Fresh from the Farm by Katie Malich

With Easter just around the corner, now is the time to stock up on farm fresh eggs at the Tuesday Culver City Farmers Market. For centuries, the coming of spring has been marked by celebrations. There are many spring traditions, and decorated eggs – a sign of rebirth – are an important part of the festivities marking the spring equinox in Persian communities and Easter in Christian communities. You’ll find a roasted egg on the Passover Seder plate symbolizing the festival sacrifice at the Temple in Jerusalem.

Farm fresh eggs taste much better than those purchased from supermarkets. They can present a slight aesthetic challenge, though, when hard-boiled. The freshness means that the albumen (or white) is more likely to stick to the shell when boiled. One way to ensure beautiful hard-boiled fresh eggs is to cool them in increasingly colder water after boiling, and to peel them under running water.

If the Easter bunny leaves you with a formidable supply of decorated hard-boiled eggs, don’t despair. There’s always the traditional egg salad sandwiches, deviled eggs, and spinach salad with hard-boiled eggs and bacon. For more adventurous eaters, try a warm salad, Scotch eggs, curried eggs or Thai stuffed eggs. You might find you like these recipes so much that you’ll make them throughout the year.

Wilted Greens with Pancetta and Hard Boiled Eggs
(serves 4)

2 bunches greens (use Swiss chard for a milder taste, mild Texas or Asian mustard or beet greens for a bolder taste)
salt and pepper to taste
¼ lb pancetta, or thick- sliced bacon, chopped
3 T. olive oil
1 small shallot, finely chopped
1 small clove garlic, minced
2 T red wine vinegar
3 T. chopped Italian parsley
5 peeled hard boiled eggs, chopped

Remove stems and tear leaves into pieces. Boil water in large saucepan, add salt if desired, and cook greens until tender (about 5 minutes). Drain and rinse under cold water. Use sieve to make sure excess water is removed. If using Swiss chard, you can chop the stems and cook them separately, about 7 minutes.

In medium hot skillet, cook pancetta or bacon until nearly golden. Pour off the fat, if necessary. Add one tablespoon olive oil, chopped shallot and minced garlic. Cook until golden. Remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.

Add two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar to skillet, stirring over medium heat to deglaze the skillet and get bits on bottom of skillet. Pour into bowl (including scrapings from skillet). Add one tablespoon balsamic vinegar, one tablespoon red wine vinegar and remainder of olive oil to bowl and mix well. Add greens, parsley, remaining balsamic and red wine vinegar and freshly ground black pepper. Mix well. Gently mix in chopped eggs. Transfer to serving bowl and serve immediately.

(Adopted from Williams-Sonoma Salads)

Healthy Baked Scotch Eggs

Scotch eggs served in British pubs are covered with a coating of pork sausage and then deep-fried in oil. Substituting chicken or turkey sausage and baking the eggs produces a healthier dish which is still flavorful and hearty, but with fewer calories and fat.

6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled
1 lb. ground chicken or turkey
½ t. salt
1 t. rubbed sage (fresh if possible)
½ t. freshly ground black pepper
½ t. fresh thyme
½ t. ground cloves
1 egg
2 c. unseasoned breadcrumbs

Peel hard-boiled eggs. Roll peeled eggs in flour to coat and set aside. Mix ground meat and spices. Beat one egg and add to meat mixture, alternating with bread crumbs. Make six equal-sized balls from meat mixture. On piece of waxed paper or with your hands, flatten a ball into a patty. Place floured hard-boiled egg in the middle and bring meat mixture around to completely coat the egg. Repeat until all eggs are coated. Chill eggs for 1 hour in refrigerator. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place on baking sheet and bake 20 minutes until done. Serve cold with mustard, pickles (preferably British style)  and salad.

Thai Fried Eggs
(serves 8 as an appetizer or side dish)

½ c. flour
½ c. water
2 t. canola or corn oil
½ t. salt
8 eggs, hard-boiled
1 c. cooked crab meat
1 c. ground pork, cooked
1//2 t, ground pepper
1 t. granulated sugar
1 T Nam Pla Thai fish sauce
oil for frying
2 T. thick coconut milk.

In bowl, add ½ t salt and 2 t. oil to water, and gently stir in flour to create smooth batter. Set aside. Cut the eggs in half, separating the yolks and the whites. Place egg yolks in bowl and mash with fork. Add crab, pork, pepper, sugar and Nam Pla fish sauce. Mix thoroughly. Take a large spoonful of the crab-pork mixture and place in egg white half. Mound the mixture so that you have a full, complete egg shape. Repeat. Dip each egg in batter. Heat oil in wok and fry eggs, meat side down, until done. This dish is best prepared by cooking a few eggs at a time.

(Adopted from Jennifer Brennan’s The Original Thai Cookbook)

The Tuesday Farmers Market is held from 2 to 7 p.m. on Main Street in Culver City.

Katie Malich was surprised to learn that the Scotch egg is did not originate in Scotland. Instead, it was developed by a chef at the British department store Fortnum & Mason in 1738.

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