Renaissance Egg Salad

So, this ended up being a huge fucking hit on the interwebs. Who would have thought? Pretty simple really, with some complexity, but nothing you can’t handle.

First, the bread is homemade in a dutch oven. It is super-easy, ridiculously-crusty baked flour water and yeast. Seriously, 4 ingredients, flour, water, salt and yeast. Then you have to have a super-bitchin (Note: my editor wanted to kill bitchin, so I substituted super-bitchin. What can I say? I’m a child of the 70s.) enameled dutch oven. But, then, easy as pie. Well, actually, it is much simpler than pie.

Next, one must know how to properly boil an egg. This seems so simple, until you go to someone’s house and they serve you some kind of powdered green yolk and call it … blech… Never mind, let’s just talk about how to do it properly. First, you need a big enough pot. The eggs should all be able to rest on the bottom of the pot and not be smashed up against each other. Next, you need to be able to fully immerse the eggs in the water, so it needs to be sufficiently tall. Now, add the water; put a little salt in the water to make it boil just slightly higher than normal (or around normal, if at altitude). Boil it. When boiling, slowly lower your eggs into the water. A slotted spoon or pasta hauler or wok basket or tongs (be careful with the squeezing) will allow you to slowly lower them into the water and set gently on the bottom. One or more of the eggs may still crack and spit out some whites. Don’t worry, those are the ones you will eat right away to make sure everything has gone well. SET YOUR TIMER FOR 8 MINUTES. At the end of eight minutes, remove the pot from the stove and set it in your sink. Run cold water into the pot (with the hot water still in) to slowly bring the overall temperature down. When the water is cool enough to reach in and grab that one with the egg-white beard, do it. Pull it out, continue to run the cold water on it for a sec, just long enough to cool it enough to peel. Time for testing. Peel that bad boy and slice it in half. Look, you may think that you want some kind of freeze dried yolk, yellow and powdery with the taste of chalk, but, you’re doing it wrong. That yolk should be bright yellow and slightly gelatinous still. The whites, firm, but not rubbery. Put a little of your favorite salt and some black pepper on it and eat that one.  The rest, get them in the fridge.

So you have some perfectly boiled eggs? Let’s get to making the egg salad.

To my mind, Renaissance (Man/Woman/Person) Cooking (here-forward on the blog referred to as RC) is about understanding your nutritional goal and creating something which satisfies that goal while also tasting and looking delicious. A third goal would be to leverage the ingredients which are either in season and very fresh, or, at risk of going bad and need to be consumed.

In the particular case of this egg salad, my goal was to increase my protein intake without increasing my fat. I knew that, because of that lovely slice of bread, my carb and caloric intake was fine. I wanted to make sure, in this particular meal, that I offset that with enough protein to fuel my morning workout, and sufficient nutrients to allow my body to efficiently process the protein and carbs. So, I knew I needed to add some greens/vegetables, and, rather than use mayonnaise, which is mostly fat and a little protein, I used cottage cheese, which is mostly protein and a little fat. I don’t go in for low-fat anything, just the natural stuff, so regular-old small curd cottage cheese was my choice. I chopped some onion (about 1 tablespoon after chopping) and 1/2 a jalapeño and added them to a bowl. Oh, some additional nutrition and protein, of course, 2 tablespoons of my raw hemp seed/toasted flax seed mix goes into the bowl. Peel three of those perfectly-boiled eggs and drop them in. 2 heaping tablespoons of the cottage cheese; touch of sea salt and a lot of freshly ground black pepper and get your potato masher (or fork) out and go to work. Smash and mix this mixture well.  As always, taste along the way to make sure your vision matches your creation.

Oh, GREENS! What am I going to do for greens here? Of course, BASIL! Oh my gosh. Want to kick up a salad, liven a sandwich, brighten your morning eggs? Fresh basil is the (an) answer! I found three beautiful, huge, basil leaves and laid them on the bread (yes, the dutch oven bread, silly). Then I piled the egg salad on top. But, I still felt I needed some more green stuff, so, a handful (about 1/2-3/4 cup) of micro greens on top.

You are going to need a nice sharp knife to get through that crust and enjoy this open face beauty. Oh yeah, open face, because, I really don’t need the extra 300+ calories of another piece of bread.

You don’t have to be a renaissance-cooker and make everything, but it helps. Great creating is all about using food/ingredients intelligently and consciously to fuel our bodies and create joy. Think about what you eat and why. Eat as close to the ground as possible, well, figuratively. Enjoy this recipe and share it with your loved ones.

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