My Gram Perkins passed down several recipes to me through the years. I keep most of them in a recipe book my mother compiled of family recipes. From Chocolate Pie to Thanksgiving dressing, Gram Perkins’ delicious Southern dishes continue to make their way onto my table—always tasting amazing, but not quite as good as when she made them.
One of the simplest (and most beloved) recipes she gave to me was for egg salad, featuring homemade Fourteen-Day Pickles (also known as sweet or bread-and-butter pickles). I think of it as one of the ultimate comfort foods. When I was a child, Gram Perkins often served it to me as a summer lunch or afternoon snack. I have vivid memories of sitting in her kitchen, watching her prepare her famous egg salad sandwich for me—always with extra pickles in a jar on the table.
After my Gram Perkins passed away, my granddaddy, lovingly known as Perk, continued making the famous Fourteen-Day Pickles. My mother carries on the family tradition today by gifting pints of these treasures every holiday season. Egg salad is definitely better with this homemade version but there are great bread-and-butter pickles available on the market today that you can use for your homemade egg salad. We recently taste tested the Blackberry Farm version and found it delicious.
No one really knows when egg salad itself was created, but it became a popular luncheon salad in the early 1800s, after French chef Marie-Antoine Carême invented mayonnaise as we know it today. A sister to tuna and chicken salad, egg salad is a nice option for those looking for a simple lunch, packed with protein.
We’ve started serving Gram Perkins’ egg salad in The Factory Café, complete with homemade pickles, made from her recipe. Stop by for lunch and try it served open-faced on house made ciabatta.
GRAM PERKINS’ EGG SALAD
Yields 2 cups
1 1/2 cup whole eggs, hardboiled and coarsely chopped (about 5 eggs)
2 tablespoons Fourteen-Day Pickles—coarsely chopped (recipe below)
2 tablespoons lemon garlic aioli (see recipe below)
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
Chives, for garnish
Chop the hardboiled eggs and set aside.
In a mixing bowl, combine the chopped pickle, aioli, mustard, cayenne, and kosher salt. Stir using a whisk. Add in the eggs, folding them in gently using a rubber spatula. Garnish with chives, if desired.
Store refrigerated in an airtight container.
LEMON GARLIC AIOLI
Yields about 1 cup
1 whole egg
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
Kosher salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
Blend the egg, lemon juice, and garlic using a food processor or immersion blender on low speed. Gradually increase the speed, streaming in the olive oil until the mixture thickens. Season with salt and pepper.
Store refrigerated in an airtight container.
GRAM PERKINS’ FOURTEEN-DAY PICKLES
2 gallons cucumbers—sliced into 1/4″ rounds
1 gallon water
1 pint salt
2 1/2 pints vinegar
4 quarts sugar
Pickling spice (see recipe below)
Canner and canning supplies
Wash cucumbers thoroughly and slice into approximately 1/4″ rounds. Combine warm water and salt and let cool to create brine. Place cucumbers into a ceramic pickle crock and cover with brine. Let cucumbers and brine stand seven days, making sure that they are completely covered with brine. You can place a plate on top of the brine to make sure that all cucumbers remain below the water line.
Pour off brine and add 1 gallon water. Let stand 24 hours.
Pour off water and add 1 gallon fresh water and a lump of alum the size of a walnut. Let stand 24 hours.
Mix sugar, vinegar, and a handful of pickling spice. Boil 3 minutes. Pour over cucumbers.
Pour off the vinegar mixture (cucumbers remain in container), boil for 3 minutes, and pour back over cucumbers. Repeat this process each day for 4 days.
On the 5th day, boil the vinegar mixture for 5 minutes. While boiling, place cucumbers in sterilized jars. Pour hot vinegar mixture over and follow instructions for canning to create a seal on pickle jars. Label and store in a cool, dark place.
Note: A half bushel of cucumbers makes approximately 2 1/2 gallons sliced cucumbers. Yields approximately 16 pints of pickles.
2 tablespoons whole mustard seeds
1 tablespoon whole allspice berries
2 teaspoons whole coriander seeds
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more to taste
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 bay leaves, crumbled
2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
6 whole cloves
Mix all ingredients together in a sterilized jar and store in a cool, dark place.