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Egg salad help, please...

Does anyone have an egg salad with pancetta recipe -- or variations thereof -- they can share?
Or, discuss the role of cream cheese vs mayo in egg salad if you will...!?

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  1. adding a little cream cheese helps with the goo factor... this is an approximate version of one i do...

    6 hard boiled eggs
    4-5 strips of crispy pancetta depending upon size
    2 - 2 1/2 tbsp of greek yogurt or mayonnaise
    1 tbsp cream cheese
    1 tbsp or so apple cider vinegar
    dash of dijon or dried mustard
    1 minced shallot, or more if preferred - cooked slightly and cooled to take the edge off (cook with pancetta if desired)
    salt and black pepper, freshly ground, to taste
    tarragon or parsley
    (can also add dill pickle chopped if desired)

    i like to grate my eggs in one bowl, then mix the rest of the ingredients in a separate bowl, then combine the two. i don't know why, just the way i do it!

    7 Replies
    1. re: Emme

      Hmm...I usually just mash everything up in one bowl/container, but I might just try your method next time because it would definitely ensure proper distribution of ingredients if you're using more than just the basic: eggs, mayo, squirt of mustard, spices to taste.

      1. re: Emme

        Sounds really good. Thanks. Can't wait to try your version!

        1. re: lifespan

          mine is very similar to Emme's (as is often the case), but as i stated below, i prefer Greek-style yogurt to mayo or cream cheese. i also add a generous pinch of smoked paprika - the flavor is terrific with the pancetta.

          oh, and though i adore shallots, i prefer chives in my egg salad.

          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            I could not agree more with combining yogurt and mayo. I find that gives it the best texture. I also love chives and smoked paprika. Some Dijon mustard is great too, and one cannot overestimate the importance of a little pepper in eggs. (I don't do pancetta.) When I have fresh herbs, I loosely follow Martha Rose Shulman's Egg Salad With Fresh Herbs from her NY Times column. I have it saved here:

            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

              I like the idea of trying smoked paprika. Thanks.

          2. re: Emme

            What is the "goo factor" and followup question is how does the cream cheese 'help' it?

            1. re: c oliver

              c oliver, I too wonder what "goo factor" is. Perhaps cream cheese contributes smoothness to the mixture?

          3. I really prefer plain Greek-style yogurt in egg salad. Adds a nice creamy texture that's not oily while providing a nice tang. Esp. if you are using pancetta, I wouldn't want to increase the "richness" quotient by using either cream cheese or mayo.

            Just my 0.02.

            5 Replies
              1. re: ipsedixit

                agree with ipse on the Greek-style yogurt...so now we're up to 4¢ ;)

                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                  You're worth much more than a mere 2¢ ... I think we're easily now up to a whole dime.

                2. re: ipsedixit

                  I'm in the greek yogurt instead of mayo group too. Never thought of using smoked paprika with pancetta though - thanks goodhealthgourmet : )

                  Now I'm craving egg salad and wondering if I can convince the kids to have sandwiches for supper...probably not. Definitely going on the lunch menu for the weekend though.

                3. You might want to try slicing the pancetta thinly (in rounds), pan-frying it and then laying a crisped slice on top of your egg salad before you put the second slice of bread on. Though this only helps if you're making sandwiches...and I always use mayo and mustard, just not very much - enough to hold it all together, but not so much that it's soupy. I like to add dill to mine, but probably not with the pancetta.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: rafjel

                    thanks for suggestions. have you ever mixed lean chunks of pancetta in the egg salad itself?

                    1. re: lifespan

                      personally i've found that they get soggy/chewy...and not in a good way. i like to fold them in just before serving.

                  2. Onion or scallion, celery, mustard, Old Bay, mayo.

                    1. I agree with rajfel & goodhealthgourmet; better to top with crisped pancetta or bacon at the last minute so will stay crispy.

                      A little cream cheese can indeed help tighten up the result a bit ( I like the phrase "goo factor") and yogurt adds a certain tang that I like.

                      In general I would second the recs for smoked paprika and chives and a pinch of English (dry powdered) mustard. Given the presence of pancetta or bacon in this instance, it may be that simpler is better and extra complexity unnecessary. I'd season with restraint, perhaps a little fresh ground pepper and just one other flavor rather than three or four.

                      The benefits of seasoning the binder separately are twofold- the herbs and spices are evenly distributed throughout, and because of this you can fold it gently into the eggs with a minimum of mashing, thus preserving the texture somewhat.

                      But I admit when I make a quick batch for myself I usually just mix it in one bowl.

                      1. I used to add a few drops of regular Tabasco to my egg salad, but lately I have found that I like the Tabasco jalapeno pepper sauce better.

                        1. Really, surprisingly good eaten at the Dublin, Ireland airport, egg salad sandwich with chopped watercress for breakfast.

                          1. I aways use Dijon, mayo and whatever herb i'm in the mood for (dill is quite good) or green olives. Family recipe uses green olives and bacon, and originally called for it to be ground in a food mill, with a tiny bit of lemon pepper. It is really good, and I wouldn't worry about the bacon -it does not get soggy.

                            1. No, I make it differently every time -- just depends what I have on hand. I do always go light on the mayo, that 'goo factor' mentioned above is from too much mayo. I don't like it dry, but just enough mayo and drained yogurt if I have it (and only if it works with the flavors).

                              BUT! My secret to making any egg salad recipe awesome is to hand chop the egg. Rough chopped. Not even chopped; I put all the eggs in a bowl and run two table knives through them sort of like you do to mimic a pastry cutter. It does something to the texture of the whites and they interlock nicely. The yolks, well, it pulverizes some and leaves some varying sizes of chunks of egg yolks, so you get that richness of them blended with the sauce, but still have plenty to bite into for delicious little rich bites.

                              If we're talking sandwiches, my favorite way is unstructured. Just whole eggs sliced and laid over mayo slathered bread. Slam another mayo slathered slice on top. Bread toasted on one side to warm things up a little is a nice variation. A standard flavor of chives and bacon sprinkled over the top is a personal fav. My feet might dance a little if I had a couple of sardines to lay over it. A sprinkle of nanami togarashi is divine on anything, even plain egg salad. But pickles? They go on the side, always.

                              I always loved my mom's egg salad. No wonder moms don't always want to share their secret recipes; her's is eggs diced neatly with the egg slicer, a wee bit too much mayo, and a healthy sprinkling of Lawry's seasoned salt. She never can be bothered to chop parsley for it, but if I do it it tastes even better. She must have some secret ratio, because I've never been able to make it taste as magical as she does.

                              1. Well, for ingredients, I have added at different times: spanish olives, capers, or a pinch of curry.

                                1. Without going through the preceding 6 months' worth of posts, I hope you know that tuna-and-egg salad is popular in some quarters. You just have to limit your add-ins to those that play well with both fin and feather. So no bacon, and mustard is debatable, but pickle is fine, as are olives, onion, chive, etc. In these days when tuna cans are shrinking, and the contents very watery, it is nice to be able to stretch a can to be able to make two decently-filled sandwiches.

                                  Since I like to add mustard, cream cheese, sweet onion, and hard-cooked egg to a liverwurst sandwich, if I have a little leftover egg salad I will spread liverwurst onto a slice of rye or pumpernickel, then top it with the egg salad.