ugly egg salad

egg salad is not, even in its traditional form, particularly attractive. or even appetizing, necessarily. there is a curried one they serve in finger sandwiches at a tea shop near my house that is quite nice, and i’m sure i’ve had others along the way that aren’t offensive, but by and large i think of egg salad as a squidgy, gloppy mess you might find in a sandwich at the bottom of your lunchbag, smushed and probably a little stinky.

but this one’s different! i promise.

first of all, it’s uglier.

secondly, it’s mixed in to the brim with a bunch of beautiful-tasting things: sautéed mushrooms, caramelized onions, fresh dill, kicky dijon mustard, a squeeze of lemon.



the play of flavors is so fun to eat. the textures of the mushrooms and the hard-boiled eggs mimic each other, there are soft pockets of sweetly browned onion bits, and the dill and lemon brighten everything up. piled on a soft slice of deep dark rye bread, or sandwiched between two, you’ve got the perfect one-handed meal. it’s just the thing to pack up for a springtime picnic, along with a jug of ice-cold sweet tea maybe, and a box of fried chicken. it’s also perfectly wonderful to eat while sitting barefoot on the porch, with a book in the other hand and soaking in the warm sunshine that has gleefully made its return.


Russian Egg and Mushroom Salad
Adapted from Saveur, via Orangette
Makes about 2 cups, or enough for 3 to 4 sandwiches

5 Tbsp. canola oil
1 lb. white button mushrooms, roughly chopped
½ medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
1/3 cup fresh dill, finely chopped (I bought a 1 oz. package and used all of it)
4 hard-boiled eggs, roughly chopped
¾ cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper

  1. Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a 10” or 12” skillet over medium-high heat, and add the mushrooms. Cook, stirring often, until lightly browned, 14-16 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl, and set aside. Wipe out the skillet.
  2. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in the skillet over medium-high heat, and add the onion. Cook, stirring often, until the onions begin to soften; then reduce the heat to low and continue to cook until lightly caramelized, 10-15 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the mushrooms. Add the dill and eggs, and stir to mix.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, and lemon juice. Add about half of the dressing to the mushroom mixture, and toss until evenly combined. Taste, and add more dressing as needed. Season with salt and pepper and more lemon juice, if desired.

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