November 04, 2020. I was very fortunate to be able to be there on a daily basis for you kids growing up- some would call me a Stay-At-Home Dad, but in spite of the recipe’s name, I never really liked that term. I mean, if you think about it- even the acronym is sad- literally- SAHD, but more on this later. I did, however, love staying home and venturing out with you when you were younger and I’m a better person for it. The inspiration for this post comes from my early dad experience in the home when another dad, who also nurtured his kids during the day, called me to see if it was hard to make egg salad at home after finding the neighborhood market was out of his daughter’s favorite egg salad. Fortunately, he had made Easter Eggs with his kids, so once I told him it was easier and cleaner than making Easter Eggs and gave him a few tips, he never looked back and his daughter loved his stay-at-home egg salad! I too had my challenges in my new role with you kids on a full and overtime basis. Sure, I was strong in the cooking department, but a bit clueless when it came to hairstyling, housekeeping and homework (at least in the later years). Nevertheless, like all good parents, I figured it out because we love our families. A funny side note on the housework learning curve. Mom came home from work one day, exasperated to find that the pile of laundry, towering almost as high as the washing machine, had not diminished during her absence. When mom threw a little shade my way about the laundry, I quickly replied- “I’m here for the kids and we were busy playing today!” Yes, that worked for about a day and then we figured out how to play and do laundry. You girls would take turns sitting up on the dryer (don’t tell mom!) and I would throw you an “alley oop” of dirty laundry, yelling out “Kobe to Shaq!” (RIP Girl Dad), and you would throw down monster dunks in the nearby washing machine- it was awesome fun! Speaking of fun, I always tried to make your food fun too! So to update your childhood Stay-at-Home Egg Salad, which would have “fun” raw veggie confetti sprinkled on it, I give you a take on a Japanese egg salad that was all the rage on Instagram a year or two back.
Prep Time: 5-10 minutes.
Cook Time: 10 minutes, although I don’t like giving cooking times, but in this case I can be very precise!
Preheat: Get a big ol’ pot of water boiling over high heat.
Servings: 4 sandwiches
GET YOUR STUFF OUT.
- 12 large eggs
- 3-6 tablespoons of mayo, about 1-2 teaspoons of mayo per egg if you need to scale up or down.
- A few teaspoons of mustard to taste- Dijon if you’re feeling fancy.
- Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste.
- 8 slices of your favorite bread- not to preach, but this would be a good opportunity to get some whole grains into your system.
Cook and Play.
Crank up Wishbone by Clutch so you can rock out while you make your egg salad. Once you can understand the lyrics (I had to look them up) this heavy metal song is such a good time. The dude takes you through the major holidays foods, starting with Thanksgiving, while constantly complaining about getting the short end of the wishbone, and ending on Easter when he eats egg salad with whiskey he got from his basement. You have to give this a listen and please ignore the double negatives in the chorus!
- Find a large pot to give your 12 eggs some room (about 6 quarts to keep the boil after you add the cold eggs), fill it with water and bring it to a boil over high heat. You will be cooking 3 “jammy” (love that term) eggs and 9 hard boiled eggs. Carefully place the 12 eggs, directly from your fridge, into the boiling water and immediately ask your Smart Device of choice to give you a 6 minute and 30 (looser jam) or 7 minute (firmer jam) second timer, making sure to adjust the heat to create a steady simmer in your pot. You better stop what you’re doing when that timer goes off and directly get to fishing 3 jammy eggs out or your eggs won’t be so jammy anymore, which would be sad. You’ll be leaving the other 9 eggs behind so they can cook to hard yolks, so ask that Smart Device for another 4 minutes while you put your jammy eggs into a bowl of cold water. While you’re waiting, peel those jammy eggs as soon as they’re slightly cooled.
- Once that second timer goes off, use some oven mitts or a kitchen towel to hold the pot handles and carefully pour the water out into the sink and away from you; keeping the eggs in the pot as best you can. Run some cold water over the eggs to cool them off a bit and peel.
- Mash up your hard boiled eggs in a large bowl with a fork, mix in 3 tablespoons of mayo and a teaspoon of mustard and stir it around a bit to get a feel for the consistency; adding more mayo and mustard as you see fit. You may not need all the mayo or mustard or you may want to add more, which is perfectly OK. Stir in kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste.
- Channel your inner child and trim the crust off your 8 slices of bread, feed the crust to your dog and lay the trimmed slices out on a clean cutting board or counter. Cut your jammy eggs in half and place one or two halves, yolk side down, in the center of four of the bread slices- 2 slices will have 2 egg halves and 2 will have 1 egg half. Evenly spread your egg salad over the four clean slices and gently place each slice over a slice with a jammy egg(s). Cut your sandwiches in half, horizontally through the jammy egg(s), and turn the sandwiches up to show off those jammy eggs. When you put the halves on plates- place a half with 1 jammy egg and a half with 2 jammy eggs on each plate.
The Dad Joke. The term “stay-at-home dad”, or “stay-at-home mom” for that matter, just doesn’t do it for me. First and foremost, a dad is supposed to stay at home. Believe me, you don’t want a stay-at-a motel dad, a stay-at-the bar dad or a stay at his girlfriend’s dad- all bad dads! Secondly, the dad is not just staying at home. In the early days, we would have gone crazy if we just stayed at home. Then, it was out and about and driving away from home on a regular basis- to school, to lessons, to sports, to play dates, to doctors, to the dentist,- you get the idea. Even when the dad is at home, he is not just “staying” there- it’s like saying he’s a Stay-in-the Station Fire Fighter or she’s a Stay-in-the Office Doctor. The dad is doing laundry, cooking meals, picking up family and pet debris and droppings, “supervising” playdates and the list goes on. I can’t say I’m really sure what an apt descriptor would be for a dad who looks after and hopefully nurtures a kid or kids for most of the day and a good part of the night. I’m also hesitant to suggest one, like Full Time Father or Power Dad because I certainly don’t want to discount the love, support and sacrifices the Stay at Work Parent provides- your mom juggled her scheduled countless times to be at as many of your events as possible and was always there for you when she stayed at home. To undertake such folly reminds me of the time I made a suggestion while Mom and I were taking childbirth classes. I suggested that the term “labor” should be reconsider since it paints a negative picture and perhaps mind set during the joyous miracle of childbirth and, a term like “Joie De Vivre” (French for “joy of life”- the French make everything sound better- like escargot!), should be used in its place. Needless to say, my suggestion did not go over well at all- the nurse and all the moms-to-be shot daggers at me, while all the other dads-to-be quickly looked away from me so as not to be associated with such madness. So just call me Dad.
The Key To The Recipe. Getting your soft boiled eggs to the jammy stage- 6:30-7:00 minutes, depending on how jammy you like them- no more, no less.
Special Equipment. The Egg Guillotine. You girls loved what I called the Egg Guillotine; the egg shaped metal contraption, with thin wires to cut your eggs into pieces. You often fought over who could use it whenever we made egg salad- I had you take turns, of course! Feel free to buy one if you like, or you can fight over who gets ours the next time you’re home. There’s really no need to fight- smashing your eggs up with a fork is just as good. The Spider. Little Miss Muffet aside, a spider is a great help with your food. This is one of my favorite unsung heroes in the kitchen. This inexpensive (under $4!) strainer on a stick (everything’s better on a stick- think corndogs!) is perfect for fishing food and skimming debris out of hot liquid- water, broth, stock oil, etc. I use it all the time when blanching, boiling and frying.
Ingredients of Note. Eggs. For the record, there is no discernible taste or nutritional difference between white and brown eggs- I buy what’s cheapest and cage free. Also, be warned that fresh eggs are difficult to peel, so save those farm stand eggs for eggs that don’t require peeling rich people! Japanese Flavors. Since this recipe is a take on Japanese egg salad, you can use kewpie mayo (if you can find it) and/or add some minced scallions, a hint of rice vinegar, a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds and/or a bit of whatever else you’d like to culturally appropriate- just remember to taste as you add to make sure you like it. I’m a bit of a purist when it comes to egg salad, so it’s just mayo and a bit of mustard for me.
A Good Egg. What I am about to write is totally worth the price of admission- you’re welcome! The boiled egg technique that follows is an easy and foolproof technique for cooking eggs. It’s really all you need to know whenever you need a proper runny or jammy egg- for a a bowl of ramen, some eggs Benedict, a healthy grain bowl, a fancy salad, some avocado toast or a pile of asparagus- whatever! Warning: Poached Egg Rant. Now you may think you need to know how to poach an egg too, but I see no further use in this world for poached eggs to be honest. Poached eggs are annoying, temperamental and unreliable- you deserve better than that! With soft boiled eggs, you don’t have to figure out how much vinegar you need in your poaching water, you don’t have to chase around gossamer trails of egg in your poaching water and you will never again dampen your toast with the poaching water that falls from the egg and spoon- I’m out! Yet Another Warning: Be aware that there are safety concerns with soft cooked eggs, so make sure you are up on this to decide if soft eggs are safe for you- I’m practically and old man and eat them regularly.
The Soft Boiled Egg. I have fond childhood memories of your Granny’s soft boiled eggs- in varying degrees of softness and served in cool, plastic red chicken egg cups- one day, hard as rock, another day, a puddle of white and yellow mucus. Still, I was happy to have my mom in the kitchen making me breakfast, although I could have done without her morning cigarette smoke wafting in the air, but that’s just how parents rolled back then.
Timing Is Everything! It doesn’t take long for your runny or jammy yolk to become irreversibly hard, so pay attention to your timer and get right to the stove to get those eggs cooled off and peeled. Your time range is going to be between 6-7:30 minutes, depending on how runny or jammy you like your eggs. The key to making these foolproof, is finding the doneness you want and not varying your technique once you figure that out. All you need to do is to bring water to the boil in a good sized pot (4-6 eggs in a 4 quart pot, but if you’re in the 6-12 egg range, up your pot to 6 quarts), take large (not XL or Jumbo) eggs directly from the fridge and put them into the pot of boiling water, immediately set a timer for the time that corresponds with the doneness you prefer and keep the water at a steady simmer as the eggs cook. To zero in on your preference the next time you boil eggs, remove, cool, peel and cut open eggs at the 6 minute mark and at 30 minute intervals up to 7:30 minutes to see what you can see- yes, a bit dorky, but I’m a bit of a dork. This is absolutely foolproof if you don’t vary the technique- meaning not taking eggs out of the fridge before you put them in, not using different sized eggs, not having the proper pot size, not having water at a steady simmer throughout or not getting the eggs out on time! Oh, and if you need hard boiled eggs- use the same technique, just boil them for 10-11 minutes total. You don’t have to be as vigilant with your timer for hard boiled eggs, but if they go too long they can be harder to peel and may discolor. More Dad Advice. More good news- once you peel your runny/jammy eggs, you can hold them in the fridge and heat them up later in the day. Just plop them in some very hot, near boiling, water for a minute or two, dry them off and they’re ready to serve.
Peeling. The most challenging part of your boiled egg adventure is the peeling process, but these tips should help. 1. Remember to avoid very fresh eggs since they’re hard to peel. 2. Crack both ends of the egg on the counter and then tap the sides for a bit more cracking. 3. Start peeling, with a pinching technique, on the larger end of the egg, which has a bit of an air pocket, to get going. Then push your thumb under the shell- scraping the film around the white as you push off to release as much of the shell that your egg will allow. 4. If the white starts to tear away with the shell, move to a different spot and try your luck there. 5. If that doesn’t work, get warm water running from the tap and peel the egg under the water, allowing the water to run into the cracks to warm up the film and separate the shell. 6. At the end of the day, it’s no big deal if your whites look a bit rugged, especially for this recipe, since most of the eggs will be smashed up.
Veganize It. Sorry, I didn’t have time to veganize this, but if I did, I imagine I would chop up firm tofu to mimic the egg whites, mix in some hummus and/or avocado for some “yolky” richness and season with a bit of black salt for some “egginess”.
This Day In Dad History. November 04, 2005 This was a good day! We were in NYC to see our friend from Kenya, who happened to be an elite runner competing in the NYC Marathon. Mom and I have always tried to bring diversity into your lives whenever we could to allow you a variety of perspectives on life for you to look back upon when it was time for you to decide on the type of life you wanted to live. We also made sure you had fun along the way- today that meant decorating our friend’s room for her big race, riding a three story ferris wheel inside the Toys R Us Times Square location, eating Street Pretzels and enjoying an out of this world dinner at Mars 2112, where we took a spaceship to the red dining room for dinner with crew members, food stealing aliens and a funny mad scientist!
Keywords: egg, sandwich, lunch, Asian
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