Just Eggs-zactly What We Needed!

On Sundays, we walk down the hill to the barrio of Fovissste to the Tianguis Sunday Market. There, we like to get a late breakfast / early lunch and do a little shopping for the week.

Lunch at the market

This week we were mainly interested in buying chicken and a little beef. The prices are good and the quality is exceptional. We visit favorite vendors each week and buy what looks good.

We bought a whole chicken which will be cut into parts here at home – legs, wings, and thighs to fry up and eat with rice, beans, and veg. Breasts will get deboned and braised with carrot and celery then used in other recipes. All the odd bits go into the soup pot for later in the week. Cost for the whole chicken? About $5 US. For about a 6-pound bird.

Meanwhile, eggs. Two weeks ago, we bought a “shelf” of eggs for $100Mxn, or about $5 US. 30 eggs. Large, brown, probably “organically grown”, almost undoubtedly free-range. Bright orange yolks, full of flavor. Amazing.

If you’ve never eaten homegrown eggs, you don’t know what you’re missing. Lots of flavor. There’s just one thing you have to get over: they’re fresh. As in gathered and candled within the previous 24 hours fresh. They are also never EVER refrigerated. Accordingly, the “shelf” of eggs lives on a real, actual shelf in our kitchen.

Untying the protective band, then our new eggs in all their chicken-y glory.

But what to do with the 8 eggs that were “left over” from the previous purchase two weeks ago? I hard-boiled them and turned the whole pile into egg salad, featuring a few chopped up slices of quick sweet garlic pickle that I made earlier this week after one of the produce ladies tossed in a bonus couple of cucumbers into our order last week.

Basic Egg Salad

8 eggs, hard cooked, shells removed, diced

Several thin slices of red onion, minced

One or two inner stalks of celery with leaves, minced

Two or three slices of orange sweet pepper, minced

Slices of Quick Sweet Garlic Pickles, 3 or 4, minced

Mayonnaise, to taste (several tablespoons)

Chipotle mayonnaise, to taste (a generous tablespoon)

Salt, pepper, and ground thyme to taste

While the eggs are boiling and then chilling in ice water, prepare the “sauce” by combining all the rest of the ingredients in a medium size bowl.

Peel the eggs (using a teaspoon to crack them all over, dunk them in cool water, then slip the tip of the spoon under the shell to loosen it – the shell comes right off!), dice them into the sauce, then blend well.

Give it a taste. Adjust the seasonings as needed. You might even want a little of the “pickle juice” in there if you need to tart it up a bit. Do what you want – it’s your egg salad now.

Quick Sweet Garlic Pickles

In a saucepan, combine:

1 cup mild vinegar (I used 2/3 rice vinegar, 1/3 white vinegar – that’s what I have available in Oaxaca)

1/2 cup water (in Mexico, I would specify drinking water, but elsewhere just tap water is usually fine)

1/4 cup sugar (I used raw or Turbinado sugar because that’s what is sold in the markets and groceries in Oaxaca City)

2 Tbsp. sea salt

1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

1/2 tsp. whole cumin seed

Bring the pickling brine to a boil, then take off the heat. While you’re waiting for the brine to boil, wash and slice a couple of good salad cukes in 1/8″ slices and peel several cloves of garlic. Smash the garlic cloves if they’re large. Put them into a heat-proof container with a lid that will go into the fridge for a week or two – I found a clean take-away carton just the thing for mine. Pour the hot brine over to cover, give it a stir just to mix things up. Cover the container and let it cool, then put it in the bottom of the fridge for several days to let the cukes soak up the goodness.

Give a slice a taste test after three or four days. Should taste like a pickle; restrain yourself from eating the whole container in one sitting unless the produce lady blessed you with more free cucumbers.

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