In the more humble cafés and bistros of France, you often see the same starters pop up on the simplest and less-expensive three-course prix-fixe menus. Choices often include pâté, some sort of puréed vegetable soup, a raw vegetable salad, or oeufs dur mayonnaise—hard-boiled eggs with mayonnaise.
While the latter sounds disappointingly plain, it’s the details that make it a nice little starter for an informal café meal: usually, the eggs are arranged on a couple leaves of butterhead lettuce with a few cornichons and olives. When you think about it, it’s kind of like a deconstructed devilled egg—a linger-and-relax, knife-and-fork version of the American party classic.
And of course, French mayonnaise is excellent—even when purchased straight from the supermarket. In fact, it comes in tubes with a star tip, which allows you to prettily pipe the mayonnaise on dishes such as this. Unless you can find such a thing here, doll up the mayo just a bit with mustard, lemon juice, and herbs, as in the recipe below. If, by chance, you live somewhere near a market that imports a good French mayo, omit the mustard and lemon juice here.
Makes 4 servings
4 hard-boiled eggs, cut in half
2 tablespoons good-quality bottled mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons snipped fresh parsley, chives, tarragon, or chervil, or a combination
4 leaves butterhead lettuce
8 cornichons, drained
8 imported black olives, such as Niçoise or Kalamata
1. Cut the eggs in half lengthwise. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice and herb(s).
2. Arrange two leaves butterhead lettuce on each of 4 plates. Top each plate with 1 hard-boiled egg (halved), 2 cornichons, and 2 olives. Dollop a little of the mayonnaise mixture atop the eggs.
- Serve as directed when you’re in the mood to eat in courses–consider this a stand-in for the usual and ubiquitous first-course tossed salad.
- Serve as an easier-than-devilled eggs appetizer. Cut a small patch from uncut side of each egg half to prevent then from rolling around on a platter. Arrange eggs on a large platter; dollop with flavored mayonnaise. Serve the cornichons and olives in separate bowls on the platter.
- Add the mayonnaise-dolloped eggs to a platter meats and cheeses and serve alongside a few select salads for patio dinner in summer.
- Plus, see this posting on other great ways to serve oeufs mayo (with photos).
PS: If you like oeufs-mayo, I bet you’ll like my cookbook—it’s filled with great ideas for easy, everyday French cooking. Click on the widget below to check it out. And if you purchase my book through this link, you’ll help support this website, without adding to your costs whatsoever. Thanks for your consideration!