Photo courtesy of The Ingalls
For something as common as egg salad, hard-boiled eggs made creamy and herbaceous can taste downright decadent. I have made lots of egg salad in my life, mostly in spring when my backyard chickens are most productive.
Years of tinkering led me to a favorite mix of ricotta and sour cream. The ricotta moistens and lightens the salad without weighing it down (mayo!) or adding too much tang (yogurt!). Mint, tarragon, and chives celebrate spring but can be swapped for green onions or dill. Optional nasturtium flowers add color and a subtle garlic kick. For the best “toasties,” look for sprouted whole-grain bread that doesn’t list sweeteners in the ingredients.
- Put the eggs in a large saucepan, cover them with water, and bring to a gentle simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes, then remove the eggs from the heat; cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Remove the eggs from the water, then rinse with cold water to cool. Refrigerate until well chilled. (The eggs can be hard-boiled and stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.)
- Stack the bread slices on a cutting board and trim off the crusts. Brush the slices generously with oil, sprinkle with salt, and cut each slice diagonally into quarters, creating 4 triangles per slice. Toast the bread in the oven or a toaster until lightly browned. Cool completely. (The toasties can be made up to 1 day ahead. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.)
- Stir together the ricotta, sour cream, both mustards, and salt in a medium bowl until well blended. Combine the chives, mint, and tarragon in a small bowl. Peel the eggs. Coarsely chop 4 of the eggs and stir them into the ricotta mixture along with half the herbs. Line a platter or plates with lettuce. Top with the ricotta mixture. Slice the remaining eggs. Arrange the egg slices and toasties atop the salad and sprinkle with the remaining herbs. Garnish with nasturtiums, if desired, and serve.
Vegetarian Salad for Dinner: Inventive Plant-Forward Meals by Jeanne Kelley. Photography © The Ingalls. © Rizzoli, 2023.