Eggs symbolize birth, rebirth, fresh starts, spring, so it’s fitting that this week’s recipe for Cook the Book Fridays, the Extra Edition for the fifth Friday in March, is eggy: Hard-cooked eggs with herb mayonnaise, which is better described as a simple salad topped with hard-boiled eggs.
I’ve spent a long time figuring out the best way to cook hard-boiled eggs. As simple as it seems, there are many different methods out there. While David adds eggs to boiling water and simmers them, I find the cooking time varies widely depending on the temperature of the eggs. Are they cold, coming straight from the refrigerator? Are they room temperature? How long have they been sitting out? I find the most reliable method for me is to place eggs in a pot, cover them with water, and start heating. When the water comes to a boil, cover the pot, remove it from the heat, and let the eggs cook in the residual heat (14-15 minutes for large eggs). That’s how I cooked my eggs.
The component of this recipe that makes it special is the mayonnaise. Some people are intimidated by making their own mayonnaise. I usually use it from the jar, but for special occasions, it’s simple to make in the food processor. David’s recipe was just the right balance. And then, to gild the lily, minced shallots and herbs are added for maximum deliciousness. I couldn’t find chervil but used tarragon. Making the mayo the day before allows the flavors to mellow.
Everything comes together as a salad. A bed of lettuce topped with halved grape tomatoes and hard-cooked eggs are dolloped with the mayonnaise. I also sprinkled extra minced shallots and tarragon over the top. The salad makes a perfect lunch. I really enjoyed the flavors, but… I really prefer a salad that’s tossed with dressing for an even coating. When dolloped, or when dressing is served on the side, it’s not ideal for me. So… I would make this again, but I would toss the lettuce with the mayonnaise first, then top with the tomatoes and eggs.
I made extra hard-boiled eggs, and I’ll use the leftover mayonnaise to make some deviled eggs this weekend.
Happy Passover or Happy Easter to whoever is celebrating! Spring is here!
This time of year, I’m barely going to the grocery store. Between the many local farmers’ markets, farm stands, my CSA share, and my own backyard, we are well-fed. This week’s recipe for Cook the Book Fridays fit right into this food procurement system. Except for feta cheese, all the ingredients for the Potato, Feta and Basil Tortilla were already on-hand: potatoes from Dick’s Market Garden, scallions and eggs from Wilson Farm, and basil from my own garden.
In this case, the tortilla is not a Mexican corn pancake, but a Basque version of a frittata. You start out sautéing diced potatoes in a generous amount of olive oil. (The recipe said to peel the potatoes but I didn’t bother.) When the potatoes are almost tender, sliced scallions are stirred in to wilt.
Pour a mixture of eggs, some piment d’Espelette, and loads of coarsely chopped basil on top and sprinkle crumbled feta on top. The tortilla cooks stovetop until it is almost set and a golden-brown crust forms on the bottom and sides. The cooking finishes up for a few minutes in a hot oven.
I originally bought my cast-iron skillet specifically for making frittatas. I’ve seasoned it, but every time I made one, it stuck. Over the years, I’d shifted to making frittatas entirely in the oven in a baking pan. When I read this recipe and saw that the tortilla was cooked on the stove in cast-iron, I was nervous that I’d have the same experience. I was pleasantly surprised as I watched the crust easily separated from the pan when I checked its progress. When I transferred the tortilla to a serving plate, I smiled as it gently plopped out. It worked! I could assume that after all this time, my pan is better seasoned, but I’m giving credit to the healthy amount of olive oil added at the start.
The tortilla was delicious for dinner as well as for lunch. A side of sliced vegetables drizzled with olive oil or a panzanella were welcome accompaniments.
I’d make this again, though I thought the amount of basil was overwhelming. I would prefer just a handful of basil for flavor supplemented with other sautéed greens to provide both substance and color.
My main takeaway lesson from this recipe is that the cast-iron skillet can be restored to its intended purpose in frittata making. I’ll just have to remember to be heavy-handed with the oil when sautéing the vegetables.