Oeufs Mayonnaise with Fried Capers

Carrie Solomon moved to France two decades ago on a whim…

“I could say I did it in order to learn the language,” she writes in her new cookbook Bohemian Cookingbut “really, I did it for the bread and cheese — a staple of my college vegetarian diet.” Back then, it wasn’t easy to be a vegetarian in France where “lardons were scattered on every frisée salad,” but over the years (and after working with the vegetable-focused visionary chef Alain Passard), Carrie found herself drawn to hosting garden-forward gatherings. Her food is somehow elegant and unfussy, the kinds of dishes you want to have on hand as you head into the summer — like these simple eggs with mayonnaise and fried capers.

As Carrie explains, this dish is “the cousin of deviled eggs. The difference is that the yolks are left intact, and rather than stuffing the eggs, you cover them with mayonnaise… Whether you spoon the mayonnaise with a heavy hand or not, you’ll want to serve these with a little bread for mopping up any leftover mayonnaise or bits of fried capers. And go ahead and change up the topping. My rule is to always add something briny on top — capers, pickles, olives — as well as something crunchy — fried herbs, crispy shallots, toasted buckwheat, or herby bread crumbs. Make these what you want!”

Oeufs Mayonnaise with Fried Capers
From Bohème Cooking: French Vegetarian Recipes by Carrie Solomon
Serves 4

6 medium eggs (see note)
2 tablespoons capers
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
Sea salt
¾ cup mayonnaise, homemade or store-bought
Espelette pepper or chili powder, optional

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and prepare a cold water bath. Place the eggs gently in the pot with a skimming spoon or other large spoon. Boil for 7 to 9 minutes, depending on how cooked you like your yolks. I like mine cooked at 7 minutes 30 seconds, resulting in an egg that’s jammy on the inside with the whites more or less firm and therefore not too difficult to peel. For a firmer yolk (and white), add on another minute or two. When the eggs are done cooking, immediately place them in the cold water bath for 3 minutes, then allow them to cool in their shells at room temperature. Hot eggs are more fragile than cold, so wait to peel them when they have cooled down, at least 20 minutes.

In the meantime, make the fried capers. Gently press the capers between the folds of a kitchen towel in order to remove as much liquid as possible. Heat half the olive oil in a small frying pan over medium heat. Add the capers and pan fry them for 1 to 2 minutes, until the edges are crispy and golden. Remove them and place on a paper towel. Heat the rest of the oil and fry the rosemary for 2 to 3 minutes, until the edges are crispy and golden. Lightly salt the rosemary, remove from the pan, and place on a paper towel.

Peel the eggs and slice them in half lengthwise. Place them on a serving plate. I like to place half the eggs with the flat side down, this keeps them from slipping around on the plate. Spoon the mayonnaise on top of each egg and sprinkle with the fried capers, rosemary, and sea salt. I also like to top them with a little Espelette pepper and mustard seed caviar. Serve immediately or keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 hours before serving.

Note: The cooking time for your eggs can vary depending on their size and temperature. A small egg will cook 1 minute faster than a medium egg, and a large egg will take 1 to 2 minutes more. A cold egg will take 30 seconds longer to cook compared to a room temperature egg, so keep this in mind. If you are cooking more than 6 eggs, I would suggest boiling the eggs in batches, as overcrowding the pot can also change the cooking time.

Thank you, Carrie!

P.S. An easy breakfast board and French-style apple cake.

(Excerpted from Bohème Cooking: French Vegetarian Recipes © 2024, reprinted by permission of Countryman Press, an imprint of W. W. Norton & Co., Inc. All rights reserved.)

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