Most of the time, I forget about egg salad.
I’m not sure why — it’s one of those good old foods, one of those at-home foods. My mother didn’t make it all the time, but she always did something or other with the leftover eggs from our yearly Easter morning egg hunt, and often it was egg salad — the white portions faintly freckled in day-glo Easter hues.
Every year, we dyed our Easter eggs as a family. Shades of lavender and baby blue, creamy yellows and pale stains of peach. I have many big memories of the four of us sitting down to our newspaper-lined kitchen table the Sunday morning before Easter. My parents would each sit with a mug of coffee, my sister and I with a kaleidoscopic collection of vibrantly-tinted tea cups, while the whole kitchen swelled with the acrid tang of distilled white vinegar. To this day, I can’t quite separate the smell of white vinegar from this memory. It always smells like Eastertime to me, like the beginning of spring, the beginning of something good. And it reminds me of what it was like to sit down at a table with family and begin that something together.
I haven’t dyed eggs in a long time, but it occurred to me the other day as I was setting some up to boil that I would like to sometime soon.
I am looking forward to heading to Connecticut next weekend to celebrate Easter (and my sister’s birthday) with my family. There probably won’t be any pink or green eggs this year — all us kids are “too old” now for an egg hunt with the Easter Bunny — but I’m betting there will be some deviled ones for us to nibble while the pork loin roasts away in my mother’s oven. A handful of years ago, my mom began to set these out on Easter for mid-day grazing, alongside little bowls of marinated olives and hunks of sharp white cheddar cheese. They are epically good.
This egg salad is a bit of a twist on a classic. I’ve eliminated the requisite mayonnaise for something a bit fresher and greener, something a bit more in tune with spring — mashed avocado. Boiled egg and avocado has been a favorite combination of mine since my days in Sweden — an egg, avocado, arugula, and bean sprout sandwich was the only meat-free menu item at a cafe near the city center, and one day, begrudgingly I ordered it. I returned to that cafe (and to that sandwich) again and again.
I’ve kept a splash of vinegar (apple cider, this time) in the recipe for nostalgia’s sake — and also because, alongside the mustard, it gives the mash a nice bite (not to mention the acid keeps the avocado from browning). I ate this egg salad scooped into tiny little endive spears, but it would also be excellent between soft, fresh pieces of pumpernickel bread lined with butter lettuce — or even piled high atop a green salad.
Avocado egg salad.
- 5 farm-fresh eggs, hard boiled
- 1 ripe avocado
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons brown mustard
- 2 tablespoons (scant) finely-chopped red onion
- Sea salt + cracked black pepper to taste
- Belgian endive spears, for serving
- Put the boiled eggs and avocado into a bowl and mash them together with the back of a fork.
- Add the vinegar, brown mustard, and red onion, and combine.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve the egg salad stuffed into endive spears, or any other which way you’d like.