Vail Simply Seasonal: Farm fresh eggs – Mother Nature’s superfood
Vail, CO Colorado
VAIL, Colorado –The egg might be the most diverse food in our diets. From breakfast to dessert, you can use eggs in omelets, frittatas, mayonnaise, hollandaise, souffles, pastas, cakes, pastries, puddings and creme brulee. Or just enjoy an egg on its own, by frying, poaching, soft or hard boiling or scrambling it.
“An easy way to poach an egg,” said Jeremy Kittelson, executive chef at Restaurant Avondale, “is to bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Then, with a spoon, stir the water to create an eddy. Drop the egg carefully into the center. The swirling movement of the water keeps the white contained.”
What’s all the buzz about farm fresh eggs? Organic, cage-free eggs are widely available in the local grocery stores. They are more expensive, but definitely worth it. Their bright yellow (almost orange) yolks cook up to a fluffy texture and a fresh, rich taste.
Can you purchase locally-raised farm eggs? The USDA has strict regulations for farmers who sell eggs (and deliver them) to retail outlets. However, it is perfectly legal to go directly to the farm and purchase your basket of delicious, farm fresh eggs. If the opportunity arises, jump at the chance.
“The egg is one of the most nutritious foods we have,” said Kittelson. “It is unmatched as a source of amino acids, minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. Eggs have all the essential amino acids contained in proteins.”
True, all eggs supply these health benefits, but farm fresh eggs come from hens that spend their days pecking around in an open pasture. Those bright yellow yolks come from the grass they eat and the natural sunshine. Caged hens do not receive the benefit of natural light and their diets consist mainly of feed. You’ll notice the shells of farm fresh eggs are thicker, and appear in a variety of colors. Whether brown, white, green or blue, they indicate the breed of chicken.
Besides flavor, studies suggest that pasture-raised eggs are higher in omega-3s and vitamins A, B12, and E and lower in fat and cholesterol. Choosing the organic eggs will cost you more, but for less than a dollar per egg you can substantially increase your nutritional benefit and enjoy one of Mother Nature’s superfoods.
2 farm fresh eggs
1 tablespoon water
1/2 cup asparagus, steamed till crisp-tender, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/4 cup shredded gruyere cheese
Combine eggs and water, blending lightly with a fork. Heat an eight-inch non-stick skillet till hot. Spray pan lightly with oil. Pour eggs into pan. The water in the mixture will quickly become steam, helping to cook the eggs. Swirl the egg in the pan until it starts to set (about a minute). Running a spatula around the edge of the omelet, tip any uncooked egg over the cooked edge so it has better access to the heat. Set asparagus and gruyere on one half of the omelet. Flip the other half over the filling and slide onto the plate. Makes one omelet.
1 cup mixed greens
1 cup frisee
1 cup fresh green beans
4 fingerling potatoes
Caraway Mustard Vinaigrette
2 farm fresh eggs
Slice fingerlings to 1/4-inch and steam till tender about 15 minutes. Toss warm potatoes with dressing just to coat (the potatoes will absorb the flavor if warm). Boil green beans till crisp tender, about 20 minutes. Assemble greens, frisee, potatoes, green beans and toss with enough dressing to lightly coat. Divide between two plates. Poach eggs just before serving; place one poached egg on top of each salad and sprinkle with chives. Serves 2.
2 Tablespoons caraway seeds
1/3 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 cup sherry vinegar
1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup whole grain mustard
Toast caraway seeds and grind coarsely. In a blender, place Dijon mustard and sherry vinegar. Turn on low and slowly add oil till emulsified. Transfer dressing to a mixing bowl and blend in whole grain mustard and caraway seeds. Makes 2 cups.
5 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup champagne
1 1/4 cup heavy cream
Assorted fresh berries
Combine egg yolks, sugar and champagne in a stainless steel mixing bowl. Fill medium size saucepot halfway with water and place over medium heat. Set bowl over pot of water and whisk until mixture is very thick and light yellow in color, approximately 20 minutes. Have ready another (slightly larger) stainless steel bowl filled halfway with ice. Set bowl of hot mixture on top of the ice and continue to whisk until mixture is completely cooled. In electric mixer whip heavy cream until thick and then 1/3 at a time gently fold into egg mixture. Chill. To serve, place berries in stem glasses and top with sabayon. Makes 4 cups.
Sue Barham is the marketing director for Larkspur Restaurant and Restaurant Avondale. Larkspur, (larkspurvail.com) at the base of Vail Mountain, has been serving American Classics with a fresh interpretation since 1999. Avondale, (avondalerestaurant.com) opened in September 2008 in the Westin Riverfront Resort and Spa and features a West Coast inspired, market driven menu.