Monday, September 26, 2005

Farmhouse eggs redux

I too benefit from the luxury of having fresh eggs, though it requires a swift and stealthy hand since my compatriot Tom also eagerly awaits our chickens’ daily gifts. I will offer my own version of what I feel is another superb creation with outstanding ingredients.

Camembert, Watercress, and Ostrich Salami Omelet
3 fresh eggs, beaten
Salted butter
Giacomo's ostrich salami from Greensboro, NC, or any other cured meat product
Chapel Hill Creamery's camembert made with cow's milk, or comparable soft, aged cheese
Watercress
1 medium tomato (yellow is choice, but a nice red one will suffice)
Coarse ground salt and pepper
Cayenne pepper
Nutritional yeast flakes
2 slices of pugliase bread
Dry hard cider or honey mead

Prepare the ingredients. Slice the tomato, Camembert, and salami into omelet-friendly sizes. Gather the spices and have the watercress washed and dried.

Heat a cast-iron skillet on medium and add the butter when the pan is too hot to hold. Quickly add the beaten eggs, rotating the skillet to coat the entire surface with a thin layer of egg. Pierce any bubbles and cook the eggs, uncovered, until the edges begin to curl and the center is still a bit loose. Check the heat, and make sure that the bottom is not browning too fast.

Add the Camembert first, give it a few seconds to melt, then add the salami, tomato, and spices. Make sure to pile the ingredients only on one half of the skillet in order to close the omelet. Add the watercress just before closing the omelet, cook a few seconds and then flip the entire assembly to its other side.

Slide the omelet onto a plate, accompany with the bread, buttered of course, and enjoy with a glass of dry hard cider or honey mead.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Eggs and toast

Maverick Farms bought five new chickens yesterday, bringing our total flock to 11 (one rooster). Our flock peaked at something like 25 in the year and half since we took over the farm; there's been a steady stream of death since the peak, and at some point this summer, a weasel or some other diabolic creature had ravaged our birds, killing five in the span of seven days. A proud old rooster, the "cock of the walk," succumbed during that spasm of violence. The flock was never the same after that, although we managed to secure it from the attacks of predators. A steady stream of nearly one egg per day per hen had fallen close to zero.

The new birds are almost spookily calm, and today two large eggs appeared in the henhouse.

Everyone else around had eaten dinner; I will here recount what I did with those two eggs.

Farmhouse eggs and toast
2 eggs, preferably free range
1 tomato, yellow if possible
2 slices bread
1 handful of watercress, well washed
Extra-virgin olive oil
vinegar--Sherry or whatever is on hand
butter to fry eggs
1 clove garlic
sea salt and pepper
white truffle olive oil (optional)

Crush garlic with a pinch of sea salt in mortar and pestle, or on a cutting board rotating between chopping and pounding with the flat side of a knife. Add to salad bowl with a splash of vinegar and a bigger splash of olive oil. Swish with fork. Add watercress to bowl but don't toss.

Smear bread with olive oil and toast on one side under a broiler. Meanwhile, core tomato and cut of two horizontal slices. When bread is brown on one side, flip and place the tomato slices on top of each one. Sprinkle with sea salt and return to broiler.

Now slice the remaining tomato into wedges and add to salad bowl on top of watercress.

Heat butter in a small frying pan over medium heat. When the foam subsides, add the eggs, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Check bread in oven--it's probably ready now (tomato slices heated through; bread around tomatoes brown). Remove when ready.

Flip eggs and cook to desired doneness.

Place toast on a plate, and add a fried egg to each one. Add a generous grind of pepper to salad, then toss. Correct for salt. Make room on plate, and add salad.

For a decadent result, drizzle the eggs with white truffle oil. Enjoy with a crisp white wine--or better yet, a dry rosé.