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When Life Hands You Eggs

 We are flush with eggs these days, chez English. More eggs than we can eat each day, which is saying something since we’re all crazy about the things. There are so many eggs coming in lately that visions of custards and curds and ice cream move to the forefront of my culinary mind’s eye (to reach that last goal, Hubs & Huxley just headed to the West Asheville Tailgate Market to pick up flavoring add-ins-can you say triple berry ice cream?).

However, while I might like nothing more than to slather my palate in sweetened eggy goodness, something more substantive (and savory) seemed in order. And so, we whipped up a batch of egg salad today. Hubs came across a suggestion on local greenhouse Eagledove’s Facebook page recently suggesting the inclusion of baking soda when making hard-boiled eggs.

As an egg ages, the albumen in it shrinks, making it easier to separate the white from the shell after boiling. The longer you allow the eggs to age (typically at least one week, two being preferable), the easier they are to peel. Eagledove’s suggestion helps to expedite this process. So, if you don’t have the time to wait, or older eggs on hand when the urge (dare I say need!) to make egg salad strikes, you can still satisfy your craving without swearing at every bit of egg shell that just won’t give up the ghost as you futilely attempt to peel them.

We gave the method a go. While it didn’t completely make the shells slip off unencumbered, it definitely did help. We added in sweet relish (I’ve got a recipe in my book that was destined to go with egg salad), mayonnaise, olive oil, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper, lemon juice, capers, and my all-time, hands-down favorite herb blend, Herbs de Provence (we grabbed a jar when we were at the Lavender Festival).

Generously dolloped onto toasted wheat bread, crowned with lettuce from the garden (we like chopping lettuce finely and tossing it with a bit of vinaigrette or mayonnaise when we use it in sandwiches) & slivers of dill pickle, and nestled in with some pickled okra (you can find a recipe for that in my book, too), we decided being flush with eggs is not such a bad problem to have. Not bad at all.

Best Yet Hard-boiled Eggs
The Goods:
-One dozen eggs

The Deal
1) Place a dozen eggs in a medium-sized pan.
2) Fill with cold water, at least an inch higher than the eggs.
3) Add a pinch of salt and a half teaspoon of baking soda.
4) Heat covered, over medium-high heat until the water comes to a boil.
5) Turn the burner off, and set a timer for 13 minutes.
6) About 2 minutes before the timer goes off,  prep an ice water bath by filling a large bowl with ice cubes and cold water.
6) When the timer goes off, remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and gently place them in the ice water bath.
7) After a few minutes, when they have cooled, take them out of the water.
8) Gently crack each egg before peeling it carefully, submerging the egg in the bowl of ice water as you go, which makes it easier to remove the shell and get the last little bits off.

Herbs de Provence Egg Salad
The Goods:
-1 dozen boiled eggs, diced
-3 Tablespoons mayonnaise
-2 Tablespoons olive oil
-2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
-2-3 Tablespoons sweet relish, to taste
-1 Tablespoon capers
-1 Tablespoon Herbs de Provence
-1 Tablespoon lemon juice
-1 teaspoon sea salt
-Several grinds black pepper


The Deal:
1) Combine the ingredients in a medium/large mixing bowl, stirring well to make it a bit creamy.
2) Let it sit for a few minutes before serving to give the flavors a chance to meld.

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