Student budgets and principled food consumption can make for some very creative moments in the kitchen. Even before vegetarianism and organics overran my culinary life, I was still fairly adamant about eating whole foods and leaving nothing to waste. Since I was cooking for one more often than not, this meant that I was limited in my stock of fresh ingredients to cook from for the week and, as a result, eating much of the same thing day after day. I’m sorry to say, but zucchini, farafalle, and spinach in combination have only so many incarnations.
Now tack on the cost of organic dairy and free-range eggs, and things get even more interesting (or less, actually). If I’m going to justify eggs at $4.85 a dozen or yogurt at $4.65 for a 750 mL tub, then I better have ideas for that many eggs or that much yogurt, or they aren’t happening at all.
Of course, I do have some overly indulgent moments at the grocery store, and these are where I end up with little luxuries like goat cheese. I do adore the stuff, but what am I supposed to do with an eight-ounce log? I can eat only so many fig and spinach salads with a little crumbled over top, and cheeses have an unfortunate tendency to get mouldy in my fridge, no matter how I store them.
The solution? Add goat cheese in small measures to just about everything and see what happens. Haphazard though it was, my little culinary adventure didn’t end that badly. In fact, it set off the beginnings of a week-long revolution in egg-salad-sandwich making. It started with the thought: “Instead of mayo, why not goat cheese?” and ended about a dozen eggs later with my new standard egg salad sandwich.
The Indulgent Egg Salad Sandwich
For me, egg salad is usually reminiscent of bland academic functions and blander lunches, but this, I promise, is something different. Everything adds a little complexity to the mix – crunch, sweetness, heat, richness, zip.
- 2 eggs, free-range please
- half a medium celery stalk, finely diced
- 1 tbsp red onion, finely diced
- 2-3 tsp semi-soft organic goat cheese
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1/4 tsp ground thyme (haven’t had any fresh on hand, unfortunately)
- cayenne pepper to taste
- a pinch of salt
- fresh-ground pepper, liberal twists of the pepper mill
- the slightest, slightest bit of mayo
- 2 slices of toasted whole-wheat bread (I like flaxseed)
- In a small saucepan, sit eggs in 1-2 inches of water and heat covered on high. When the water boils, turn off the stove immediately and leave eggs for exactly 7 minutes – this will get you bright yellow, creamy yolks rather than powdery, green-hued ones. At the 7-minute mark, either transfer eggs to a bowl of ice-water or run them under the tap for a few minutes to stop them from cooking further. Crack them and remove shells.
- Add eggs, celery, onion, goat cheese, mustard, thyme, cayenne, salt, and pepper to a small bowl and mash with a fork – everything should be well-mixed, creamy, but not soggy. Add the mayo with discretion. It’s really only for a touch of flavour because the goat cheese has already done the job of binding.
- Spread egg salad on one slice of toast, top with the other, and serve immediately.
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