it - an egg salad could not be an egg salad without hard-boiled eggs. So how does one boil the eggs for an egg salad to ensure they are perfectly cooked but not overdone?
Here are some simple steps to follow:
• Place the eggs at the bottom of a saucepan and cover them in cool tap water. The more eggs you are preparing, the more water you will need.
• Heat the saucepan and bring the water to a boil.
Top Tip: Half a teaspoon of salt or a splash of vinegar added to the water will prevent the eggs from spilling out of their shells should they crack during the cooking process. This will also make the eggs easier to peel.
• Allow your eggs to simmer for one minute.
• Turn off the heat completely and allow the eggs to rest in the hot water for 10-12 minutes.
Top Tip: This gentle method is great for achieving a delicious texture without overcooking the eggs and causing discoloration and a Sulphur-like odour.
2. High-quality mayonnaise.
The hero of any egg salad recipe is the mayonnaise. Adding a creamy but tantalising flavour to the mixture, an egg salad would simply not be the real deal without this essential ingredient. Hellman’s Original Mayonnaise is made from quality ingredients including cage-free eggs and is full of Omega-3 essential oils. A dollop of Hellman’s takes a humble hard-boiled egg to a gratifying, next-level taste sensation.
This might be a component you were not expecting but trust us; a teaspoon of mustard is a must. If mustard and mayonnaise met on the playground, we bet they’d become instant besties. The slightly sharp, crisp taste of mustard is perfectly balanced by the tart, creaminess of mayonnaise. In an egg salad, mustard adds a little colour to the mix as well. The rich yellow hue of the mustard mixed with the mayonnaise creates an appetizing muted yellow sauce.
Top Tip: For a spicy flavour add wholegrain mustard and for a slightly bitter, stronger taste use Dijon mustard.
4. Something crunchy
Every good egg salad recipe incorporates a little crunch. The smooth surface of the eggs begs for a contrasting texture to bite into. Some egg salad recipes recommend using chopped celery to achieve the needed crunch, whilst others incorporate cucumber as a fresh and juicy ingredient. You can get creative and add any of the following that tickle your fancy: thinly sliced red onions, diced green pepper, shredded gem lettuce, or grated carrot.
Top Tip: For a nutty flavour and a powerful crunch try adding walnuts to your egg salad for a surprising yet delicious twist on an old favourite.
A Clever Sandwich Filler
Now that you’ve been schooled on the four essential components of any egg salad it’s worth mentioning that this delicious, creamy mixture will last in your fridge in a sealed container for three days from the day you prepare it. It is therefore a clever sandwich filler that you can prepare on a Sunday evening and use during the week when you are under time pressure.
Get Creative with Egg Salad Today
Herbs and spices can add a different flavour layer to your egg salad. It tastes amazing with a little paprika sprinkled over. Try fresh basil for a rounded flavour or chopped dill for a citrusy hint to your egg salad. To please young palates you can add small blocks of cheddar cheese to the mix and for a more grown-up egg salad you may want to crumble over a little blue cheese.
The options and variations of this age-old delight are endless. Go out and experiment with your egg salad recipe today. As long as you have the four essential components in the mix, you can get creative with ingredients and put your own spin on this timeless favourite.