Sunday, February 7, 2010

Egg and Olive

Egg and Olive is an old family favorite, and a very easy recipe. It's very regional--not just PA Dutch, but a subset thereof. It's popular in York County, and Google reveals that you can find it over in Lancaster, too, but Linda, who is from the Allentown area, has never heard of it. I've loved it since I was a kid, and am surprised at how violent the reaction I sometimes get from people who have never heard of it. I suppose the idea of adding olives and mustard to egg salad must sound strange if you didn't grow up with it, but it's a favorite in our family for as long as I can remember. I remember many occasions when I begged grandma to make some for me, and was very excited when she first showed me how. You can get this in many small restaurants in York County, but none of them ever served a version that was quite as good as hers. (Even in my own family, there have been disputes over the proper preparation of this dish. I confess, I'm a purist,b ut more on that later.)

This recipe, like many others, is one that Grandma made without a recipe. Fortunately, it's a very simple recipe, and it can be adjusted to taste. That said, it may be a little bit difficult for me to convey how much of any ingredient we need. I will do my best.

Egg and Olive

Hard boiled eggs (since I'm making this just for myself, I used six)
yellow prepared mustard (French's, Plochman's, etc.)
Spanish salad olives

I've discovered that the best way to get hard boil eggs without a green edge on the yolk is to put them in a pot of cold water, bring them to a boil, turn off the heat and cover them for 15 minutes once they reach the boil, and put them in ice water at the end of the 15 minutes. I've never had a problem with this method.

I used six eggs since I only wanted a small quantity. After peeling the eggs, you need to mash them with a fork. This is where I use Grandma's black fork, though I'm sure a regular dinner fork would yield similar results. My dad prefers to use an egg slicer, but I find that it makes the end result runny. I mash up the eggs into fairly small bits, which means that the mayonnaise and mustard things together better.

I used 1/4 cup of mayonnaise today. It might have been a little bit too much, but since I was trying to measure ingredients, that's where I started. I used a little less than that amount of mustard. Grandma said to me at least once that she used the mustard for color, which always seemed a bit odd to me considering that you are already going to get a yellow result. I added enough so that a hint of the flavor came through.

The difficult thing about this recipe is that the flavors don't really mingle until they've sat together for a while. That makes it hard to judge whether or not you've used enough of anything, or maybe too much. The nice thing is that you can always add another egg if you have too much of something else. Mostly, though, you do the best you can and test it a few hours later, or even the next day, and find out for sure.

I added a little bit more than 1/4 cup of olives. I always buy salad olives because they're already in pieces. This time, I noticed that they essentially seem to be sliced; in the past, they always seemed to be in more random pieces, as if this was the way the manufacturer had chosen to sell olives that were not whole and could not be neatly sliced. I prefer the olives a bit more uneven in this recipe, so I got out my Santoku knife and gave them a rough chop before I added them. Like everything else in this recipe, you can add as many or as few as you like.

In a few hours, I'll have some of this for dinner. It makes a great sandwich. You could probably also use it to make some sort of hors d'oeuvres. Either way, if the idea of green olives in your egg salad doesn't offend your palate, give it a try!


Cypress Willow said...

Yay! I remember this one from my ex-husband's momma's kitchen. She was Pa Dutch to the bone. Ever had Schnitz and Knepp? Bleh, the only PA Dutch food I've tried I didn't like.
Now, if you have a recipe for chicken-corn soup, I'd be much obliged!

Nancy said...

I don't think I've ever had Schnitz and Knepp, but there's a recipe for it in this box (or at least for the Knepp). I keep forgetting you have York County experience. Cross the river to Lancaster and they have no idea what you're talking about, but in York? Oh yeah. Made some for lunch today! :)

There may be a chicken corn soup recipe in the box. If not, I know my mom has one. I'll see what I can do. I was never a big fan because the chicken always got kinda stringy (or at least I thought it did) but maybe it's time to give it another go.

Resistance Bands, Free Blogger Templates