Fourth of July - Perfect Picnicking with Eggs!

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Featured Photo Courtesy of Tristan Peirce

Canadians celebrate their special day on the first of July. In the States, it’s the fw.pngfourth. Either day or way you celebrate, we bet there’s going to be some outdoor feasting involved. Of course the grill is king all summer long and especially from the first through the fourth, but along with all those hot dogs and burgers, we’ll all be dishing up some sumptuous sides – many of which will contain eggs and mayonnaise.

Let’s talk about mayo and summer heat. Contrary to popular belief, commercial mayonnaise added to, say, Aunt Tilly’s macaroni salad or slathered on sandwiches actually prolongs the life of these foods. Why? All that fat and vinegar are preservatives. It’s still vital to keep all perishable foods cool in the hot summer sun, but adding fats, acids, and salt to foods offers a little more protection from bacterial invaders.

Egg Salad 2.jpgServing eggs at outdoor meals is as natural as packing up a basket of cold fried chicken, though we’re not sure which came first. Pack a jar of pickled eggs or a pile of egg salad sandwiches; add chopped or sliced hardboiled eggs to potato or green salads; you can even find specialty holders for safely transporting delicate but delicious deviled eggs.

Here are my simple tips for the best egg salad sandwiches ever…at least, this is how I like ‘em! I think a well-made sandwich is just as good as a four star meal in a fancy restaurant. When it hits all the right notes and satisfies all the cravings, it’s perfection on a plate or wax paper!

The bread has to be perfectly soft or toasted to golden crispiness. And never hold back on the spreads: butter, mayo, hummus, guacamole, whatever! For me, egg salad nirvana can be achieved only if the bread is soft and white, and the filling has to be creamy, savoury and studded with cold, crunchy bits of celery or chopped dill pickle or both if I’m feeling particularly indulgent.

  • 4 free-run medium-hard boiled eggs (7 – 10 minute eggs)
  • 2 heaping Tbsps mayonnaise
  • ¼ tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ tsp garlic powder (NOT garlic salt!)
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped dill pickle
  • ¼ cup finely chopped celery
  • ½ tsp pickle juice
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped chives or red onion
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black or white pepper or more to taste
  • 4 thick slices soft and squishy white sandwich bread
  • Room temperature butter for spreading on the bread
  • Iceberg or Romaine lettuce, or baby arugula for something peppery

Chop eggs and add to a large bowl with the rest of the ingredients – not including the bread, butter, or lettuce – and smash and blend with a fork until well and evenly combined. Taste for salt and adjust as necessary; you may or may not want to add any. Between the pickle juice and the Worcestershire sauce, it may be salty enough as is.egg salad.jpg

Generously butter one side of all four slices of bread. The butter acts as a water-barrier and stops the bread from becoming soggy, and it’s extra delicious this way.

Spread the egg filling all the way to the edges of the bread; add some lettuce and enjoy!

Makes 2 fat sammies

Many Ways with Deviled Eggs

Most of us grew up with our mom or grandma’s deviled eggs: hardboiled eggs, mayo, dry mustard, and a light dusting of paprika. Fine, but when we let our imaginations free range, the eggs taste so much better!

Here are some suggestions for variations on the classic and much-loved deviled egg. Start with this basic recipe:

  • 5 hardboiled eggs, peeled, halved
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise

To the bowl with the yolks, salt, pepper, mustard powder, and mayonnaise, try adding:

  • 1 very ripe, mushed avocado
  • ¼ cup finely minced cooked bacon
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped capers
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped herbs; any kind you like or any combination you like
  • 2 Tbsp finely minced red or green onion
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped pickles: beet, dills, bread and butter, whatever you like!
  • ¼ cup finely chopped smoked fish and 1 Tbsp finely minced dill
  • 2 Tbsp instant wasabi paste; top with toasted sesame seeds   
Signe Langford

Signe Langford

Signe Langford is the author of Happy Hens & Fresh Eggs; Keeping Chickens in the Kitchen Garden with 100 Recipes. She is a chef, Toronto food writer and backyard chicken fanatic.


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