Although I cooked professionally for decades, wrote cookbooks and a million recipes, I somehow never got how great an egg salad sandwich could be until a few months ago. I bought one from Amuse Bouche, a new caterer in Harlem, who had a stand in my local farmer’s market. I was knocked out at how delicious it was and found myself going back every Saturday to satisfy my serious jones (charmed also by its old-fashioned paper wrapping).
Proprietors Anthony Mariano and Edward Rodwell generously shared their secrets:
First: great bread. Anthony makes what he calls “egg bread”, which is lovely, light bread with overtones of brioche, but a good soft-crust commercial white loaf will do fine.
Second: use terrific mayonnaise. Edward, who is French, makes homemade from-scratch mayo for Amuse Bouche’s preparations, something I just can’t get it together to do. Anthony, who is from the South, thought Duke’s Mayonnaise might work; legend has it, it is the closest-to-homemade commercial mayo made. Since Duke’s is mostly available in the South, I ordered some via Amazon, and have developed my second serious addiction thanks to Amuse Bouche. Hellman’s, my favorite for years, pales in comparison. Duke’s is the bomb. (I plan to give jars of it as Christmas gifts to my foodie friends.)
For those that don’t know from egg salad: you boil some eggs (6 minutes), cool and peel them, mash them with good mayo, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Third: butter the bread. BUTTERING THE BREAD is the unexpected key to the whole thing. You won’t know it’s there unless you hone in on it but butter takes eggs salad into a whole other order of sandwich. Crazy magic only a French cook would know. (I’ve discovered that butter on a lesser bread or even a cracker will make egg salad piled onto it WAY better.)
If you live in NYC, you can buy Amuse Bouche‘s egg salad sandwich and other goodies at their shop in the holiday market at La Marqueta every Saturday until Christmas (1590 Park Avenue at 115th Street). Or you can make your own.