There are four cartons of eggs in my refrigerator right now, which might sound strange considering my childrens’ well-chronicled antipathy towards all things orb-shaped and yolk-filled, but as far as I’m concerned, it might not be nearly enough. The first carton, our standard Trader Joe’s Large Brown Organic, is almost depleted so that hardly counts. The second is one I picked up at our farmer’s market this past Saturday (Hallelujah! It’s open!), and the last two dozen I bought at Stone Barns where we went for lunch a few hours later, because I couldn’t help it. Eating an egg from Stone Barns after a winter of Trader Joe’s eggs is like picking up Anna Karenina after a year of flipping through Archie comics. I needed to stock up.
Those of you who’ve read Dinner: A Love Story, know that trying an honest-to-god, farm-fresh, deep orange-yolked egg for the first time back in 2002 — besides being an almost religious experience — was my entree into what was then the brave new world of cooking with fresh, local, organic ingredients. And like any good born-again, I’m always looking to spread the gospel. That extra carton will most definitely be a gift to someone who has given my kid a ride to the soccer tournament in Jersey or to a city friend who, like the rest of us, is dreaming of spring. Or to someone having us over for dinner. I’m telling you, these eggs are so good they are GIFT WORTHY.
Speaking of dinner parties. Have you noticed that the deviled egg seems to be back as a starter option? Though they’ve never been off my radar for a weekend lunch or a mid-day snack, or a serves-one dinner when I come home after hours, I started making them for friends at cocktail hour after spying Bon Appetit‘s bacon-scallion deviled egg recipe a few issues ago. Soon after, my friend Seth served us some topped with salmon roe, procured in the canned fish department of the local supermarket. I keep meaning to replicate that in my own house, but I won’t have to for a little while, because the eggs I have now (as with all fresh ingredients) do not need a lot of dressing up. I like a little mustard and mayo mixed into mine, plus a hint of onion, whether that’s snipped chives, scallions, or, my favorite, vinegar-macerated shallots.
Because of the word “macerating,” this sounds very fancy, but it’s actually just what it looks like: minced shallots soaking in a jar of red wine vinegar. You only need to soak for 10-15 minutes to get the desired pickled effect.
For those of you lucky enough to fall back on eggs for dinner, a few ideas:
Deviled Eggs with Pickled Shallots
I feel silly even writing a recipe out for this one, because it’s sort of a feel-your-way kind of deal. I like mine over-stuffed, which means usually I’ll only fill 3 halves for every two eggs. (You can chop up the remaining white half in egg salad or just give to the dog.)
To hardboil: Add your eggs to a pot of cold water and turn heat to high. As soon as the water starts boiling, remove from heat and cover for exactly 13 minutes. Remove eggs with a slotted spoon and let cool. (Or, see Bon Appetit for special instructions.)
To remove shell: Once completely cool, gently tap your egg on the counter so the shell breaks apart. Pick off the shell carefully — in spite of the jagged pock-marked ones you see above, you’re going for a nice smooth white surface. (Detail work: Not my thing.) I find the shell slips off much more easily when the egg has completely cooled. Once the shell is removed, slice the egg in half horizontally and scoop the yolks into a small bowl.
To make filling: For every 2 eggs I’ll add about 1 heaping teaspoon of mayo, 2 drops spicy brown mustard (I favor Gulden’s here) salt & pepper. Mash with a fork and mix in your macerated shallots (or snipped chives). Since there’s nothing I won’t add horseradish to these days, I’ll occasionally mix in a pinch to this, but that’s just me.
As luck would have it, at Stone Barns, we ran into our friend Fred walking with his two beautiful dogs. In addition to being a design legend (or “virtuoso” to hear AIGA tell it), he is also an amazing photographer and took this shot above. Can you believe what he can do with the Hipstamatic app on his iPhone? These are the chickens that made this entire post possible. Thanks Chickens! Thanks Fred!