I bought some special eggs the other day. I mean, there are special eggs, and there are special eggs. I'm talking about the kind of eggs some people might feel compelled to roll their eyes at. But I had to buy them. Try them. Bring them home with me. And I wanted to do something straight-forward yet special with them. So as I drove back from the Saturday market - through North Beach, up the Fillmore hills, and down into Hayes Valley, I settled on egg salad. Not earth-shattering, I know. That was sort of the point. But the twist? I was going to shred the hard-boiled eggs on a box grater into a fluffy pile. I'd toss it gingerly with my fingertips working in a bit of salt and pepper, add a few herbs and whatnot, and not much beyond that. Well, maybe the tiniest dollop of creme fraiche or thread of olive oil, enough to add a hint of cohesiveness, but not enough to weigh the salad down. I was after an egg salad that was fluffy, light, bright, and vibrant. Nothing wet, damp, or heavy about it.
You're probably curious about the eggs. I was at the market, when a lovely, petite lady rolled up next to me with her cart. You could tell she knew exactly what she was after, so I stepped back and watched the scene unfold. She pointed straight at a mega-cooler behind the table, and asked if "any" were available. At that point I wasn't entirely sure what she was asking about, but the way she inquired insinuated she didn't always succeed. Now I know. That's where the eggs live -- when they're available. They are eggs from sprout-fed chickens. Think about that - sprout fed chickens. And they're perhaps the best eggs I've had (with the exception, perhaps, of the eggs I'd buy from the grandmotherly figure who would sell in the corner of the old Testaccio market in Rome). So, I wanted to do something special with them, but nothing too complicated. Nothing that was going to get in the way of the eggs themselves. And this is what I came up with. There might be times when the more standard approach to egg salad might be called for - smashing and chopping the eggs + a more enveloping dressing. But for now, I'm on the shredding bandwagon.
I like it straight. I also shredded some gruyere cheese on to a slab of toast and put that under the broiler for a bit (until the cheese bubbled and melted)....Topped that with the shredded egg salad. No complaints. xo -h
Shredded Egg Salad
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 small head of radicchio, shredded
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
1 medium shallot, chopped
3 baby radishes, shaved thin
to serve: little dollop of salted creme fraiche and/or a drizzle of olive oil.
Place the eggs in a pot and cover with cold water by a 1/2-inch or so. Bring to a gentle boil. Now turn off the heat, cover, and let sit for ten minutes (a couple minutes longer than I normally do). Have a big bowl of ice water ready and when the eggs are done cooking place them in the ice bath for three minutes or so - long enough to stop the cooking. Crack and peel each egg, then use the big holes on a standard box grater to grate the eggs. Place in a bowl and use your fingers to gently toss the eggs with the salt and pepper. At this point you can add whatever you like to the salad - I tossed in shredded radicchio, fresh dill, shallots, and shaved baby radishes. Serve topped with tiny dollops of something creamy - like creme fraich or plain yogurt, and a drizzle of olive oil. Just a bit of each so you don't weigh it down.
Prep time: 5 minutes - Cook time: 10 minutes