Great Seasonal Recipes Spring from Fresh Farm Eggs
Cracking into a Savory Lunch or Dinner
As someone whose backyard chickens houses 26 laying hens, I make finding a use for the glut of eggs they produce daily a high priority.
Sure, there’s the nearly every workday morning fried egg sandwich, and the weekend Portuguese sweet bread French toast and the dinnertime (or anytime) frittata, plus baking and pasta-making and hard-boiling, but when one is looking for a change of egg pace, this season’s recipe really hits the mark.
Baking the eggs on a base of hearty vegetables or sauce is nothing new. One of the most recognizable is shakshuka, the Middle Eastern preparation of eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce, usually with a generous pinch of harissa, and served with pita.
In the Italian tradition, there is uova al purgatorio or eggs in purgatory: The eggs are cooked in a simple, yet spicy, marinara sauce, then topped with basil and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.
In Mexico, you might find this dish prepared with a corn tortilla on the bottom of the skillet, and the addition of black beans.
Here in New England, as we welcome spring, I thought we should try something slightly different to highlight the flavors of newly growing crops, in this case, green onions or chives and dark leafy greens, with a hint of lemon for brightness and contrast.
At their core, these types of dishes are designed to be flexible and inexpensive, but can also be dressed up. In this recipe, the addition of lemony crème fraîche does just that, rendering a dish that could be served either at a brunch for company or for a weeknight meal.
Try these simple ideas:
• For shakshuka, sauté 1 diced onion and 1 diced bell pepper with olive oil in a large sauté pan, then add sliced garlic. Once softened, stir in a large can of crushed tomatoes along with a pinch of harissa or a blend of ground cumin and paprika. Crack 6 eggs, side by side, atop the tomato mixture. Cover and cook on the stovetop until the eggs have set and the yolks are still runny, approximately 5 to 7 minutes. (Add cooked chickpeas or lentils before adding the eggs for a more substantial meal.)
• For uova al purgatorio, sauté sliced garlic in olive oil, add crushed red pepper flakes, then crushed tomatoes and stir well before adding the cracked eggs, cooking as above. Serve topped with fresh basil and arugula, shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano and garlic toast. (Or add roasted eggplant before adding the eggs, and place fresh mozzarella slices around the eggs before baking, then top with fresh basil.)
• To this season's main recipe add a pint of diced cherry tomatoes before adding the eggs, and then top the finished dish with crumbled bacon.
Amy McCoy is author of Poor Girl Gourmet. Follow her blog at TinyFarmhouse.com