An Abundance of Eggs
When I worked at the farmer’s market, we sold beautiful pasture raised chicken eggs with bright orange yolks and different colored shells. We never had a huge amount – eggs were not our main bread and butter, plus they were a ton of work to raise! Folks would line up early at our booth, emerging from the morning fog with an eager and nervous look on their face. If we didn’t have them, occasionally grown adults would have small meltdowns in front of me. They were that good.
I had tried these rich eggs, seen their beautiful yolks, and I was hooked So, my roommates and I decided to get chickens. When I tell people I have chickens, they are either happily shocked or look at me as if I’ve lost my cookies. While there are lots of folks in the city getting into raising chickens themselves, it’s still rare enough that most people are stunned by the idea. But, I feel we are in good company. Our neighborhood pet store sells chicken food, our neighbors over the fence gave us lots of good advice, and our yard was large enough for us to build a nice sized coop and ample run. There was a steep learning curve and lots of problem solving in the beginning – how big should our coop be? What is the best water system? How do we best compost their manure? We’ve gotten it down to a science now, though I wish I had known about GFE’s chicken class at the time!
We now have an abundance of eggs, and I’ve gotten pretty good at using them up. I made deviled eggs with bacon and pickled jalapeños (devilish indeed!), put fried eggs on rice with greens when I’m too lazy to cook anything else, scramble them, whip them into an omelet and give them as gifts. One of my favorite ways to prepare them is to make a large frittata. It makes a healthy and satisfying dinner or a perfect breakfast and often the leftovers come with me to work for lunch the next day. Sautee up an onion, add some veggies and then some scrambled eggs on top. It’s a versatile and forgiving process. I used to flip my frittatas over perfectly browning each side, but mainly because I was taught by an overbearing Italian uncle who saw using the broiler as sacrilegious. Now that I usually make this in the quiet of my own home, I tend to throw it all in my cast iron, cook for a bit on the stove and put in the oven for less fuss.
Because I rarely work from a recipe for this, I am approximating the below amounts. Most vegetables work and some of my favorite combinations include: potatoes and scallions, zucchini and bell pepper, spinach and garlic, leek and goat cheese or bacon and herbs. This time of year, I love to use asparagus and if you don’t overcook it, it’s the most perfect tender crunch to bite into.
2 Tbsp. olive oil or butter (or both!)
2 shallots (or ½ onion) chopped or sliced
2 Tbsp. cream (optional)
¼ c. Gruyere cheese grated (or goat, parmesan, white cheddar…)
5 stalks of blanched asparagus cut into 1 inch pieces (or quickly sauté up when you cook the shallots in the beginning)
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat a medium sized oven-safe frying pan over medium heat. Add your oil and/or butter and your shallots, sautéing until they’ve sweat a bit and turned translucent.
Meanwhile in a large bowl, whisk the eggs together and add the cheese and cream if you are using. Add salt and pepper to taste and herbs if you want.
Once the shallots are cooked, add your blanched asparagus and toss together. Make sure there is ample fat in your pan and if you think it looks a bit dry add another pat of butter or glug of olive oil.
Evenly distribute the vegetables, and pour the egg mixture over the top reducing the heat to medium low. Let the egg sit for about 30 seconds, and then gently pull it away from the edge of the pan, tilting so that the liquid egg fills in the gap. Rotate the pan and repeat until all the edges have been pulled away. Cook until the eggs are becoming set but still runny on top – about 5 minutes or so. You can place a lid over the pan to speed this process up a bit. Once the eggs are ready, turn on your broiler and place the pan in the oven, cooking until the top is evenly brown. Once cooked, remove from the oven and let sit for at least 5 minutes. I love to eat frittata with salad, between bread, or occasionally with some plain yogurt and lemon zest dolloped on top.