I keep connecting with an early childhood memory about summer days at the beach.
To get to the beach we'd drive a long time in our hot car and coming home, I was always sunburned, with gritty sand in my swimsuit. The travel part wasn't what I liked, but the picnic lunch my mom packed sure was.
Fried chicken, potato salad, biscuits with butter and honey, watermelon slices, and egg salad.
My dad rarely came with us so usually my mom had a friend along for company while my sister and I splashed in the water, determined to annoy one another as much as possible. After awhile we'd get tired. Then it was time to eat.
We'd load up paper plates and settle down on the sand watching the older kids body surf. We didn't talk much but we'd share the moment enjoying our mom's food.
I don't know why but it's the egg salad I most remember. Hers was a pretty straightforward affair. Hardboiled eggs, some red onion, mayonnaise, a little salt and pepper. Sometimes she'd add capers if she wanted to get all fancy.
I don't get down to the beach much these days, but when I travel and know I have to endure the long lines at security, a cramped airplane cabin, and no food service, I bring along a couple of egg salad sandwiches. Nothing is more comforting at 30,000 feet.
Egg Salad with Grilled Vegetables and Crisp Bacon
Yield: 4 servings
Time: 45 minutes
4 farmers' market fresh large or extra large eggs
1 large carrot, washed, ends trimmed, peeled
1 ear of corn, tassels and husk removed, washed
1/2 cup Italian parsley leaves, washed, finely chopped
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed, finely chopped
2 strips of bacon, finely chopped, sauteed until crisp, drained
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots or scallion
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper
I like to put the eggs into a pot of cold water, turn the flame to medium-high, and cook them for 30 minutes. Many people say that's way too long but it works for me. The yolks come out flaky, the whites dense. Rinse with cold water, take off the shells, and roughly chop.
Slice the carrot into flat slabs about 1/4" thick and 3" long. Toss in olive oil seasoned with sea salt and black pepper. Do the same with the ear of corn. Grill until lightly browned all over or oven roast in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes. Turn frequently to avoid burning. Let cool. Finely chop the carrots. Remove the kernels from the cobs.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the chopped eggs, carrots, corn kernels, parsley, shallots, and crisp bacon bits. Toss. Season with sea salt and black pepper. Add the mayonnaise and mix well.
Serve on bread, crackers, or lettuce leaves.
Add 1/4 cup roasted red pepper, finely chopped
Omit the bacon
Add 1/4 cup finely chopped, pitted olives
Roast 2 garlic cloves, tossed in olive oil, seasoned with sea salt and pepper until lightly browned, peel off the skins, finely chop the soft garlic and add to the egg salad
Add a dash of tabasco or a dusting of cayenne pepper for heat