You can find an egg and cheese salad-spread in most of the Russian delis. The recipe is very simple; just hard boiled eggs, cheese such as Havarti, or some times cream cheese and always just plain mayonnaise. I like this salad, but try to make it deferent every time. Lemon or lime zest and juice, a little of finely grated garlic, deferent seasonal herbs, deferent spices, some ginger or wasabi, curry powder or turmeric and most of the time some kind of seeds or nuts are enriching the mayonnaise base in my versions. For this recipe I made an aioli from scratch and just added a small amount of mayo. You can serve this salad as a spread on bread or crackers; stuff mini bell peppers or tomatoes for a fancy presentation or use as a condiment in all kind of sandwiches. —Kukla
makes 1 3/4 cups of the salad + enough aioli for one more portion
• 3 extra-large eggs, hard boiled, (but the yolk should be still pretty soft), shredded on the large holes side of a box grater
• 1 cup Aged Sharp White Cheddar or Parmesan cheese, shredded
• 2 celery ribs with leaves, peeled and thinly sliced
• Freshly ground black pepper to taste
• 1/2 cup pepitas (raw pumpkin seeds), lightly toasted
In a small skillet over medium heat, toast pepitas, shaking pan often, until they begin to pop and are fragrant, but not browned, 3-5 minutes.
Transfer to food processor or blender. Add cilantro, garlic, jalapeno, salt and cumin. Process, scraping sides frequently, until well-minced. With machine running, gradually add oil, then lime juice, processing until as smooth as possible, and scraping down sides as needed.
Transfer to a mixing bowl; whisk in mayonnaise and lime zest. Chill until ready to use.
In an other bowl toss to combine the eggs, cheese, celery and black pepper; gradually add spoonfuls of the aioli until desired consistency; I added about 3 and 1/2 or 4 tablespoons.
Can be made ahead and kept refrigerated up to 3 days.