This is basic country food at its finest. Lisa Smith, the executive chef for Central Market supermarkets in Texas, was visiting us at the farm and one morning we brought her to Max London’s in Saratoga Springs for breakfast. Their croissants blew her away and she called them the best she ever had (and Lisa knows croissants — she studied under the wonderfully gifted chef-teacher Madeleine Kamman and worked in France). She bought a few to bring back to the house and, upon arrival, said to Charlie and me, "Guys, today you rest. I’m making egg salad for lunch!" Of course, Lisa’s egg salad isn’t just egg salad — it’s creamy and warm and punctuated by the slight bite and crunch of arugula/rocket and smoky country bacon.
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- 8 strips good-quality thick-cut bacon
- 8 cups water
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 8 large eggs, at room temperature
- 4 butter croissants, halved
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise, store-bought or homemade
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 16 leaves baby arugula
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (180°C/gas 4).
Lay the bacon on a rimmed baking sheet and cook in the oven for 10-20 minutes, depending on how crisp you like your bacon. Remove the pan from the oven and use tongs to transfer the bacon to a paper towel–lined plate to drain and cool. Set aside. Reduce the oven temperature to 200 degrees (95°C).
Pour the water and vinegar into a large pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and use a slotted spoon to gently lower the eggs into the boiling water. Simmer the eggs (reduce the heat to medium-low if necessary) for exactly 12 minutes.
While the eggs cook, set the croissants on a rimmed baking sheet and place them in the oven to warm (reassemble the croissants so they are whole — you don’t want the interior to get toasty and hard).
Transfer the cooked eggs to a sieve and place them under cold running water until they’re cool enough to handle (you don’t want the eggs to be cold — they need to be warm). Peel the eggs, place them in the bowl of a food processor, and purée until they’re creamy. Add the mayonnaise, season with salt and pepper, and continue to process until the mixture is well combined.
Divide the egg salad among the bottom halves of each croissant. Top each with 4 pieces of arugula and 2 pieces of bacon. Cover with the top halves of the croissants and eat immediately.