Curried Salad Eggs are sweet and savory and altogether SOUTHERN with the incorporation of a regional condiment found in the seasoned home cooks pantry...
It was the Forth of July holiday as well as my ex's stepfather's birthday celebration when I first tasted Curried Salad Eggs. My boyfriend's mom had invited the world to this party, and cooked and prepped for a full week to fill the buffet tables. She was an outstanding cook and a relaxed hostess who took very good care of her guests. I'd never heard the term 'salad egg' before for what I'd always known as a deviled egg. I figured it would be just one more Yankee thing that would likely be pointed out to me, but that never happened.
Instead, when I asked her about her eggs, she explained that was what her mother and her mother's mother called them. They were presented beautifully on several vintage egg plates garnished with pickles, pickled vegetables, olives, and okra. The plates were entirely colorful and appealing, and those curious little curried snacks were calling my name...
All images and text ©Jenny DeRemer for Not Entirely Average, LLC
The sauce that made Eugene R. Durkee famous in 1867...if you've never tried it, it's kind of a "must" as far as American icons of food go.
If you have never heard of Durkee Famous Sauce, you are probably not alone. I knew of it before moving to Charleston, but only because my own grandmother had a jar of it in her refrigerator. I knew Gram to use it on turkey sandwiches. It was not until chef Vivian Howard of A Chef's Life highlighted Durkee Famous Sauce during an episode for potato salad, did I feel compelled to highlight a recipe using the stuff. Seems this little jar is found in MANY southern kitchens.
A regional food for sure, it's a mustardy, vinegary, mayonnaise-based condiment that I have almost NEVER seen on any store shelf before moving here. And according to the Durkee company which also manufactures spices, marinades and powdered sauce mixes, "This popular tangy sandwich spread has been around for over 100 years, and was even served in the Lincoln White House." Hard to say if this claim is at all true, but hey, if it was good enough for Abe's turkey sandwich, I'm all about it...but for now, relegated to Curried Salad Eggs...
Sometimes, the old recipes are the BEST recipes...
I gained two fabulous recipes from Miss Lily. The recipe for Curried Salad Eggs was one of them. Her Hummingbird Cake was the other. To this day I am entirely grateful to her for the recipes, the friendship and for sharing her family with me, even if it was only for a spell. I'll be sure to share that Hummingbird Cake once I feel I can do it justice. It remains a bake I still require practice mastering. For now, Curried Salad Eggs are front and center. Lily garnishes her eggs with a pimento stuffed green olive slice. When preparing these in my kitchen, I debated about the olive slice. It was good, but I wanted something to elevate the flavor of the curry. After all, curry was the basis of this particular egg recipe.
Intent on dressing the salad eggs with something to match the curry, I decided on a pickled onion. Using my Cinnamon and Spice Pickled Onions recipe, I swapped out the red onions for Vidalia's. A Vidalia onion is an unusually sweet onion. This is in whole or in part due to the low amount of sulfur found in the soil in the town of Vidalia, Georgia. Not surprising, this is where the majority of these onions are grown. I added a scant amount of turmeric to the pickling liquid and added the onions after coarsely chopping them. Since these are quick pickled onions, the Vidalia's were ready within a few hours. They were a superior garnish atop the Curried Salad Eggs to anything else I could have imagined dressing them with. Between the turmeric and the cinnamon, they had turned a beautiful golden orange color.
Ingredients for Curried Salad Eggs
- 12 large eggs, hard boiled and sliced lengthwise, yolks scooped into a bowl and mashed
- 4 tablespoons Durkee Famous Sauce
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- pickled Vidalia onions, a thin slice of pimento-stuffed green olive, or a dash of hot sauce for garnish
- Have ready an egg plate of flight board on which you will display/serve from.
- If using a piping bag, fit with an .21 open star tip. If piping without a tip, prepare a small plastic baggie.
- To the mashed hard cooked yolks, add the Durkee Sauce and the curry powder and stir, continuing to mash and smooth the filling out. I find using the tines of a fork work best.
- Taste the filling. If it requires additional curry to taste, add 1 teaspoon at a time. If you prefer the profile of the Durkee Sauce, add additional also by the teaspoon.
- Pipe or spoon into the whites and arrange on the prepared dish or flight board.
- Garnish with pickled Vidalia onions, a thin slice of pimento-stuffed green olive, or a dash of hot sauce.