"I think using animals for food is an ethical thing to do, but we've got to do it right. We've got to give those animals a decent life and we've got to give them a painless death. We owe the animal respect."
If eggs had the power to bring happiness than these are the ones that would do it. Another trip to the Providence Wintertime Farmers Market this past Saturday yielded me a tote full of delicious local fair including a dozen breathtaking free-range eggs in every color of the rainbow (slight exaggeration). Why my excitement? You see, we all have our goals and aspirations in life, and included on my list is the dream of having my own flock of heirloom chickens to lay a spectrum of eggs just like these. For those of you not familiar with chicken varietals, many kinds of chickens lay white and brown eggs, but there’s only a few species that lay beautiful blue eggs including Araucanas (originating from Chile) and Ameraucanas (breed in the US from Araucanas). These are the hens that I’m most passionate about. But alas, until I acquire a larger piece of land my dreams for raising my own heirloom chickens must be shelved, along with those of a three-season garden and making my own goat cheese.
I’m not sure there’s anything that compliments fresh eggs better than fresh asparagus. After nearly 11 months of waiting, yesterday I finally picked up my first bunch of local asparagus from 4-Town Farm in Seekonk. Much like how supermarket tomatoes hardly resemble the plump beauties picked from one's own garden, once you experience freshly picked local asparagus there’s just no comparison to the stuff shipped in from all over the world.
POACHED EGGS GREMOLATA WITH SPRING VEGETABLES
coarse sea salt 1lb fresh asparagus, tough ends trimmed off zest of one lemon, grated ½ clove garlic, grated ¼ cup parsley, very finely chopped 2 cups pea greens 2 teaspoons olive oil (optional) juice of one lemon 4 eggs, poached fresh ground black pepper
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add a half handful of salt to the water. Add asparagus and boil until tender, approx 3-5 minutes. Immediately submerge the cooked asparagus into a large bowl of cold water. Drain.
Make the gremolata: In a small bowl combine the lemon zest, garlic, parsley, and a pinch of salt. Mix very well.
In a separate bowl toss the pea greens with the lemon juice and olive oil (optional).
To serve: Add a layer of pea greens to two individual plates. Top the pea greens with a few spears of asparagus and two poached eggs each. Top each egg with a generous sprinkle of gremolata and black pepper. Enjoy!