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Perfectly poached, a beautiful egg



Local eggs can see us through the winter and provide a break from the meat many people rely on for protein. They're also a good source of vitamin B12, which can be lacking in some vegetarian diets.

Great-tasting local eggs bring home the truth that fresh, nonindustrial food needs only the simplest preparations to delight the palate. I have come to agree with Alice Waters, as she writes in The Art of Simple Food: Notes, Lessons, and Recipes From a Delicious Revolution, "A freshly laid organic egg simply poached is an incomparable delicacy."

Served here on a bed of garlicky sautéed kale (see recipe), this dish is a comforting, warm, light (welcome after all that heavy holiday eating), fast meal. Or serve it with a cup of miso soup or chicken broth and lemon, and be amazingly satisfied. Of course, you can also get fancy and serve it with crisp bacon or ham, on toast or with both of these and drowned in Hollandaise (my teenage children's favorite). But I love the cleansing simplicity of a beautiful white egg atop colorful kale or braised winter greens.

Poached Eggs on Warm Winter Greens


2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
4 jumbo eggs
1 1/2 pounds fresh kale or braising greens, sautéed and kept warm
Salt and pepper to taste

Fill the pan of a 4-cup egg poacher* with 2 inches of water and bring to a boil. Drizzle 1/2 teaspoon of the olive oil in each cup. Carefully crack one egg at a time and slide into the cup, removing any bits of shell while the whites are still translucent. Add salt and pepper to taste, cover and simmer eggs over the boiling water for 3-5 minutes, according to how done you like the yolk: runny, medium-soft or hard.

While the eggs simmer, divide the greens among four warm plates, and if you're having toast or miso on the side, prepare this as well. When the eggs are ready, use a narrow-tipped rubber spatula to remove eggs from cups, flipping them onto the greens as you would turn a cake out of its pan. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

*If you're dedicated to eating local, this special pan is worth it for the possibilities with eggs—and I'm not a cook with lots of different pans and kitchen gadgets. If you don't have such a pan, you can simulate poaching eggs in a nonstick 8-inch skillet: Drizzle the oil in the pan and crack the eggs into it, allowing the whites to run together. Over medium heat, allow enough time (45-90 seconds) for the translucent whites to turn opaque and solidify, and then drizzle approximately 1 tablespoon boiling water from a kettle over eggs and cover. Allow eggs to simmer for the remaining minutes until desired doneness. With a slotted spoon, remove from pan. Shake any excess water or blot dry with paper towel. Serve as above.

Egg-Rich Fettuccine

Not exactly light fare, this robust pasta works fabulously as a main dish accompanied by a salad, veggie- heavy soup or as a side to complement roasted meats. The clarity of local dairy flavors is enhanced by the omega-3-laden yolks, which give a natural yellow tint to the sauce. Have everything else you're serving ready to go, because when this is ready it should be eaten pronto. Serves 4 as an entrée, 6 to 8 as a side dish.

1 pound fettuccine, cooked al dente according to package directions
1/2 cup farm-fresh butter
1 1/4 cups whipping cream
Salt and pepper to taste
4 egg yolks (5 if medium or small)
1/2 cup parmesan-like flavorful cheese, finely grated

While the fettuccine is cooking, melt the butter. Add the cream, salt and pepper to it and heat gently until just about to boil. In a large (3 to 4 quart) bowl, whisk the egg yolks until fully blended, and, using a measuring cup or ladle, add small (1/4 cup) quantities of the scalding butter-cream to the egg yolks, beating with a whisk the whole time until the sauce turns pale yellow. Drain pasta and stir immediately into the cream-egg mixture, tossing several times to coat thoroughly. Sprinkle on parmesan cheese and toss again. Cover and keep in a warm spot (near, but not on the stove). Serve on warm plates.

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