Farm fresh eggs have been getting a lot of press lately. And all the buzz is not for naught.
The simple pleasure of eating a fresh egg is distinctly different from eating one from a store. The charmingly bumpy shapes, the pleasing range of hues from lavender to pale blue to snow white, all point to a more, well, organic experience.
I buy my eggs from my favorite farm gal, Patti Popp, at Sport Hill Farm, or more often, my favorite beekeeper, Marina Marchese, at Red Bee Honey. She knows that I will likely stop at her place, replenish my supply of her deeply flavored honey, and pick up my eggs on my way back from my Sunday hike in the woods of Weston.
I know, I am lucky to live in a place where I have resources so close to the earth. I don’t take it for granted.
Alternatively, shop your local farmers’ markets early on market day to catch the supply before it dwindles. Some farmers even allow you to reserve your dozen, in advance. Get to know your farmer and ask!
When I developed this habit of buying directly from the coop, I was cautioned to wash the eggs carefully. It does take a few more minutes than mindlessly unloading a carton into the plastic egg holder in your fridge, but it is well worth it.
I bring my egg container from my fridge, to the source. The eggs are dirty from the coop. Indeed, folks, they come from a live being.
When I get them home, I take a dish towel and roll an edge to form a barrier so they don’t roll off my counter. I gently scrub each egg with a soft veggie brush, cold water and a dab of liquid soap. Pat em’ dry, put them in a clean compartmentalized container in your fridge, and put the brush, egg container used for transport, immediately into the dishwasher. Throw that used dishtowel into your washing machine.
Once you see the magnificent range of pale rainbow hues, the marigold brightness of the yolks, and taste the richness of farm fresh, you will never go back.
For kosher keepers, remember to crack each egg (a glass bowl allows for better visibility) and examine for blood spots before adding to any mixture. Because the Torah prohibits consuming blood of mammals and birds (Lev. 7:26-27; Lev. 17:10-14), you need to discard the egg if it shows any spots.
Gross, I know. But like all other routines in the kitchen, this becomes natural and less laborious as it becomes part of your habit.
I tasted this egg nest recipe at an early spring brunch that Patti threw for some neighbors and local food writers. It highlighted her farm fresh eggs collected just before breakfast.
This recipe comes from an adorable French children’s cookbook called La Cuisine Est Un Jeu D’Enfants, published in French in 1963. It was published again with English translation in 1965 by Random House.
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/4 cup grated Gruyere cheese
- Preheat the oven to 450°F with a rack in the middle. Line a roasting pan, or baking sheet that can take high temperatures without warping, with parchment paper or Silpat.
- Separate the egg yolks from the whites. Make sure there are no little pieces of egg yolk in the whites or you will have difficulty getting the whites to beat properly. It helps if you are making more than one egg nest to keep each egg yolk in a separate prep bowl.
- Place the egg whites in a very clean mixer bowl (any residual oil in the mixer bowl will keep the egg whites from whipping up properly). Add a quarter teaspoon of salt to the egg whites. Beat the egg whites with a whisk attachment in a mixer (or using a hand mixer), starting on low speed and then slowly increasing to high speed, until stiff peaks form.
- Gently fold in the grated Gruyere cheese, taking care not to deflate the egg whites.
- Create two mounds of the egg white mixture on the lined baking sheet. Form the mounds so they look like nests, with indentations in the centers.
- Place in the oven for 3 minutes. After 3 minutes, open the oven, pull out the rack with the egg white nests, and gently add an egg yolk to the center of each nest. Return the baking sheet to the oven and cook for 3 more minutes.
- Serve immediately.
Kosher Gruyer can be found at http://1800cheeseclub.com/grerk.html. Parmesan would be great, also.