Thursday, April 5, 2012

Eggs-cellent Idea!

Pocketful of Sunshine by Natasha Bedingfield
I'm a big fan of eggs.  Always have been.  I love the whole egg and feel just a little bad for the yolk.  It gets such a bad rap - tossed aside while the white is then put through all sorts of tricks to try and make you think you're still getting the yolk.  It IS the "pocketful of sunshine" inside a most perfect food.  Yolks bring us velvety puddings and thick, rich custards.  Mix them with sugar and beat until full of air and they're light and fluffy and the perfect base for a moist cake, a 'sponge,' upon which all sorts of loveliness can be piled.  In this recipe, the cooked yolks meld with the cheese and heighten the cheese's melty mouth-feel.  They are a friendly duo.  You can try it without the yolks, I suppose.  Oh, but that makes me sad to even consider it.  

Chances are you're going to have several extras of these laying around next week.
I have a tasty way to use up those orphans left behind after the initial thrill of the hunt is over and you can't bear the thought of another deviled egg.

I came upon this recipe when my children were still quite little.  I had gone to a friend's house so we could work together on planning a party for the children at our church.  The planning took us into lunch time and our children were letting us know that they were staaaarrrrving!  My friend offered to fix us a quick lunch as we lived about 30 minutes away.  I gratefully accepted, not looking forward to a half hour chorus of whining hungry bellies.

It was the week after Easter and my friend pulled a tray of Easter eggs out of her fridge and began peeling them.  "Ah!",  I thought.  Egg salad sandwiches!  Yum!  But then she proceeded to shred some cheddar cheese, slice up some black olives, dice some onion and bell pepper, and chop up the eggs.  She worked swiftly and I watched, intrigued, as she combined them all together and squirted in some ketchup and vegetable oil!  I finally asked what she was up to.

She explained that this dish had become a family favorite for the week after Easter to use up the hard-boiled eggs.  I watched as she stirred the mixture together and then spread it on hamburger buns that had been pulled apart at the joint.  She then broiled the open-face sandwiches until bubbly and warm.  They looked wonderful!  I hoped my kids would like them - and they did!  I couldn't wait to fix them for the rest of my family.  They were a hit all around and, like my friend's family, this became an Easter tradition for my family as well.

I haven't made them for a few years as we have become empty-nesters and, therefore, don't boil mass quantity of eggs at Easter time any more.  When I decided to do a post on this recipe, however, I got to make them again!  My husband was surprised to see them when he got home for dinner.  We were both surprised as we had forgotten how good they were!  Golden bubbly tops cover a lovely, oozy, cheesy underneath.  It's really delicious - both in flavor and texture.  You forget you're eating hard-boiled eggs!
If this sounds like a strange idea to you, I hope you'll set aside your hesitations and give them a try.  I'm quite sure you'll be pleasantly surprised!  I did an experiment and prepared half of the batch with split croissants, trying to dress them up a bit.  I was not impressed.  The hamburger buns provide a more stable foundation for the eggy spread.  With something this yummy you want a proper stage on which to present it!  You'll definitely be thinking you've hit a pocketful of sunshine - oh!

Eggy Bun Spread
printable recipe card
6 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
1/2 c. chopped black olives
4 T. vegetable oil
1/4 c. ketchup
2 T. diced onion
1/4 t. garlic powder
1/4 of a bell pepper, diced
2 1/2 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 t. salt
6 hamburger buns, separated

Mix all ingredients except the buns in a large mixing bowl.  Use a spatula and spread about 1/3 c. of the mixture on each flat side of hamburger bun.  Place on a sheet tray and turn broiler on high.  Position the oven rack on next to highest shelf.  You don't want them to get too brown before they have a chance to get warm and gooey on the inside.  If they brown too fast you can turn off the broiler and just cook them about 5 minutes longer in a 350 degree oven.  Serve warm.

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