Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Egg salad with pickled celery

There was a time when the thought of egg salad made me screw my face up with disgust. It was soggy, it was smelly, it was the food of retirement homes. Maybe it's because I'm getting older but I prefer to think that my recent change of heart is due to discovering a version that features CRUNCH. 

Celery's the sort of thing that you buy for use in a recipe and end up with more left over than you used in the first place. At the risk of sounding like an episode of Portlandia, here is the solution - pickle it! Or at least some of it. If only for an excuse to try something you'd previously disdained. The briny zing of the pickle in combination with the sharpness of mustard and the sweetness of shallot obliterates all memory of that bland pastel mush. With some fresh herbs, on a roll, it really is the prettiest and most delicious sandwich. Egg salad! I'm a convert (with caveats). After all, you have to change your mind to prove you have one.

Egg salad with pickled celery
Adapted from a recipe by Smitten Kitchen

Hard-boiled egg-making techniques vary, but the one that works for me is just to place eggs in cold water in a saucepan, bring them to the boil, and cook for six or more minutes. To help them cool to a temperature suitable for the recipe below, cover them with cold water with some ice cubes tossed in.

For the pickled celery
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
2 stalks celery, trimmed, finely diced

For the egg salad
4 hard-boiled eggs
1 heaped teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons minced shallot or red onion (or more to taste)
1 tablespoon mayonnaise (or 2 if using American tablespoons) or full-fat plain yogurt

1 heaped tablespoon pickled celery (or more to taste - I like more)
Salt and freshly ground pepper 

Chopped flat-leaf parsley or fresh dill (optional)

Combine vinegar, water, salt and sugar in a jar and shake it until the salt and sugar dissolve. Add diced celery to jar, cover it and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, ideally one hour and up to one week.

Peel your eggs and chop them, placing them in a medium bowl. Add pickled celery, Dijon, shallots, mayonnaise, salt and pepper and mix. Serve in a fresh roll or on toasted bread, garnished with fresh herbs.


  1. This is an excellent egg salad recipe, but I love most egg sandwiches including the traditional curried egg sandwich afternoon tea sandwich of my childhood.

  2. Alice this was just lovely. We had friends staying from New Zealand who have taken the recipe home with them. Your fame spreads far and wide!

  3. Hello Alice - while visiting Australia from NZ recently our friend Bronwyn made this delicious dish for luncheon rolls and I asked for the recipe! Since coming home I have looked through some of your other recipes and I am a fan! Thank you ....

    1. Jan I'm thrilled to know I have readers in NZ! So glad you liked the egg salad. I hope you find something else to tempt you in the recipe index. Thanks for reading!