We love taking classics and twisting them. This is a simple and traditional filling, but the chives infused into the oil help to cut the richness of the mayonnaise, giving balance and getting the maximum amount of flavour to lift the simple sandwich to a new level; it also gives a better colour. When making mayonnaise, leave the eggs out of the fridge for a few hours; it works better when they are not cold. Warming the vinegar, as is mentioned in the recipe, helps to prevent splitting. Use a blender to make mayonnaise – it’s much quicker than a hand whisk.
For the mayonnaise
small bunch of chives
250ml sunflower oil (poured into a jug)
2 egg yolks (keep the whites for Meringues, see here)
2 tsp white wine vinegar
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the sandwiches
8 medium eggs
a loaf of your favourite bread
some watercress, or another leaf if you prefer
Make your mayonnaise first, as this will help to develop the flavours. Set up a blender and, using a pair of scissors, snip the chives into the blender bowl.
Add 100ml of oil and blend the mixture for 30 seconds. Use a rubber spatula to remove all the chive oil into a separate bowl. The longer you can leave this the better; lots of flavour is being released right now.
Now wash and dry the blender bowl – this may seem strange, as you are going to make the rest of the mayonnaise in it, but the chives release water that can affect the mayonnaise, causing it to split.
Make the mayonnaise with the egg yolks, vinegar and remaining oil exactly as on here. Turn the blender off. Pass the chive oil through a fine sieve to remove the herbs and catch it in the jug you used for the sunflower oil (saving washing up again).
Now you have to be careful, as the chive oil contains some water from the chives and this could spoil the mayonnaise.
Season the mayonnaise, then turn the motor on full, drizzle in the chive oil and, as soon as it is incorporated, immediately turn the blender off. Transfer to a mixing bowl and chill. The mayonnaise, not you.
Now on to the sandwiches. Take the eggs, put in a saucepan, cover with cold water and cook for 12 minutes (medium eggs cooked for 12 minutes will be hard-boiled, a good thing to remember). When they are cooked, drain off the hot water, rattle the eggs around to break their shells, then cover with cold water. Let them sit for 5–10 minutes to fully cool; the cold water will get into the cracks and make peeling easier. When fully cooled, peel and chop. Add to the mayonnaise and mix. Taste it – you will want to eat it before it even hits the bread.
Slice your bread, add the egg mayonnaise, then your choice of leaves and finally the lid.
There are so many variations to this. One unusual but great one is to get a bag of your favourite crisps, sprinkle them on to the egg mayonnaise and then add the lid; you will be pleasantly surprised. Or, instead of chives in the mayonnaise, try making it with 1 tsp mild curry powder instead.