Serious Eats: Recipes

Dinner Tonight: Potato, Chicken, Green Bean, Egg, and Avocado Salad in an Herb Mayonnaise

There was no hope for brevity in titling this recipe—a salad can be made a thousand ways, and rarely is one transcendent or ubiquitous enough to merit its own name. Cobb salad is one; salad Niçoise—the grandfather of composed salads—another. This recipe didn’t land far from either of those trees, an elegant take from Tamasin Day-Lewis’s Good Tempered Food. "Composed" salads, as opposed to the “simple” or tossed variety with lots of leaves (which is what I’m used to calling a salad) are composed of carefully chosen ingredients—usually what’s in season—and are arranged elegantly for everyone to dig in to the varying flavors, textures, and layers. There’s usually a protein around, which makes them filling enough for a low-key light dinner.

Homemade mayonnaise can be made quickly in a food processor, or with a little arm muscle, in a mixing bowl. And there’s really no reason not to make it from scratch while waiting for the beans to cook through (and do let them cook through—as Day-Lewis says, there’s no reason for beans to be al dente). You could vary the herbs: Parsley is good for an overall herby flavor, but use it as a launching pad by adding chives or basil. The sharpness of chives would help counteract the overall richness of egg yolk and avocado, while the basil is a bit sweeter and mellow. Either way, this is absolute comfort food, especially if the potatoes and eggs are just barely warm.

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