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A really easy way to brighten up the Holiday Cocktail Hour

       Tonight, our friends David, Carrington and Mitch will hold a Holiday Cocktail Party. As much as I am looking forward to seeing each of them, what I am really hoping we’ll find is that David has once again made this wonderful hors d’oeuvre.  David has a terrific New Year’s Day Party. And a year ago while ushering in the New Year, David introduced us to a gorgeous dish I’d never seen before. It’s a combination of a very simple egg salad topped with some beautiful Salmon Roe as you can see for yourself….

       First, you make the egg salad. (I am going to go into a rather lengthy recipe for cooking the eggs needed for this further on.) But the salad is simplicity itself. And I could make things even easier for you. If you’re lucky enough to live near a gourmet take-out place that makes terrific egg salad,  just buy a large container of the stuff. Along with the purchase of the Salmon Roe, you’re basically done.  But for those of us who like their egg salad homemade, here’s the recipe and along with it Julia Child’s method for perfect hard-cooked eggs.  

Recipe for Egg Salad and Salmon Roe: (Serves 4):

1- 2 oz. container of Salmon Roe Caviar to top the egg salad

In a medium bowl, combine:
6 hard cooked eggs, chopped
1/3 cup of Hellman’s Olive Oil Mayonnaise
2 tbsp. minced onions
2 tbsp. minced celery
Salt and freshly ground pepper.

Refrigerate until cool. Top with caviar, serve with crackers.

How to hard-boil an egg:

Now apparently Julia Child spent an inordinate amount of time researching the cooking of hard-boiled eggs. So I pass her technique on to you with one caveat from my late and much-missed friend Neil Hartman, the undisputed king of the Devilled Egg, which, of course, starts life as a hard-cooked egg. He recommended using eggs that you’ve had for a while. We all see those “best if used by dates” which seem to run about a month ahead of when you buy eggs. I’d say an egg that was around a week old is a good bet to ease out its shell in perfect condition. Back to Julia…this is the method she ascribed to the Georgia Egg Board in her amazing “The Way to Cook” book (Alfred A. Knopf, 1989).

1. Lay the eggs in the pan and add cold water to cover them by one inch. 
2. Set over high heat and bring just to the boil; remove from heat, cover the pan,  and let sit exactly 17 minutes. When the time is up, transfer the eggs to a bowl of ice cubes and water. Chill for 2 minutes while bringing the cooking water to the boil again. (This 2 minute chilling shrinks the body of the egg from the shell.3.
3. Transfer the eggs (6 at a time only) to the boiling water, bring to the boil again, and let boil for 10 seconds – this expands the shell from the egg. Remove eggs, and place back into the ice water. 
4. If time allows, leave the eggs in the ice water after the last step for 15 to 20 minutes. Chilled eggs are easier to peel, as well. 
5. The peeled eggs will keep perfectly in the refrigerator, submerged in water in an uncovered container, for 2 to 3 days.

JULIA NOTES : The perfect hard boiled egg has a tender white, and a yolk properly set. There is not the faintest darkening of yolk where the white encircles it (a chemical reaction caused by too much heat in the cooking process). Eggs cooked this way can also be peeled neatly.

The system described here, developed by the Georgia Egg Board, takes a bit of fussing – but it really does produce an absolutely Perfect Hard Boiled Egg!

2 thoughts on “A really easy way to brighten up the Holiday Cocktail Hour”

  • What a very unique combination, I would never have thought of the two, and surely have never seen it before your photo. However, you say it is a holiday favorite of yours, so I must say, this is one that will be served just for me, in my own quiet space when I want a treat and no one to bother me.. It looks that good! Thanks Monte! Now the Julia egg method.. classic! Miss her…

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