Seasonal Cooking with Rita Calvert~The Local Cook
Isn’t Easter one of the best times of the year to give a little thought to the humble egg-the beginning of life? From a brilliant orange yolk floating in the clear egg white, housed in a self-sufficient shell-is a complete package with the potential to bear life and/or sustenance. Of course there are all kinds of eggs but more often these days we have the opportunity to watch those feathered gals on a farm, or even in the backyard (with the new ‘home chicken’ trend) make magic. Homestead Gardens boards a few happy hens sharing the turf near the llamas.Go and say hello as they’re friendly. As long as the proud rooster is kept at a distance, our chicken friends are quite content.
If your eggs are hen fresh, you are way ahead of the game with nutrition and flavor. In the recipes below you’ll find a special dish fit for a holiday brunch. The second features an almost forgotten favorite-soft boiled eggs…perfectly simple.
Spring Frittata with Smoked Salmon
The frittata comes together very quickly so have the ingredients measured and in place near the cooking area, the table set, the beverages poured and maybe some lovely warm muffins waiting in a basket.
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 slices of nitrate free applewood smoked bacon, diced
- 4 scallions or spring onions, thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 cups baby spinach, arugula, baby beet greens, baby bok choy or combination
- 8 large eggs, beaten
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 3 ounces feta cheese or fresh goat cheese, crumbled (1/2 cup)
- 6 ounces smoked salmon, cut into 1/2-inch wide ribbons
Preheat the oven to 400°.
Heat the olive oil in an ovenproof 8-9 inch nonstick skillet. Add the bacon and cook over moderately high heat until crisp and brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a plate and let cool. Pour off about half of the fat. Add the scallions and spring greens to the skillet and cook over moderate
heat, stirring, until softened and the greens wilt, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to the plate with the bacon, leaving the juices in the skillet.
Season the eggs with salt and pepper, add them to the skillet and cook, stirring for 2-3 minutes-until just beginning to set. Scatter the reserved bacon, scallions, greens and the crumbled cheese over the eggs and bake in the hot oven for about 5 minutes or until the frittata is set. With a heatproof rubber spatula, loosen around the edges and slide the frittata onto a cutting board. Cut it into wedges and top each slice with the rippled ribbons of salmon. Serve at once.
The Basic Soft Boiled Egg
What appears to be a simple soft boiled egg recipe can be deceiving. Pay attention as it’s easy to over-cook. This will cause the egg to become rubbery, not to mention the yolk will be hard-boiled.A soft-cooked yolk requires about three minutes for a medium egg and about four to five minutes for a larger egg. The freshest eggs from a farm work well for soft-boiling because you will not be peeling the eggs. Instead, you will be spooning the egg straight from the shell.
A soft boiled egg that has been cooked correctly will have a firm white, but a runny yellow. Soft boiled eggs are best served in egg cups, with the small side of the egg facing downward.
Soft Boiled Egg
Add water to a saucepan sufficient in size to hold the eggs in a single layer and bring to a boil. Sprinkle a little salt into the water, and then gently slide the eggs into the saucepan. Start timing when the water begins to boil again. Medium eggs will need about three minutes of boiling time and large to extra-large eggs will need about four to five minutes. Remove the eggs immediately, and serve in egg cups.
After the egg has been placed into the egg cup, simply top it by snipping off the top third of the egg with egg scissors or with a sharp knife. Eat the egg with a small spoon, straight from the egg cup.