It can’t just be coincidence that the world’s two top salad dressings, mayonnaise and vinaigrette, are originally French. The French could not do without either one of them, and the country-wide popularity of Oeufs Mayonnaise as a cold first course is proof. Often the hard-boiled eggs are served plain, accompanied only by a few baguette slices and not even a lettuce leaf for contrast. You can, of course, add herbs to the mayonnaise, or a few sprigs of watercress on the side. I like to sieve a bit of egg yolk to scatter on top as “mimosa,” an echo of the fluffy yellow flowers.
Make the mayonnaise. Peel the eggs and halve them lengthwise. Arrange 3 halves, points inward, on each of 4 individual plates. Coat each half with a generous spoonful of mayonnaise. Separate the remaining egg yolks from the whites. Chop the whites and divide them evenly among the plates, piling them in the center of the coated eggs. Push the egg yolks through a strainer so the fluffy purée falls on top of the eggs, again dividing evenly. Serve within an hour or the surface of the mayonnaise will discolor.
© 2007 All rights reserved. Published by Chronicle Books.