Peeling makes all the difference.
Sunday morning breakfast, I’m deciding what to eat. There’s a Roma tomato. I’ll slice that and make some egg salad.
Eating a fresh tomato in January? The tomato came from a meal last week where I used a sliced tomato under a steak with anchovy sauce. Bought two and only needed one. As a farmer’s market guy, I generally don’t do “fresh” tomatoes out of season, but when I do, I buy the Roma type — they’re meaty rather than mealy — but the skins are thick and tough. But peeled and covered with egg salad, the slices can be cut with a fork so easily you don’t know they’re there, except for the burst of tomato flavor in your mouth.
Back in the day, when I was a kid, a pots and pans salesman came to our door on Harris Avenue in Columbus, Ohio. I was six or seven and don’t remember the whole pitch, but he went on about how the Guardian Service pots and pans didn’t need much water to cook. “All the vitamins are in the skins,” he said, “so with little water, you’re not cooking all those vitamins out! Not only that, the skins will be tender and taste good.” My mom bought some of those pans, but they didn’t make the skins taste good.
Later, as a geezer, I learned from watching Jacques Pepin on the TV that when you’re using raw peppers in a salad, or to sauté, it’s a good idea to peel them with a vegetable peeler. Wow. He’s so right. I peel most fruit with a vegetable peeler, as well. Peeling makes all the difference.
Quick egg salad for one
Put two eggs in a small saucepan and cover with cold water, when the water boils, cover the pan and set it off the heat for 12 minutes. While they’re resting, chop two cornichons and 4 black olives.
Plunge the eggs into ice water to cool for 5 minutes. While the eggs are cooling, bring your egg boiling water back to a boil and drop the tomato in for ten seconds (don’t leave the tomato in for longer than that or it will get gooey and mushy under the skin). Peel and slice the tomato and array the slices on a plate.
Peel and chop the eggs. Mix with the corinchons, olives, about one teaspoon each of butter and mayonnaise, salt and pepper. Pile that on the tomato slices. [If you’re using cold eggs, omit the butter and double the mayo.]
What’s that pinkish, orangeish thing on the plate, you might ask. That would be fried Spam. If you’re not a Spam fan (I am), you can use breakfast sausages or just leave out the meat part.