Thursday, May 19, 2011

Golden Eggs

photo by Chuck Pryce

Artist Chuck Pryce, a friend and colleague of mine, and his wife Candy recently sent me a lovely gift: a half dozen eggs from his country home where he keeps ten hens. One of the most wonderful details about this story is that each breed of chicken lays a different color egg. Chuck emailed me some sweet commentary describing his brood (I wish I had more photos of these amazing chickens):
  1. Ancona: black and white mottled, lays the smallish white egg. 
  2. Araucana: one lavender in color, the other in brown. These girls have huge heads, and for some reason are very friendly. They lay the blug eggs. 
  3. Astraloop: black and white iridescent green feathers lay the brown eggs.
  4. La Bresse: skinny white, and nervous.  These are the French Hens (good eating, says Chuck) and give white and pale brown eggs
  5. Buff orpington: large blond girls, also very friendly and lay the pink eggs.
Although I found the eggs precious and beautiful, I thought this would be a perfect time to share my very simple egg recipe (and I'm sure those hens wouldn't want all their labor to go to waste). I cracked four to create a simple breakfast for two, a quick bite before heading out on Sunday.

After cracking your eggs in a large enough bowl to allow for some good whisking, take a fork and beat rigorously for about a minute.  This will make the eggs fluffy and buttery in the end.

Next, heat up some unsalted butter in a flat pan. I cannot stress the following enough, use unsalted butter. I generally use a European or local butter. Wait until the butter almost stops bubbling completely. You'll also smell the beginning of some caramelization . . . this is when you know it's time to pour in the unseasoned eggs.  Just pour the eggs. Never add any seasoning until the eggs are fully cooked.

Now you'll want to let the eggs sit for a minute. Then start pulling up the edges. When the eggs begin to harden more, fold the edge over once. Let the juices around this piece begin to harden, then fold again. Repeat this once or twice more. In the end you should end up with an "almost-omelette" in about three or fours pieces. Please don't over scramble, and whatever you do, don't leave the eggs too long on the heat. Most people overcook their eggs. If you are using organic, free-range chicken eggs, you can ignore the media scares about salmonella poisoning. And if you have an aversion to soft eggs, try it my way once. You'll most likely never want a hard egg again.

Put the eggs on a plate and sprinkle with sea salt. I'm a big fan of Australian Murray River seas crystals. If you can multi-task as I like to do in the kitchen, squeeze some fresh oranges and put a baguette in the oven before beating your eggs. Place the baguette on the dish with the eggs, and set the table or a tray with salt, butter, jam, and your choice of beverages, and you'll have a nice send-off to weekend activities.

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