Curried-Egg Tea Sandwiches from Food & Wine Magazine, August, 2011

I think tea sandwiches are a waste of good crust. There I said it. Let the hate mail begin.

I understand the reason for them…200 years ago. People ate lunch at noon and then didn’t have a full meal again until after 8pm.  So, the hoity-toity of English society created these fancy-dancy sandwiches to go along with the scones and crumpets.

Please bear with me as I pull out my soapbox for a brief moment. If you don’t like soapboxes, feel free to skip this paragraph. At this moment there are people in Haiti who are so poor that they resort to eating mud to try and fill their stomachs. There is absolutely no reason for us to cut perfectly good crusts off our bread and throw them away; not even the all-important bridal shower or wedding reception.

I know that sounds over-the-top, but when it comes to food waste, I tend to be that way. Seems a bit hypocritical for me to talk that way and have pictures of tea sandwiches up there, doesn’t it. Does it help that I ate the crusts? Nothing got thrown away?

In truth, I love egg salad (heck, I love anything associated with eggs). So, I did want to give this a try and I wanted to stay true to the recipe. Plus, just because I believe one way doesn’t mean everyone has to. So, here are Curried-Egg Tea Sandwiches. If you want to leave the crust on, feel free. Just don’t tell me, ok?

The Process
Do you have a tried-and-true way of hard-boiling eggs? I do. But, this recipe gave different directions so I gave them a try. Room temperature eggs; cold water; in a saucepan. Bring the water to a boil, remove it from heat, cover and let sit for 10 minutes.Run cold water over the eggs, then put them in ice water until cold.

Using this method, the centers of my eggs were just a tad underdone, which didn’t thrill me. I like my way better. I take the eggs out of the fridge, put them in water, heat the water to a boil and as soon as it’s boiling, set the timer for 10 minutes. When the timer goes off, I rinse the eggs in cold water and peel them. Perfect.

One other note before I get back to the process. Now that I’m a chicken owner and we get our own eggs, I know the difference between fact and fiction when it comes to how to make an egg easy to peel.

There is nothing you can do to make it easier because it has nothing to do with a cooking or cooling method. It has everything to do with the age of the egg. The fresher the egg, the more runny the albumen (egg white).

Most eggs you buy in the grocery store have sat for a month or two before ever getting on the shelves simply so the albumen can gel up a bit, which makes it easier for the egg to be hard boiled. My eggs, which were at the most a week old, didn’t peel very easily at all.

Ok, back to the process. Once the eggs are peeled, the need to be finely chopped and put in a big bowl along with orange zest, orange juice, curry powder, dry mustard and mayonnaise. Mash with a spoon, serve on good white bread, cut, cut and cut.

The Verdict
Not our favorite. Dudette spit her bite out and she’s usually an egg salad fan. Hubby couldn’t tell the difference because his sinus problems have gotten much worse and he has not sense of smell anymore (specialist doesn’t have an opening until mid-September). I enjoyed what I could taste of the curry powder but thought the orange was too overwhelming. It just didn’t fit with egg salad.

What I’d Do Different Next Time
I’d definitely leave out the orange so the curry flavor could come through on its own. I would also add some finely minced white onion and celery. I enjoy a little bit of crunch with my egg salad and the heat that onion gives. The curry stays.

Curried-Egg Tea Sandwiches - print this recipe
from Food & Wine Magazine, August 2011

1 dozen large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest (optional)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice
1 teaspoon Madras curry powder
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 cup mayonnaise
Salt and freshly ground pepper
20 slices of packaged white sandwich bread

Put the eggs in a large saucepan of cold water and bring to a vigorous boil. Cover, remove from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes. Drain the eggs and cool under running water, shaking the pan to lightly crack the shells. Transfer the eggs to a bowl of ice water and let stand until completely cold, about 15 minutes.

Peel the eggs and pat dry. Finely chop the eggs and transfer to a large bowl. Add the orange zest and juice along with the curry, dry mustard and mayonnaise. Season with salt and pepper and mash with a fork.

Arrange 10 slices of bread on a work surface and divide the egg salad among them, spreading it to the edges. Top with the remaining bread and trim off the crusts. Cut each sandwich in half. Transfer to a platter and serve.

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