Maybe it’s the bunnies, or the baby showers, or the easter egg dying I have been eying on Pinterest, but spring is in the air. And it has left me with a serious craving for egg salad.
Spring is a season for parties in the South, and a good egg salad recipe is very similar to the antiquated idea of a bride’s dowry- a pursuit to be taken seriously, most importantly because it ends up on your great Aunt Frances’ silver platter that was passed down through three generations and used at your next best friend’s wedding shower. The pressure is on to not mess this thing up- expectations are high, but unfortunately, egg salad is something that can easily over promise and under deliver.
Too much mustard and it’s stained a fluorescent sunshine color; too much mashing and your eggs end up the texture of warm cement; too much mayonnaise and it tastes about as bland as a jar of the stuff on a spoon.
This fact, as you might have assumed, drives me crazy. Every recipe that winds up on this blog should be a winner- something you are proud to take to your great aunt Sally’s third cousin’s twice removed housewarming party. Something people will scoop onto their plastic plate, taste, and go, “This is fantastic! I must know you! And your recipes!”
Spicy and smoky-sweet from the paprika (I highly recommend Hungarian paprika here) with a liveliness and bright note of dill, this egg salad ushers in spring beautifully. And to top it off (no pun intended), the homemade wheat thins are a fabulous vehicle for the eggs. Well worth the extra effort, the crackers are crispy (depending on how thin you roll them), slightly sweet and deliciously nutty. Sprinkle them with a bit of flaky salt and voila- so much better than the version you tear open from a box.
I can’t wait to see all that spring has in store- for you, for me, and for our egg salads.
Spicy Egg Salad (This recipe was adapted from Meg’s Everyday Indulgence)
What You Will Need:
8 boiled eggs (This is the best method for boiling eggs, trust me)
1 tablespoon mayonnaise (I like Duke’s brand)
2 tablespoons prepared Dijon-style mustard (I like Grey Poupon)
1 teaspoon dried dill weed
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 cup minced red onion
salt and pepper to taste
Homemade wheat thins (recipe below)
What You Will Do
1. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, mayonnaise, mustard, dill, paprika, onion and salt and pepper.
2. Mash the mixture well with a fork, but make sure you don’t get carried away and form a paste. Egg paste never appealed to anyone; its best left for tooths.
3. Serve on your best silver platter with a plate of homemade wheat thins.
Homemade Wheat Thins (This recipe is adapted from none other than one of my favorites, Smitten Kitchen. Have I told you lately that I want to be like Deb when I grow up? Because I do.)
What You Will Need
1 1/4 cups (155 grams) whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tablespoons (20 grams) light or dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon (3 grams) table salt, plus additional for topping
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika (a friend of mine gifted me with this kind and I am officially addicted; it smells amazing)
4 tablespoons (55 grams) unsalted butter, cold is fine, cut into small bits
What You Will Do
If you have a food processor:
1. Combine the flour, sugar, salt, paprika and butter in a food processor, pulsing the mixture until the butter is evenly disbursed in the crumbs. It looks like fine sand. Drizzle in 1/4 cup (60 ml) cold water with the machine running; run it until the mixture begins to form a ball. You might need more than 1/4 cup of water; just slowly add a little bit of water until the mixture darkens and clumps together.
If you don’t have a Cuisinart and love to work out your arms:
1. Combine the flour, sugar, salt, paprika and butter in a medium bowl. Using a pastry blender or your fingertips, work the butter into the mixture until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Add 1/4 cup (60 ml) cold water, stir with spoon until combined. Knead once or twice on counter.
2. Roll your dough out, half at a time, to a large, very, very thin rectangle-ish shape on a well-floured counter. Thinner than you even think necessary is best. I rolled mine out to be about 6 inches wide by at least twelve inches tall. Frequently check to make sure your dough isn’t sticking (this is an important step because it sticks easily); if it is, gently scrape a spatula underneath to lift it, then flour the counter again. Using a knife or pastry wheel, cut dough into about 1 1/2-inch squares. Dock crackers all over with a toothpick or sharp knife. I sort of free styled the dots like I thought Emeril Lagasse would if he were making these. Bam!
3. Evenly coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
3. Transfer crackers to baking sheets using your hands or a spatula, depending on how delicate they are. You only have to space them a little bit because they really don’t spread. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt if you’d like to approximate the salty exteriors of the store-bought crackers.
4. Bake the crackers until they are crisp and bronzed, about 5 to 7 minutes, but please keep a close watch on the first batch as thinner crackers will bake faster and the thicker ones will take longer. I also didn’t roll my dough out perfectly evenly, so some of my crackers cooked faster than others. If this happens, I recommend just sliding the thinner crackers off the sheet to cool and baking the others a few minutes longer, until the edges turn light brown or look crisped.
5. Cool the crackers in baking pans on racks. Crackers will keep in an airtight container officially for a week, if they can last that long, but mine have seemed to disappear. You can also freeze them in an airtight container between sheets of waxed paper for a couple months.