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Excessive Eggs? Make Egg Salad

Put a twist on traditional egg salad with this Mediterranean version featuring Kalamata olives, artichoke hearts and cheery tomatoes. (Ellise Pierce/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT)

Put a twist on traditional egg salad with this Mediterranean version featuring Kalamata olives, artichoke hearts and cheery tomatoes. (Ellise Pierce/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT)

Easter still makes me think of vinegar. A clear wax crayon, drawn onto the white shell, not able to see the childish designs, hoping for the best. Dipping into the colored, vinegary dye with a flimsy wisp of wire shaped like a stop sign. Who decided a hexagon was best suited for Easter egg fishing?

Never worked very well for me. I always ended up with orange and blue fingers.

I loved the colors, though. The bright, almost turquoise blue, the grassy green, the tangerine, and pink the color of flamingos.

We always dyed dozens of hard-boiled eggs for Easter. The next day, my brother and I would race around the backyard, plucking the eggs out of grass, off fence railings, and in flower pots, filling our baskets as fast as we could. Easter was the ultimate competition. The prize? I don’t even remember. The fun was the race around the yard.

Afterwards, we had all of these eggs, which Mom had to do something with. Deviled eggs were her default, but she often made egg salad, too, which we took to our grandparents’ house in Oklahoma for a picnic lunch later that day.

Which got me to thinking about egg salad and how homey — and easy — it is. And the perfect way to use the decorated, hunted, and gathered eggs.

In France, where the love of the egg is unsurpassed — you find eggs on sandwiches (Croque Madame), on and in salads, on burgers and mixed into steak tartare, and in the many different types of quiches available at the boulangeries — I’ve yet to see anything like an egg salad, which seems strange, given, too, the mayo and mustard-centric culture. How did they miss this eggy fun, I wonder?

But living here has opened me up to the possibilities of combining eggs with just about anything, which is how I came up with these four new takes on egg salad, below. A great way to enjoy your Easter eggs, or a half-dozen hard-boiled eggs any other day of the year.

Egg Salad Tex-Mex

Makes enough for 4 tostadas

6 eggs

1 avocado, chopped

Small handful of cilantro, roughly chopped (plus additional for serving)

1 chipotle chile (in adobo), finely chopped

Sea salt

4 corn tortillas

1 lime, cut into wedges (for serving)

1. Put the eggs in a saucepan, cover with water by 2 inches, and put on the stove over medium-high heat. When the water boils, cover, reduce heat to a simmer and set the timer for 10 minutes. Carefully pour off the hot water, then put the pot in the sink and let cold water run over the eggs until they’re cool enough to peel. Roughly chop the eggs and put them in a bowl.

2. Add the avocado, cilantro, chopped chipotle, and salt to taste. Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.

3. To serve, preheat the oven to broil. When the oven’s hot, toast your tortillas by putting them directly on the rack, making sure to flip them to the other side after about a minute. Be sure to watch them carefully so they don’t burn. Spoon one-fourth of the egg salad on each of the four tortillas and sprinkle with a little more cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.

Egg Salad Mediterraneo

Makes enough for 4 sandwiches

6 eggs

6 cherry tomatoes, chopped

10 artichoke heart quarters (in oil), chopped

6 fresh basil leaves, chopped (with additional for serving)

8 kalamata olives, pitted and chopped

1 heaping tablespoon Hellmann’s mayonnaise

Sea salt and pepper

1. Put the eggs in a saucepan, cover with water by 2 inches, and put on the stove over medium-high heat. When the water boils, cover, reduce heat to a simmer and put on the timer for 10 minutes. Carefully pour off the hot water, then put the pot in the sink and let cold water run over the eggs until they’re cool enough to peel. Roughly chop the eggs and put them in a bowl.

2. Add the cherry tomatoes, artichoke hearts, basil, kalamata olives, mayo, salt and pepper to taste. Let rest in the fridge for 2 hours before serving. I like to serve this on toasted grainy bread, open-face, like a French tartine, with a bit more chopped basil on top.

French Egg Salad

Makes enough for 2 large or 4 regular-size sandwiches

6 large eggs

10 French cornichons, chopped

1 heaping tablespoon Hellmann’s mayonnaise

½ tablespoon Dijon mustard

A pinch piment d’Espelette (optional; see note)

Sea salt and pepper

1 baguette, sliced

1. Put the eggs in a saucepan, cover with water by 2 inches, and put on the stove over medium-high heat. When the water boils, cover, reduce heat to a simmer and put on the timer for 10 minutes. Carefully pour off the hot water, then put the pot in the sink and let cold water run over the eggs until they’re cool enough to peel. Chop the eggs and put them in a bowl.

2. Add the cornichons, mayo, mustard, piment d’Espelette, and salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving. Serve on a baguette (I like mine toasted) with an additional sprinkle of piment d’Espelette for color — voilà!

Note: Piment d’Espelette is a French chile pepper from the Southwest of France, milder than cayenne and without the smokiness of, say, chipotle or Spanish paprika. It can be found in specialty stores. As there is not an American equivalent, if you can’t find it, simply leave it out, and the egg salad will still be delicious.

Egg Salad
Fancy Schmancy

Makes enough for about 2 dozen hors d’oeuvres-size toasts

6 eggs

A small handful of fresh dill, chopped (plus more for serving)

1 tablespoon capers, chopped

1 heaping tablespoon Hellmann’s mayonnaise

Sea salt and pepper

5.29-ounce box of tiny toasts

3.5 ounces of smoked salmon, sliced into small pieces

1. Put the eggs in a saucepan, cover with water by 2 inches, and put on the stove over medium-high heat. When the water boils, cover, reduce heat to a simmer and put on the timer for 10 minutes. Carefully pour off the hot water, then put the pot in the sink and let cold water run over the eggs until they’re cool enough to peel. Grate the eggs and put them in a bowl.

2. Add the dill, capers, mayonnaise, salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.

3. When ready to serve, spoon some of the egg salad on your tiny toasts, top with a piece of salmon and sprinkle a bit more dill on top.

Pierce is author of “Cowgirl Chef: Texas Cooking with a French Accent.” (Running Press, $25).