Creamy and bright with a touch of garlic, Basil Egg Salad is a unique variation on a classic. Great way to use up Easter eggs!
If your “Day after Easter” is anything like mine traditionally is, you’re spending the morning coming down from a champion-status sugar high. I mean, other than Easter, when else is “chocolate bunny” an appropriate breakfast (lunch, mid-day snack, and dessert)? “Carpe diem,” I say. On Monday morning, I usually detox with a cup of unsweetened, decaffeinated anything, and ponder one burning question: “What am I going to do with all of these hard-boiled eggs?!” Most of the time, a perfectly-cooked egg needs nothing more than a pinch of sea salt and a few grinds of freshly-cracked black pepper to make me happy. But, let’s face it, I’m also weak in the presence of egg salad. Creamy, well-seasoned, homemade egg salad, that is. It’s about as sure a thing in my house the day after Easter as those crumpled chocolate wrappers.
I’m sure we’ve all been treated to the joys of lackluster egg salad. You know what I’m talking about: overcooked, rubbery eggs, pools of unseasoned mayonnaise, no seasoning whatsoever. It’s a shame, really, because egg salad done well is a real treat. I’m not a strict purist when it comes to egg salad recipes. While classic preparations are wonderful (I use scallions and a bit of Dijon in mine), I think there’s always room in the recipe arsenal for variations. Basil Egg Salad is one of my favorites. It’s creamy, bright, and fresh, with chopped basil, a pop of peppery garlic, and a touch of lemon juice. A scoop of this on a slab of brioche or artisan toast with a thick slice of tomato, and I’m in heaven.
A little background on how this recipe came to be: I was watching Barefoot Contessa one afternoon a few years ago when Ina ended the show with a recipe for Heirloom Tomato Sandwiches with Basil Mayonnaise. Tomato sandwiches are one of my favorite summer treats, so I, of course, hit the Internet immediately to bookmark Ina’s preparation. Reading the recipe, I thought to myself how good basil mayonnaise might taste as the base for egg salad. When I made it a few days later, I was hooked. As far as egg salads go, this one tasted like the best of summer to me.
Egg salad, like most classic dishes, is a highly personalized matter. Some people like the eggs chopped large, others prefer them fine. Some like only a touch of mayonnaise, others like it super creamy. Whether it’s a traditional recipe, or a fun twist like this one, I’m somewhere in the middle on my textural preferences. I like my egg salad to be spreadable and cohesive, but not so loose as to require a bib while eating a sandwich. The eggs should be well-chopped, but not obliterated. The great thing about egg salad is how easy it is to customize to your preferences. Mix the basil mayonnaise in a separate bowl, and add as much as you like to create your perfect egg salad texture.
I hope everyone celebrating holidays over the weekend had a wonderful day of memory-making with family and friends. Remember: hard-boiled eggs keep well in the fridge for a few days, just in case lunchtime today finds you staring down the ears of a leftover chocolate bunny instead. Your secret’s safe with me!
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Basil Egg Salad
This egg salad is a great way to use leftover Easter eggs. It's best enjoyed the day it's made.
Recipe inspired by Ina Garten's Tomato Sandwich with Basil Mayonnaise
- 6 large hard-boiled eggs, peeled*
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons chopped basil
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- freshly ground pepper
In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, basil, extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and salt. Set aside.
Chop eggs to desired size (I prefer mine on the finely-chopped side). In a medium bowl, fold together chopped eggs and enough basil mayonnaise to your liking.** Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve on toasted bread or rolls with sliced tomato and spring greens.
*Everyone has a favorite method for boiling eggs; I've lost track of how many I've read over the years! Mine is as follows: Place large eggs in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and add enough room temperature water to cover by 1-2 inches. Bring to a boil, and maintain a gentle bubble for 30 seconds. Remove from heat, cover, and let eggs stand in the hot water for 12 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to immediately transfer eggs to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Cool the eggs in the ice water for 10-15 minutes. Peel under cool running water.
**I prefer a creamy egg salad, so I use most of the basil mayonnaise, usually only having a tablespoon or two leftover. If you prefer your egg salad to be drier, add less. Leftover mayonnaise is delicious on chicken or roast beef sandwiches, or even as a dip for French fries, so don't throw it away! It keeps well, covered, in the refrigerator, for a few days.