Nancy Silverton whips up a satisfying comfort dish.
13 extra-large eggs (hard-cooked) (1 as a tester)
2 tablespoons Kosher salt
1/2 cup garlic mayonnaise (recipe below)
2-4 tablespoons chives (minced)
6 or 8 slices of country bread (sliced 1/2-inch thick)
olive oil (for brushing)
1 clove garlic (peeled)
Bagna Cauda (recipe below)
fresh Italian parsley (thinly sliced for garnish)
flaky sea salt
GARLIC MAYONNAISE (MAKES 1 CUP):
2 teaspoons champagne vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup olive oil
1 extra-large egg yolk
1 garlic clove (peeled)
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
BAGNA CAUDA (MAKES 1 CUP):
8 tablespoons Unsalted butter
1/2 cup olive oil
20 anchovy filets (about 2 oz, salt-packed, rinsed & backbone removed, finely chopped & smashed to a paste)
10-12 garlic cloves (peeled)
Perfect Hard Cooked Eggs: Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Add 1-tablespoon salt. (The salt is added because it helps the whites to solidify quickly if there is a crack in an egg. The salt does not penetrate the egg shells and season the eggs). Carefully add the eggs, lower the heat, and simmer the eggs for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the eggs sit in the hot water for 5 minutes. Remove one tester egg and crack it open. The yolk should be bright yellow and wet in the center. If the yolk is not yet set, leave the eggs in the hot water for another minute. While the eggs are cooling, create an ice bath in a medium bowl and create a bed of paper towels. Remove the remaining eggs from the hot water and transfer them to the ice water to cool completely. Remove the eggs from the ice bath, carefully peel them under running water, and place the peeled eggs on the paper towels to dry.
Egg Salad: Break the eggs in half to separate the whites from the yolks. Break the yolks in thirds and drop them into a large bowl. Break the whites into small pieces (about 6 pieces per egg) and drop them into the bowl with the yolks. Sprinkle the eggs with the kosher salt. Add the mayonnaise, and aggressively stir the ingredients together using a rubber spatula until combined. (Stirring aggressively breaks down the egg yolks, which thickens the mayonnaise and ultimately makes for a creamier egg salad.) Serve the egg salad or cover and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve it, or for up to 2 days.
Garlic Mayonnaise: Pour the vinegar and lemon juice in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Combine the canola oil and olive oil in a measuring cup with a spout.
Put the egg yolk in the bowl of a mini food processor fitted with a metal blade. Using a fine grater, grate the garlic into the bowl with the egg, add the salt, and blend for about 30 seconds, until the yolk is pale yellow. Add a few drops of the combined oil and pulse to incorporate the oil into the egg mixture. With the machine running, begin adding the remaining oil a few drops at a time until the egg and oil are emulsified; you will have added 2 or 3 tablespoons of oil. Turn off the machine, take off the lid, scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, and add a third tablespoon of the vinegar-lemon juice mixture. Return the lid and pulse to combine. Continue adding the oil a few drops at a time with the machine running constantly until you’ve added about half of the oil. Stop the machine again and add another third of the vinegar-lemon juice mixture in the same way that you did the first time. Add the remaining oil in a slow, steady stream with the machine running constantly, stopping when the mayonnaise thickens to add the remaining vinegar-lemon juice mixture and pulse to combine. Serve the mayonnaise or refrigerate, covered, for up to 3 days.
Toast: To make the toast, adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350˚F.
Lay the bread slices on a baking sheet, brush the tops with olive oil, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the bread is golden brown and crispy. Remove the toast from the oven and rub the oiled side of each toast with the garlic clove.
To serve, transfer the egg salad to a medium deep serving bowl, piling it in a high mound. Sprinkle the egg salad generously with the chives and serve with a medium spoon. Give the bagna cauda a stir and spoon 1 tablespoon on each piece of toast and put the remaining bagna cauda in a tiny saucepan or bowl with a small spoon. Sprinkle a pinch of parsley and a pinch of sea salt on each piece of toast, artfully stack the toast on a small platter or cutting board, and serve alongside the bowl full of the egg salad.
Bagna Cauda: Combine the butter, olive oil, and anchovies in a small saucepan. Using a fine grater, grate the garlic into the pan and cook over medium heat until the anchovies dissolve and the garlic is soft and fragrant, 5 to 6 minutes, stirring constantly so the garlic doesn’t brown. Reduce the heat to low and cook the bagna cauda for another 2 to 3 minutes to meld the flavors. Turn off the heat and let the bagna cauda rest in the pan you cooked it in until you’re ready to use it. Serve warm. Stir to recombine the ingredients before serving and from time to time when it’s on the buffet or dinner table.
Tip: Make all of the components in advance and assemble right before a party.