Recipe Review

I Tried Carla Hall’s Secret-Ingredient Egg Salad and All I Can Say Is WOW!

published Apr 6, 2021
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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Pearl Jones

As a Top Chef superfan, I adore Carla Hall! She might not have won her seasons, but she has won my heart forever with her fun, positive vibes. Her recipes have performed well in our past recipe showdowns — we loved her buttermilk biscuits, and to no surprise to me at all, she won our chicken pot pie showdown. She is certainly no stranger to Southern comfort food, and I can tell so much love goes into her cooking.

When it came time to pick contenders for our egg salad recipe, I was immediately drawn to Carla’s. What interested me most were two little words: chive mayonnaise. I rarely think to make my mayo from scratch for egg salad, and I had to know if I would be able to tell the difference. Plus, Carla simplifies this process by making the mayo in a food processor! Other than that, her recipe is pretty simple: just hard-boiled eggs and parsley. Here’s what happened when I gave it a try.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Pearl Jones

How to Make Carla Hall’s Egg Salad with Chive Mayonnaise

You’ll start by making the chive mayonnaise. In the bowl of a food processor, combine egg yolks, warm water, lemon juice, white vinegar, Dijon, and salt, then process until smooth. While the processor is running, slowly pour in vegetable oil. By the time you’ve finished adding the oil, you should have a smooth and emulsified mayonnaise mixture. Add a handful of roughly chopped chives and pulse until finely chopped and evenly incorporated.

Next, you’ll turn your attention to the egg salad. Place 12 eggs in a large saucepan, cover with water, and add 1 tablespoon salt. Bring the water to a boil, cover the pot, turn off the heat, and let the eggs sit for 10 minutes. Then, transfer the eggs to an ice bath to cool. Once cooled, peel the eggs and chop into 1/2-inch pieces. Transfer to a large bowl, stir in some of the mayo and chopped parsley, and season with salt and pepper. Carla recommends eating this egg salad with pumpernickel bread, but for today’s showdown I ate it with sliced potato bread to keep all the tests fair.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Pearl Jones

My Honest Review of Carla Hall’s Egg Salad

My first thought on my first taste was WOW! The mayo is so creamy and delicious; it carries most of the flavor and penetrates every part of the salad. The richness of the mayo was almost too much, but then I ate it with the piece of lightly toasted bread and realized this is an egg salad made to be eaten with bread. The chive-infused creaminess soaked into the bread in the most perfect way. I found myself going back for more and more.

I really loved that Carla kept the mayo-making process super simple by using a food processor. It was a great reminder that making mayo from scratch doesn’t have to be hard or intimidating. It took mere minutes to make and was totally worth it — proof that the tiniest bit of extra effort goes a long way. I often have a hard time finding mayonnaise that’s not soybean oil-based, so I might make my own allergen-free homemade mayo using this technique moving forward.

My only complaint about this recipe is that the eggs were the most difficult to peel out of the four recipes I tested. I’m not sure if it was how they were cooked or the eggs themselves. Carla was also the only one to boil eggs with salt in the water, which at first I thought was a little strange, but apparently a little salt helps the egg whites solidify more quickly (if your egg springs a leak, it will quickly coagulate and the crack will seal).

Credit: Amelia Rampe

If You’re Making Carla Hall’s Egg Salad, a Few Tips

  1. If you’re short on time, start with store-bought mayo. If you don’t have the time or desire to make mayo from scratch, add the chopped herbs to your favorite store-bought mayo. Just keep in mind the end result might not be as rich and creamy.
  2. Add some crunchy bits. The only thing missing here were some crunchy bits. Next time, I’ll throw in some chopped celery.
  3. Use your favorite method of egg cookery. If you have a go-to method of hard-boiling eggs, feel free to use that here and simply stir in the chive mayo.
  4. Try another allium. You could easily substitute the chives with another allium, like scallions or shallot. 
  5. Don’t skip the bread. I think Carla’s suggestion of pumpernickel would be delightful.
  6. This recipe serves a crowd, so plan accordingly. Cut this recipe in half if you’re only serving a few people.

Rating: 9.5/10

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Pearl Jones

Have you tried Carla Hall’s egg salad recipe? Let us know in the comments!