Ida Constanos, the mother of my friend-since-birth Jeanette Pagnoni would often make a Friday dinner of tuna and egg salads, coleslaw, and potato salad. Jeanette’s younger brother, Peter, would sometimes bolt out the back door of their ground-floor apartment to the backyard, where we were endlessly playing school, and announce, “Mommy’s in the kitchen making egg shell salad for dinner.” The version below meets with rave reviews when I make it, but I’m careful about the shells.
Makes enough for 4 sandwiches
6 large eggs
1/4 cup mayonnaise, bought or homemade
2 tablespoons finely chopped scallions or shallots
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice, strained before measuring
1 to 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, optional
1/2 teaspoon Hungarian sweet paprika
8 slices Kyra’s Seed Bread, toasted or untoasted
1 small bunch watercress or baby arugula, rinsed, dried, and stemmed, or 1 generous cup shredded lettuce
Sliced tomato, optional
- To cook the eggs, put them in a saucepan where they’ll fit in a single layer and cover them by several inches with cold water. Place on medium heat and bring to a full rolling boil. Set a timer and cook the eggs for exactly 5 minutes so that the very centers of the yolks are still slightly soft. Put a bowl in the sink and use a slotted spoon to transfer the eggs to the bowl. Let cold water run over the eggs as you use the back of the spoon to gently smash the shell of each one in several places, then add a about 2 cups of ice cubes and enough water to cover the eggs in the bowl.
- Remove and peel the eggs one at a time and set aside. Rinse the peeled eggs under running water and return them to the bowl of ice water until they’re fully cold. Transfer to a dry bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until needed.
- When you’re ready to make the salad, whisk together the mayonnaise, scallions, parsley, salt, pepper, lemon juice, mustard, if using, and paprika in a medium mixing bowl. Coarsely chop the eggs and add them to the seasonings, then gently fold everything together.
- Divide the salad evenly among 4 of the slices of bread, spreading it flat, then top with the greens and tomato slices, if using. Cover with the remaining bread and cut in half diagonally.