Sour cream Japanese egg salad
This Japanese-inspired egg salad is on rotation at home. Sometimes I just get stuck on particular flavours and cook them over and over again. It becomes like a craving. The sweetness and the mustard in this is something I wanted, but the more you cook the same thing the more often you make slight changes, which is how I arrived here.
I first encountered this salad at a restaurant outside the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo, served as a breakfast alongside smoked eel. That dish contained mayonnaise but, as I started making it myself, I slowly reduced the Kewpie down to nothing. As with a traditional tonnato dressing, I started relying instead on the velvety quality of the egg yolks. It makes for a much lighter salad.
The eggs here are key. Here’s how I make mine. I put eight eggs into a pot of boiling water. From that moment, I cook for eight minutes exactly. I then plunge them into iced water for 15 minutes. Then peel. I use eggs straight from the fridge, which also makes a difference. The size of your pot will change this as well – so test until you are happy with how the yolks are set. You want them to be soft and a bit jammy. An overcooked yolk won’t emulsify with the oil and will make a disappointing salad.
I currently serve a version of this salad with grass-fed bavette steak and shoyu dressing at Thyme, the restaurant at Alba Thermal Springs and Spa on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula. It would work just as well with smoked fish or eel or spooned over cooked prawns. It is also great with some curry powder added to the dressing, served as a sandwich in white bread with shaved lettuce. Alternatively, make an improvised smørrebrød by spreading the egg salad without the kipfler on rye and finishing with a grating of fresh horseradish.
The spring onion garnish I have suggested here does take a long time in the oven, but it adds a bit of drama to the dish and the subtle flavour of the charred onion really complements the roundedness of the eggs.
Time: 40 minutes (plus two hours for charred spring onions)
- 8 x 8-minute eggs refreshed and peeled, used warm
- 1 granny smith apple, 2mm dice
- 50ml white rice vinegar
- 7 feferoni (pickled chilli)
- 5 spring onions (whites for salad; green tops for optional garnish)
- 600g kipfler potatoes
- 50ml virgin olive oil
- 50ml white rice vinegar
- ¼ raw cauliflower, finely sliced
- salt and pepper
- 3 tbsp sour cream
- 3 tbsp thickened yoghurt
- 3 tsp English mustard
- 1¼ tbsp brown sugar
- 1½ tsp salt flakes
- 60ml virgin olive oil
- 20 grinds black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 160ºC.
- Cut the green tops off the spring onion and place on a lined baking tray. Cook for two hours, until deep green-brown. (This is optional but makes a great garnish.)
- Place kipflers in cold salted water and boil until very tender.
- Very finely slice the white ends of the spring onions.
- Peel and slice the potatoes into three-centimetre rounds. Splash with 50 millilitres of white rice vinegar and the same of virgin olive oil. Add the sliced spring onions. Cover and keep warm.
- Cook and peel the eggs and chop or crush with a fork a little.
- Dice the apple and cover with 50 millilitres of white rice vinegar. Set aside for five to 10 minutes.
- Add all the dressing ingredients to a bowl and stir to incorporate.
- Fold the chopped egg into the dressing and mash with a fork a little more. Remove the apple from the vinegar and add to the dressing mix.
- Shave the cauliflower with a mandolin or slice with a very sharp knife. Set this in a dish, then add the potato and finally spoon over the egg mixture. Garnish with charred spring onion and a few feferoni.
This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on October 21, 2023 as "Beyond a yolk".
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