Dress up your egg salad with bagna cauda

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Nancy Silverton. (Photo by Tom Caltabiano) (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

Before she joined forces with Mario Batali to create Mozza-plex in LA, Nancy Silverton grew a loyal following of Angelenos of her own. Fans patiently stood in line outside her La Brea Bakery daily to purchase freshly baked loaves of bread, fine cheeses and pastries. Thursday nights, regulars would show up next door at Campanile for grilled cheese sandwiches and other seasonal creations like Sevillana — a dish of Serrano ham, fresh figs, manchego and honey — and her take on the classic croque monsieur.

Now Silverton has a new cookbook out, “Mozza at Home,” with over 150 recipes for “relaxed, family-style entertaining.” Mario Batali is a fan of the egg salad with bagna cauda toast, which can be prepared in advance so the cook can enjoy it with his or her guests.

“We use a lot of hard-cooked eggs at the Mozzarella Bar, and when we have a significant number left over, I turn them into egg salad for the staff and I serve it in a big bowl along with a platter of Fett’unta,” writes Silverton in the recipe’s introduction. “The staff goes crazy for it. It’s a very straightforward egg salad, made with eggs, salt, mayonnaise, and minced chives. What makes it special is just that every element of the salad is done correctly. The eggs are cooked so that the yolks are bright yellow and slightly moist in the center and the whites have a creamy texture. Then, instead of just mashing the yolks and whites together, I break the yolks in half and tear the whites into chunks, so the egg salad has texture. I bind the salad with homemade garlic mayonnaise instead of store-bought mayonnaise. And probably the real secret to my egg salad: I add enough salt. When I serve egg salad to friends at home, I give it a more sophisticated presentation by serving it with crostini bathed in bagna cauda, warm anchovy and olive oil “bath.” Egg salad is such a familiar comfort food: Who wouldn’t want to come to a party and see a platter of toast with a big bowl of egg salad?”