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I’ve wanted to talk to you about Isot for a long time, but the little packet I opened sat on my counter for a few weeks, waiting to go into something else. But it wasn’t until I found myself with an overload of eggs, and an odd craving for an egg salad sandwich (something I haven’t had for years) that I found a way to feature this curiously delicious pepper, which has fruity and spicy nuances happening at the same time.

Isot is also known as Urfa Biber, and is a deep-purplish ground pepper. Whereas pomegranate molasses was all the rage a few years ago, Isot kind of got overlooked. And because I’m constantly asked “What’s the next food trend?” whenever I get interviewed, I’d like to propose Isot. It was given to me as part of a Turkish care package by Cenk, when he came to visit from Istanbul. And ever since I ripped open the curious little packet of pepper, which is the color of burnished eggplant skin, I’ve been intrigued by the thought of putting it in – or on – something else.

IsotDijon Mustard
egg saladurfa papper

I found myself overstocked on eggs because a few weeks ago, my local grocery store had a promotion on free-range eggs. After watching a television program on how “caged” chickens are treated here and elsewhere, I decided a while back to use free-range eggs as much as I can. I go through a lot of eggs with all the baking and so forth, so I bought eight or ten 6-packs of free-range eggs. (Of course, my ‘quantity-buying’ always startles the cashiers here in Paris.) Then I found myself embroiled with projects other than baking around here, including construction and moving house, so with my surplus of eggs, I made egg salad.

hard-boiled eggs

You can use any kind of spicy or smoke red pepper or chile powder that you wish. I know this is kind of radical, in a retro, hippy-dippy way perhaps, but a handful of sunflower seeds is very good in egg salad. So next time you make egg salad, you might want to try adding some. They have sort of a sly nutty, buttery taste and a subtle crunch, which acts as a nice counterpoint and pairs surprisingly well with a scoop of mayonnaise and the eggs. I do, however, draw the line at sprouts. Which I used to eat because I thought that you were supposed to like them, until I realized I that I didn’t. So I stopped.

making egg salad

But I was happy to revisit egg salad, especially using an ingredient that was new to me. I spread it on some grainy bread, then I found myself scraping the last of it right out of the bowl.

Egg Salad

My uncle once told me a funny story: about forty years ago, he once set out to make a recipe that called for capers and he thought that he would use fresh, rather than something from a jar. He looked and looked and looked and couldn’t find fresh. He could only find the pickled ones, which he later realized were how capers were prepared and sold. And now, every time I open a jar I think of his story. I like a little bit of chopped capers in my egg salad, or something a bit vinegary. You could also use some chopped cornichons or pickles – and their juice – in place of the capers. You can use any kind of pepper powder that you want. Note that if you use a red one, it will turn the color of the egg salad a somewhat fiery shade of red.
  • 6 hard-boiled eggs
  • 1/3 cup (70g) mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon (drained) capers, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons caper juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon pepper, such as Isot (Urfa), black pepper or red pepper powder
  • sea salt
  • optional: 3 tablespoons sunflower seeds
  • Peel the eggs and chop them into pieces.
  • Mix the eggs in a bowl with the mayonnaise, mustard, capers, caper juice, pepper, and a good sprinkle salt. If desired, add the sunflower seeds.
  • To serve, spread on toasted grainy bread, then garnish with additional salt, pepper, and some chopped chives. Or for a real treat, top with a few strips of crispy bacon.

Related Links

Aleppo, Kirmizi, Maras and Urfa (An Educated Palate)

Urfa Biber (The Kitchn)

Homemade Eggless Mayonnaise

The Heat of the Matter (Gourmet)

How to Make Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs (Simply Recipes)

Urfa Biber (Serious Eats)

Ufra Pepper (The Perfect Pantry)

Turkey Kababs with Urfa Pepper (New York Times)

The Grainy Breads of Paris

Places to Buy Isot (Urfa Pepper)

Urfa Pepper (Formaggio Kitchen)

Urfa Turkish Red Pepper Flakes (Zingerman’s)

Urfa Chili Pepper (Vanns Spices)

Urfa (Amazon)


    • Maureen in Oakland

    As a tender of 11 very spoiled backyard hens, I often find myself in the predicament of egg overload and therefore make egg salad. I will have to try adding the sunflower seeds…that sounds good.

    But I am more curious, what does the Isot taste like? Is it like black pepper or is there a different flavor to it?

    • Miss K

    I’ve never heard of isot but it sounds lovely, I will have to track some down. I usually put a bit of chipotle into my egg salad (then again, I usually put a bit of chipotle in everything!).

    I taught an Aussie friend here in Paris to make egg salad and she, in turn, introduced it to her French boyfriend, who is a restauranteur and enormous food snob. And after initially turning his nose up at it, he deigned to try it one day and liked it so much that he promptly slathered it all over a steak he had just cooked and ate it like that. On. A. Steak. True story.

    • Annabel (Mrs Redboots)

    The difference in our dialects – to me, that is an egg mayonnaise sandwich! An egg salad sandwich would have lettuce, tomato and cucumber in it, as well as hard-boiled eggs, etc. In fact, back in the day when one’s sandwiches were made to order rather than bought in cardboard sleeves, it was quite normal to order an egg mayonnaise sandwich with salad!

    Your pepper sounds really interesting, though. Different….

    And I have to thank you for your tip about adding soya sauce to chicken; my daughter made a chicken soup yesterday that she said was too bland, so I suggested she add a little soya sauce, which she did, and it was seriously delicious!

    • Stephanie Rose

    Funny, I’ve been craving egg salad lately as well, but now you have me craving that bread in you picture! What kind is it?

    • ron shapley(nyc)

    Hi Dave…………. Running down to Kalustyan’s today to get some Isot……. Thanks for the tip..


    • Maureen

    Isot is new to me too but that sandwich looks wonderful. I’m hungry for egg salad now.

    • peicook

    Interesting post. I googled the spice and found the following additional info at an online Spice Merchant:

    “Biber” is Turkish for chile, and these crushed Urfa chiles are unlike anything else we’ve tasted. They are a sort of cousin to our popular Marash chiles – they grow one mountain range over in the Urfa region of Turkey – but with an intense smoky depth that really sets them apart.

    Our Urfas are crushed into oily purple-black flakes and have the same moderate heat as the Marash and Aleppo chiles from the same part of the world. Their flavour is pruney and smoky with a distinct scent of chocolate and tobacco. Use them in rice dishes, stews and anywhere you want a deep, dark flavour and a touch of heat. They also pair very well with chocolate and sweet dishes.

    Urfa Biber flakes are quite moist and clumpy due to the high level of oil in them. We recommend keeping them in the fridge.

    • Sandra

    I love egg salad sandwiches but I very rarely make them at home. Of late, I haven’t had a good one, many are too dry or too runny. Your recipe sounds easy and delicious so I’ll try it this weekend. (I overbought eggs too.)

    • Vicki Bensinger

    For years I’ve avoided eating whole eggs opting for simply the egg whites in an effort to keep my cholesterol low, which fortunately has remained that way. However upon waking this morning I read your post and now have an enormous craving for egg salad. I’ve decided that it would be perfectly fine to splurge today on a protein packed egg salad sandwich for lunch. Mmm I can’t wait. Next splurge I will be sure to have some Isot.

    • Carol L

    It must be in the air ! I too had an intense craving for an egg salad sandwich and stopped to buy more eggs yesterday just for that purpose….hummmm, maybe chickens are sending out subliminal blips over the airwaves.

    • David
    David Lebovitz

    Vicki: You can make a pretty good egg salad with just the whites and some tofu mayonnaise (people laugh, but it’s not bad..) and add some extra flavorings, like more pepper, herbs, and perhaps a minced shallot.

    Stephanie: The bread is featured in the post I did on Grainy Breads in Paris, which is linked at the end of the post – it’s great with egg salad.

    Miss K: It’s interesting that a French friend would turn their noses up at it because the classic Oeuf du Mayonnaise, is simply hard-boiled eggs topped with a dollop of mayo, which is essentially the same thing, just not mixed together.

      • Vicki Bensinger

      That sounds really good David. I will try that.

    • Stephen

    You are supposed to be able to use unripe nasturtium seeds in place of capers, but you will need to pickle them to develop the flavour and texture. You can even eat the leaves and flowers if you can stop caterpillars getting to them first.

    • Jyoti

    And I just boiled some free range eggs (ahem ahem) for making an egg curry! Now this! David you leave me no choice but to abandon my plans and make new ones involving capers…Life I tell ya..

    • Karen Graham

    Now I have a craving for egg salad. I need to try the sunflower seeds next time. I always chop up a bit of onion to add the crunch and add just a dash of worchester sauce, too. I use sweet pickle relish, too.
    Thanks for the recipe, David.

    • ault

    What’s with the pencil marks on the eggs?

    • Arzu

    I’m nice to coincide that you use isot. As you’ve mentioned isot is a real delicacy! I mean first you taste it as sweet then it gets hotter. And isot is essential for “Çiğ Köfte” ( chi koufte) and “Lahmacun”.

    • Cat/Sugar Daze

    I’ve never heard of Isot – guess this is the spice you found in your cabinet? I love egg salad and haven’t had one in years. I am so with you on free-range eggs – it’s all I ever buy and I am adamant about this. My mom used to write an “H” on the hard-boiled eggs when she put them back in the fridge. Seeing that pic where you did the same just took me back about 30 years. :)

    • kristi

    i read “sly nutty, buttery taste” as “slutty, buttery taste”. it’s clearly time for: more coffee, *and* glasses. :)

    • Hillary

    Oh, man, I love egg salad sandwiches. A friend came to our house last weekend explaining that his parents’ chickens are over-producing, so he brought with him a plate of deviled eggs – another great use of extra eggs…

    • kitchenvoyage

    I just a bit tired of the heavy butter and cream scarmbled eggs in britain, I think i will try your egg salad for a change, I think can be a good novelty for a classic english breakfast

    • Oana from dishchronicles

    That is the best egg sandwich shot I have ever seen. I didn’t even think it was possible. Great recipe.

    • cuocere

    I have always hated egg salad, but am dedicing now that it’s something that I am supposed to like (like you and the sprouts). I am going to give this a try, especialy since coming from you it seems so frenchy and sophisticated :)

    • Pamela L.

    Vicki Bensinger: The cholesterol in an egg does not translate into cholesterol in your body. That is misinformation. They are two separate things. Go ahead and eat the whole egg, without guilt…

    • Charlie


    Is Isot like a table pepper or more like chopped up chili peppers?

    • Maya

    Love the sunflower seeds addition! BTW, we ate at Floriole in Chicago recently thanks to you. Possibly my favorite bakery ever! Thanks for the recommendation.

    • Marguerite

    I, too, had a sudden craving for egg salad a couple of weeks ago, having bought an extra dozen (sold as everything in the US in larger sizes than France), when they were on sale for $1. My Mom’s egg salad was eggs, mayo (Hellman’s, of course), salt, period. So I set out jazzing it up and aside from the capers, it was remarkably like David’s. I used the afore-mentioned ingredients, plus Dijon and whole-grain mustard; espelette pepper; black pepper. We enjoyed it for breakfast on toasted bagels — twice! Can’t wait to do it again, this time adding capers and topping with bacon. YUM!

    • Juan @ Blue Sauger Coupons

    That salad really does look delicious. Especially for a lazy Friday where I don’t want to spend alot of time prepping food.

    • Lynn at Southern Fried French

    Isot or not, I’ve now got to rush to the kitchen and make some egg salad sandwiches, after seeing that enticing photo. And THANK YOU for promoting free-range eggs, I hope everyone will follow suit, when it comes to eggs, chickens, and other farm animals. There is so much cruelty involved in chicken production especially.

    • Brigette

    I will be searching for some Isot in Phoenix, AZ after reading this. Love egg salad. Thanks, D!

    • David
    David Lebovitz

    Lynn: I saw a pretty awful television program here about how chickens in cages are treated, and not just but overcrowded conditions, but by the people that tend to them. I know in other countries, the situations are similar. Free-range eggs here cost about twice as much but I’m really making the effort to buy them when I can. One issue is that the sizes differ from their counterparts so I have to do a little tweaking sometimes with certain recipes, or settle for regular eggs.

    For those interested, in France, all eggs need to be labeled with a number which tells how the chickens were raised, 3 being “batterie” eggs, and 1 being cage-free. Even if you go to the market and see eggs in a basket, nesting in hay, check the numbers so you buy what you are thinking (and paying for!)

    • Christine

    I’m going to Istanbul this fall for the first time and I’d love to know what else you got in the care package, or would wish for from Turkey. The food items there will be mostly new to me I expect and I’d hate to miss an opportunity to bring friends and family something special!

    • Claudia

    People forget how utterly wonderful egg salad is. I have a stand-by – fresh dill and lots of chopped olives but as an equal-opportunity egg-salad-eater, I will certainly try this and compare. Now the bread – oh yes – that bread. Free-range is the way to go. Yes, they are more expensive. But if you look at the price tag – it’s not a lobster or a beef loin or even a credible bottle of wine.

    • Kirsten@My German Kitchen…in the Rockies

    Great egg choice! I only by local, humanly certified eggs since several years now. (Same goes with meet).
    Wonderful lunch idea. Also have some rustic/ grainy bread on hand.Thanks.

    • Sean

    Is that an Illy spoon?

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      It’s an Arne Jacobsen spoon (made by Georg Jensen) – they come in left- and right-handed sizes, so no one feels left out!

    • Dee

    Love egg salad sandwiches! Also love fried egg sandwiches–whenever I ‘make’ one from my breakfast platter at a restaurant, I get comments from practically everyone in the restaurant about how they haven’t had one in forever & will be making one pronto :). Seems to me that a food-cart specializing in egg salad and fried egg sandwiches would be popular(if a bit smelly)!

    • Bobbie Kramer

    Love the picture of the eggs with the “H”s on them. This is how I store my hard-cooked eggs, too. For some reason, my husband thinks this is bizarre. We’ve been switching to free range eggs, too. Only, our chickens free range in our suburban Portland, Ore., back yard! Nothing beats the color and flavor of eggs from chickens that get to nibble greens and grasses. The only downside is that when eggs are really fresh, they are tougher to peel when they are hard-cooked. Not so much of a problem when you’re going to mash them into egg salad, however!

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      Yes, mine were a little tough to peel – which is why I didn’t take a picture of the peeled eggs ; )

    • Chris

    So glad to be in the company of so many egg salad sandwich fans :) very excited to try it with capers!

    • Erika Jenkins

    Egg mayonnaise has been on my mind too today. I’m having some friends come over for lunch tomorrow and I thought it would be a good thing to serve with my recent experiments in sour dough bread baking! Egg mayonnaise is a staple of the British afternoon tea (I’ll be making scones as well), and has its own special place in my culinary heart. Plenty of black pepper in mine, but I love the idea of the sunflower seeds…maybe sprinkled on top?

    • Jane Ridolfi

    I was just going to ask you what the markings on the eggs were then I saw your comment…thanks for the info….I mark eggs when I hard boil them …….as you know,here in nyc, the package tells you what you’re paying for and how the chickens were raised- cage free, organic, free range or “regular”!

    • fishgirl182

    i have never heard of isot but will keep an eye out for it. i love a good egg salad sandwich but i rarely make them. i haven’t tried them with capers but do usually add a bit of pickle. i am going to give your recipe a try. thanks!

    • Egg Salad Lover

    Perfect timing! We’ve been on a Woody Allen movie binge and checked out ‘What’s Up Tiger Lily’ from the library. Finding the secret recipe for Egg Salad is the goal of this goofy thriller. When one of the villains finally gets the recipe and reads it, we learn that Miracle Whip can be substituted for mayonnaise! Hearing the name of mayonnaise’s sweeter sister, I was transported back to my own youth, but I wasn’t motivated to make egg salad. Now, thank you, I am and I think that I probably will be able to find Isot in San Francisco where I buy Cage Free Organic Eggs from Trader Joe’s. Alas, they still don’t taste anywhere near as good as the eggs my neighbor’s chickens lay that I enjoy all summer in the Dordogne!
    Thanks for another great post!

    • Virginia

    I love your unique combination of seasonings and the sunflower seeds in the egg salad. Our next door neighbors are Turkish, and we have shared countless wonderful meals with them. I shall go next door to our Turkish friends for the Isot pepper, and then to the hen house for free range eggs. We live in the country just outside Vancouver. The Rhode Island Reds enjoy a free range existence twelve months of the year. Lunch today is egg salad sandwiches a la David Lebovitz.

    • stephanie

    David, there is legislation that is supposed to end the battery eggs in Europe in 2012. There are some hold-ups but the good news is that it is on the table and people are talking about it. And in the meantime, I am happy to pay more for the free range eggs.

    Also, I wanted to thank you for a past post that inspired me; I recently purchased and used a pasta maker thanks to you. I love it!

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      It’s something that is supposed to happen, although getting it going across the EU is going to be a challenge. Those big factories are pretty well-entrenched (and profitable) so am not sure how they are going to implement it. I am glad that at least in France, each egg is marked so you know what you’re getting.

    • emmycooks

    It is so hard to keep up with the pepper trends. I’ve only just gotten on the Aleppo pepper bandwagon and now I’m already behind the times! At least keeping up with spice fashions is cheaper than buying new shoes every season. :) I do love hearing about new exciting flavors, though, so thank you for letting us in on this one.

    • Sandy Castro

    Hello David,

    Where are you able to get Isot and what else to do you recommend for it to be used in? I am still fixated on the color as you described to eggplant skin..I would love to try as I am big pepper fan but am really limited to a few varieties .Thank you beforehand.

    • Vivian

    I’m wondering if this could be a little like sumac…the citrusy, crunchy spice used in Lebanon. I will be searching out isot just for the fun of it! You always take us to exotic realms through your food!

    • Robin

    I use green pimento-stuffed olives as my “sharp taste” counterpoint in egg salad. Very yummy! I may try capers sometime, because I can see how those would be good too.

    • Louise Divine

    May be that Renovation World creates a greater demand for comfort food from every level.

    • Susan

    Sunflower seeds in egg salad sounds great. I am curious where you found them in Paris?! I spent last year in Paris and could never find roasted/shelled/salted sunflower seeds (the raw ones at the Natural foods grocer don’t count!). I kept thinking about VanGogh’s sunflower painting and all the sunflower fields in the countryside outside of the city and wondered “where do all the damn sunflower seeds go?” My parisian friends all thought I was bonkers,too.

    • David
    David Lebovitz

    Susan: I had a pretty hard time finding them at first, but most of the natural food stores (like Naturalia and Biocoop) sell them. Biocoop has them in bulk.

    Robin: I like those olives in potato salad, along with hard-boiled eggs. I keep meaning to make a batch of that as well.

    Vivian: Isot (urfa) is a bit like sumac with a pungent, yet fruity and acidic taste. I really like both –

    • Laura

    It sure looks good. But I feel like I am an extra in “What’s Up Tiger Lily” after eating egg salad at Farmshop in Brentwood, West Los Angeles. It was hands down the best I have ever had (seriously found myself wishing to hell I could like the bowl in the restaurant!) but I can’t figure out what they do differently.

    • Mavis

    I love exotic spices, and I’ve never heard of Isot. I’ll have to look for it at my spice merchant, since I adore a good egg salad. Thanks David!

    • Marta

    !!! 2 sandwiches with 6 eggs! Oh boy David, you are egging out today, big time! Interesting thoughts about capers – is it really impossible to find fresh ones? It would be cool to marinate them myself… Anyway, I was recently wondering about how to distinguish the good quality ones among the many in the market. Some of them are incredibly cheap, some of them are quite expensive. Usually the ones in salt are for some reason more pricey. I am not big fan of them, couse they are too salty, and putting them into water for some time before eating sounds like too much hassle for me. Am I a total capers ignorant? I do like them and I eat thema lot. My 2-year old son loves them! Do you have some more knowledge to share about capers?

    • Teresa

    OK, now I’m going to have to go home and make some. (I always add turmeric, thus making it a fiery yellow color)


    • Sharon

    I had a pasta marinara planned for lunch, but after your eggy blog I had to make egg salad. I’ve recently learned the eggs are not to be boiled, but covered in an inch of very cold water, just barely brought to the boil in a covered pan, removed from heat for 16+ minutes, and viola.
    Happily, in Sonoma County California we have chickens running free in many backyards. (Actually, in large covered pens to protect them from feral cats, skunks, and other nocturnal elements.)

    • Renee

    Hi David,

    I will be visiting Marigot, St. Maarten in April and I’m wanting to go to the local grocery stores in search of french flour. I’m experimenting with making baguettes at home and I’ve read that american flour is different than that of french flour. Is there a french brand of flour that you prefer for making breads? Also, can you suggest any other french products used in baking that I might like to try that is superior to that of it’s american counterpart? Thanks David!

    BTW, reading your blog is very much like impulse shopping. You eat or make something and I find myself craving the same thing. It’s been quite the eating adventure with you. Thanks for the good times.

    Your admirer from Fresno, CA,

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      I don’t make bread (since there are so many great bakeries that do it for me) and I prefer American flour, which is stronger and not so finely milled as the flour found in a typical French supermarket. But French butter is great, fleur de sel de Guérande (stock up on this while in France…), Speculoos cream, and chestnut honey are French products that I like to use. If you do try French flour, I buy organic type 65. You can also get good-quality flour in natural food stores and at local markets, as some are close to flour mills and sell small bags of it.

    • Robyn | Add a Pinch

    Egg salad is one of my favorite things in the world! The flavor of capers is perfect in egg salad. We also like to add in olives stuffed with pimentos at times. So delicious!

    • Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence

    Looks delicious! I am going to have to do some spice hunting to find the Isot. Do you have an Isot Ice Cream in the works :)?

    • Amanda

    As another owner of 11 happy hens, egg use is of daily interest to me. I frequently resolve my eggy issues by baking – as evidenced by my hips. Egg salad will be on our menu for lunch today, thanks to you David. Sometimes it is very useful to be reminded of the simpler joys in life.
    Although a rich and buttery brioche is good too. ;-)

    • Gary @ The Greedy Fork

    I’ve currently got a glutton of eggs in the fridge. I was thinking about making toad-in-the-hole but now thinking a mixed grill of sausage, bacon, lamb chops, grilled tomatoes, baked beans, chips and fried eggs sounds good… if not extemely greedy :P

    • Suzanne Perazzini

    This is a great way to use up extra egg and fill the family.

    • Kiran @

    Love egg salad, we like having it for brunch. Never heard of isot before.. Thanks for sharing David :)

    • Lori S.

    Oh! Urfa! I love it. I like to mix it into the breading seasonings whenever I fry anything.

    • Jenn

    It is probably for the best that you don’t like sprouts as they are a common cause of food poisoning/sickness. Red peppers are a great crunchy alternative for egg salad.

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      Yes, there have been a number of sprout-related food issues, although I’m cautious about targeting an entire food group (I remember the Alar in apples issue that arose, and a lot of people stopped eating all apples, even though Alar was just in some of them.) I do like spicy sprouts, like radish sprouts, but I have to agree with Pee-Wee Herman who says that alfalfa sprouts “taste like hair.”

    • Li-hsia

    Those egg yolks are more deeply yellow than American eggs ever are. Diet? Breed of chicken? Camera filter?

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      French chickens are apparently fed a diet of corn, which makes their yolks a vibrant orange color.

    • Sandra

    Huge oversupply of eggs here in Australia at the moment due to a wet summer and plenty of lush tucker (food) for the chooks (chickens). Love, love egg salad, and yesterday a friend flew down from Byron Bay to my place in Sydney with two dozen farm-fresh free-range eggs as her hand luggage – what a heroine! The idea of adding capers is great, and I often top an egg salad open sandwich with an anchovy, also a delicious way to go. I’d like to share a tip for peeling eggs from Neil Perry, a top Sydney chef, he made a passing comment in his magazine column a few weeks ago – once the eggs have cooled, crack the shell all over and leave them soaking in cold water for 10 minutes. Works a treat, no more acne-eggs – thank you Neil Perry and thanks David for a terrific newsletter/blog/twitter/apps etc.

    • Linda H

    One big pan of red velvet brownies with a cream cheese swirl uses 3 whole eggs and two yolks. Just saying…

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      Then I’d have a leftover egg white ; )

    • schtef

    Reading this post made me want egg salad for lunch. So first i made mayo so i could make your egg salad. I love it in a sandwich with bitter leaves.

    • Jodie

    To make a delicious sandwich, I take 2 hard boiled eggs and mash them in a bowl with a fork. Then add salt and pepper to taste, and some thousand island dressing. It goes amazingly with lettuce.

    • anita

    Great tip thanks! Speaking of unusual items, I was in my favorite Turkish Grocer on rue Fbg. St Martin (don’t ask me the name I only know it by instinct!) and I saw some mulberry molasses. Any ideas for a potential use? I am very curious to try it but not quite sure how. Also, good to know I find spices extremely less expensive at there then anywhere else.

    • Dee

    I find it easy to peel hard-boiled eggs if, after boiling, I shock the eggs in a bowl of water mixed with ice cubes for at least 10 minutes prior to peeling.

    • Annabel (Mrs Redboots)

    You can buy French butter with fleur de sel de Guérande in it (mmm,so delicious, it’s a sin to put anything else on it!) in many, if not most British supermarkets – I’ve bought it in Tesco’s and Morrison’s (which, for those who don’t know, are relatively down-market) so it is not difficult to find, but well worth the extra pennies!

    Oddly enough, for the last few weeks the French brand Président has been supplying the cheapest butter in this country! Not lovely fleur de sel butter, but very good for ordinary use.

    • Karena

    David I love your recipe, the addition of sunflower seeds and capers! Will look for the Urfa Pepper.

    Art by Karena

    • Margaret

    Do you have a link or a good recipe for tofu mayonnaise? I love tofu and it sounds good actually.

    • KateSondersFoodWriter

    What a great way to make egg salad. I became addicted (anew) to egg salad when living in Santa Monica. This amazingAsian Tea House (Jin Patisserie) made the most remarkable whipped egg salad on olive bread. To die for! To recreat, I whip the egg yolks with mayo and (gasp!) a bit of whipped cream. Decadent, for sure, but it adds a really nice texture. Your photo is beautiful and making me extremely hungry!

    • Annemette

    First of all, thank you for your awesome blog! Recently moved to Paris, I really find usefull information here! and I love your writing!

    In 1999 the EU agreed on a Directive on Laying Hens (1999/74/EC) that resulted in the banning of the barren battery cage with a12 year phase-out period, bringing the ban into effect on 1 January 2012. Now they get a little more space pr. hen and an enriched environment.
    Unfortunately it’s still not enough, and since the major consumption of cage-egg are by the industry, I think it will take some time before all the for chicken will live in proper environment, but it is, after all, a step in the right direction, and if most consumers demanded free-range-eggs, things would happen a lot faster! So I guess your ten 6-packs of free-range eggs made a great “statement” ; )

    • Matt Maggio

    Planning a trip to Paris in June. Can you suggest where to shop for all of the fantastic dinnerware and serving accessories I see on your blog. Thanks

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      I buy a lot of stuff at flea markets, mostly in the countryside. In Paris, you can hit some of the cookware shops. There are flea markets in Paris but they tend to be more expensive. lists the antique and flea markets across France.

    • Tami

    I’ve been putting it in my hot pepper jelly for years now. I’m quite in love with it. Its also great in salsa.

    • Margie

    I’m gonna score me some sunflower seeds for my next batch of egg salad. I like a ‘crunch’ in my salad. I’ve done the pickle thing, and celery, but this little seed thing has me intrigued.

    Picked up my copy of, The Sweet Life, today. :)

    • Debbie

    Hi David,
    I just read on Clothilde’s blog that she just became a member of the Club des Croqueurs de Chocolat! Reading about it made me think of you…are you also a member? :)

    • Shari

    Ah David, it’s the simple things that make life great isn’t it? And eggs, beautiful eggs, I couldn’t live without them. I get such satisfaction from a cleanly peeled egg! I plan ahead and cook my eggs a couple of days ahead of time. For some reason, I have much better luck peeling them after they’ve had a chance to rest in the refrigerator for a day or two.

    • Margaret

    Deborah Madison came through with some fabulous tofu mayonnaise recipes and sauces with multiple variations in her wonderful cookbook This Can’t be Tofu!

    • Gastronomic nomad

    Oh egg salad…how many ways do I love thee? Love cornichons and capers in my egg salad. Last time I used thinly sliced fennel and it was delicious. I’ll definitely have to pick up a packet of the isot pepper. I’m just plain intrigued.

    • Ali

    Hi David,

    As usual I am immediately craving the delicious looking product of your most recent post! Thank you!

    However this time I also feel compelled to share a note on free range eggs for USA based readers such as myself. I looked into the issue recently and was surprised at what I discovered. I hope it is of interest.

    It’s wonderful that so many people are looking to make more ethical choices in their food purchases and it’s great that you are advocating the purchase of eggs from happier hens. In the EU the term ‘free range’ is well regulated and you are getting eggs from chickens which are given continuous daytime access to open-air runs with lots of vegetation.

    Unfortunately Here in the US ‘free range’ only means that the laying hens must have ‘access to the outdoors’. Unfortunately the USDA has no requirements for the amount, duration or quality of outdoor access. In the words of Jonathan Safran Foer ‘Imagine a shed containing thirty thousand chickens, with a small door at one end that opens to a five-by-five dirt patch – and the door is closed all but occasionally’. Beak cutting and forced molting through starvation are permitted and there is no third party auditing.

    Here are a few tips if you want to buy eggs from healthy, happy hens. It can be confusing with all those labels! Especially when so many of them are terribly misleading.

    •Look for the Animal Welfare Approved logo. They have the highest animal welfare standards of any third-party auditing program.
    •Buy eggs at a local farmers’ market, where you can talk to the farmer directly.
    •Write to your supermarket or local government representative if you are passionate about the issue.

    The Humane Society of the US has a helpful egg carton label guide:-

    Thank you and happy eating from a fellow cook, food lover and sweet tooth!

    • Lemon

    This looks good. I have not eaten egg salad for years, as with the mayonnaise, to be it very much had a taste of the 80s. Yours looks so good, maybe I should overcome my prejudice and retry.

    • Nan

    Ah, the wonders of good old egg salad! I can still picture my mother using a grinder attachment to her mix master to grind hard cooked eggs, crisp bacon and raw sweet onion to make the most marvelous sandwich or cracker spread. I continue the tradition by chopping everything finely and adding celery salt, pepper, a dash of cayenne and Hellmann’s. Thanks for such an evocative blog!

    • Margie

    Another nice addition to things like egg salad are chia seeds. Adds a nice crunch, color, texture, omega 3 and fiber without adulterating the taste of the original dish. And for mayo, I highly recommend the Southern staple, Duke’s Mayo!

    • Monique Léger

    I love urfa biber and it is all the rage in Montreal. It is also great in quiches and omelets.

    • Nita

    Hi David, egg salad is one of my Friday Night specialities, but made with lots of very well-done fried onions ..yum! I will have to hunt up this amazing sounding pepper in Sydney!

    • Johnnie Lightning

    Hi David, now thats a coincidence, we had egg salad yesterday for the first time in years, it was eggcellent……….my wifes recipe is similar to yours. Also talked about the egg salad/mayonnaise dialect thing, we live in Australia, they call it egg mayonnaise here, my wifes from the States she calls it egg salad as do I and I’m from England so I don’t know whwere I got that from………have to keep a lookout for that isot………J

    • Barknot


    When I saw the following headline I was hoping they were talking about your new home:

    “Cash in the attic! $1million in gold coins rains down from the rafters as workers renovate building in France
    By GRAHAM SMITH All By This Author – 16/02/2012 16:17:52”

    but as I read further I was saddened to learn it was not:

    “The treasure trove of 497 coins was hidden in the attic of an old building in the rural village of Les Riceys in the country’s famed Champagne region.”

    Maybe la prochaine fois. I hope your new home will soon be ready.



    • angela

    This is definitely my kind of food! Love eggs any way, but love the idea of a new ingredient (and yes, I have two bottles of pomegranate molasses loitering in my cupboard, found 2 years ago in a Lebanese deli in Marseilles after frantic searching!)

    • Julie

    Re: Sprouts, me too! But I love me some egg salad, will have to try this version.

    • Wylie Dashwood

    I discovered the genius of adding a dash of cumin to egg salad a few years ago. I may have to give Isot a try! Sounds intriguing!

    • Dana

    David- I loved seeing your egg salad recipe. When I first read the title, I thought, “why is he posting such a simple dish?” After I read the recipe, I realize that your recipe is completely different than mine, and it’s interesting to see the variations. I use pickle relish and season with salt, Worcestershire sauce, and yellow mustard. The different specific ingredients that we each use will give the eggs a completely different flavor. In addition, seeing your photos showed me that your egg salad has a different texture. I use a fine grater for the eggs, and my texture is smooth. Who knew that egg salad could have so much variation. Furthermore, I like your use of isot. I think that egg salad is a neutral canvas that showcases the pepper nicely. Thanks for sharing.

    • Cheska

    Thank you for posting this! I just made it and it is yummy! I don’t even have bread right now! :D

    @Wylie: Cumin sounds like a great addition! I add cumin when I make deviled eggs so I imagine it adds the same kick to an egg salad.

    • fruitandcake

    That looks really nice. I wil surely try it. Greetings from Greece.

    • Jeanne @ CookSister!

    I’ve never heard of isot, but from the photo it looks a lot like the Tasmanian pepper I got last year. When yo ugrind up the peppercornsm there are tine black glinting seeds inside, and the pliable “skin” of the peppercorns seems to contain a purplish powder that made my peppercorn sauce an intriguing purplish shade. It’s got a lovely strong flavour too. LOVE a good egg salad!

    • Terry C

    Appreciate the measurements for this! I am always slopping different amounts in when I make egg salad (like you, on rare occasions) and half the time I don’t like how it turns out. So this is great.

    • Jennifer Moragoda

    David, you have made my day – thanks again. I love egg salad, but often find it is not substantial enough and leaves me feeling hungry. Adding sunflower seeds are a great way to make egg salad more satisfying and more tasty as well. Going to try adding them to my next egg salad preparation – tomorrow without fail.
    As others have written above, dill, green olives, cumin, sumac and tumeric are other possible additions that complement the eggs/mayo/mustard base.

    • Nisa Homey

    Hi David, love this egg salad. Actually I was trying to put a comment regarding homemade nutella and somehow I could not post a comment, so here I am with a quick question since hazelnuts are not available in Kerala where I live, is it ok if I substitute with cashew nuts (which is abundant here).

    • Catherineap

    Thanks–you have inspired me to make egg salad, which I love but never think to make even though it’s so easy. I have a jar of maras pepper that I’ve been sprinkling on everything so it’s going into the egg salad, and I’m going to take up your suggestion about the sunflower seeds.

    I have a childhood memory about egg salad–one of my friends didn’t want the egg salad sandwiches her mother put in her lunchbox, so we put them in the middle of the road and watched the cars run over them–yours looks much to tasty to waste like that!

    • Jim Henderson

    While the EU has standards for free range eggs, there is no definition of free-range eggs in the US and thus, manufacturers/producers can call anything a free-range egg in the US. Just an FYI to US readers.

    • Lori-Vancouver BC

    I just had an egg salad sandwich today…before I saw this post.
    I like it with a little celery or sometimes I add a little grated carrot.
    I’ve never tried it with sunflower seeds or dijon mustard…yum…I’ll try that next!
    I’ve loved egg salad sandwiches since I was little and enjoy one every few months!

    • Jennifer Moragoda

    Tomorrow turned into yesterday. The sunflower seed addition made such a difference and think I will be eating egg salad sandwiches much more often as a result. Thank you so much, David.

    And, good luck with your kitchen renovation – I am sure it will have been worth all the pain once you are through. Building and renovations are like that.

    • Sharyn Dimmick

    I am glad to hear about the Isot purple pepper in case I run across it. I do not eat hard-cooked eggs or eggs with unbroken yolks, so egg salad is lost on me.

    • Judy

    I live in Istanbul, (but hail from Philly) and see Isot in the supermarkets here but never tried it. Thank you and Cenk for the tip.

    I come to Paris every month and if you would like a supply of isot, I’d be delighted! I’ll trade isot for one of your amazing cakes! Deal?

    • Mary in Texas

    I love, love, LOVE egg salad and I just received two bottles of Aleppo pepper from Penzey’s. I swear you must have been spying on me. I can’t wait to make my lunch tomorrow! I’ve been looking for things to put my pepper on!

    • RL

    Thanks for this. Egg salad has always disappointed me, I think because I always flavored it as I would tuna salad – and that didn’t work. Because of the Turkish context, this inspired me to use preserved lemon in place of the capers – I loved it! So tasty and interesting, and I didn’t miss tuna! Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Kim Clarke

    I just made your egg salad and love it. I’ll never do it any other way again. Thanks!


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