Spring is upon us even if a windy chill lingers in the air. I love this time of the year. The farmers market is bursting with ramp and spring onion and eggs of all sorts! I love the pullet eggs from the Amish Farmer at the Friday Green Market. They are so sweet and small. I have a soft spot for the newly laying hens that have come through their awkward and gangly teenage stage. This time of the year you will start to see duck eggs and goose eggs and quail eggs. The smaller pullets are perfect for Toad In The Hole, Egg In A Nest, or Egg in The Middle; whatever you may call them. Because of their small size, they sit perfectly in that cut out hole in the bread without running over the sides. We are big eaters of Egg In A Nest as we call them in our house. There is something so right about a buttery fried piece of bread with a perfectly done egg in the middle of it. It is both crunchy and soft and best when generously salted and peppered. We had chickens when I was growing up. We had Arcanas before it was cool. I have to thank my dad for that. He was into off beat breeds, hence the Sicilian Donkeys and Scottish Highlanders. We called our Arcanas Easter egg chickens. We bartered our plethora of eggs with neighbors for things like syrup or meat and gave them to pretty much anyone who happened to walk in the door. Some hens are prolific layers and one can quickly find oneself overrun with eggs! If you find yourself in this situation or if you just want to celebrate spring's bounty, pick up a copy of Phaidon's How To Boil an Egg. It is the new book from Rose Carrarini of Rose Bakery on Rue des Martyrs in Paris and it is all about eggs! It seems deceptively simple but let's face it, the incredible egg is at times challenging and incredibly versatile. Here its secrets are revealed. How To Boil An Egg is gorgeously illustrated by botanical illustrator Fiona Strickland, with hyper real drawings that look like photographs. This is a lovely book filled with simple staples and a few surprises.
quail egg © 2013 Andrea Gentl
llustration Fiona Strickland
Egg In The Middle
From How To Boil an Egg
2 slices of bread, preferably whole wheat
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
First stamp a circle from the center of each slice of bread with a 2-inch cookie cutter and reserve.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a frying pan or skillet over medium heat, add the bread and reserved rounds ('hats') and fry until the undersides are lightly golden.
Turn the bread over, adding more oil if necessary.
Carefully break the eggs and ease them into the holes. (Sometimes I drain off a little of the white, but this is not a rule.)
Reduce the heat and cook until the whites are set and the yolks are beginning to set, but are still soft.
Using a spatula, transfer the slices of bread and eggs to a plate, with their hats over the yolks, and serve.
Now saute up some of that ramp, pea shoots or wild mustard you have kicking around and serve it on the side!