Friday, February 22, 2013

Chicken or the Egg

i woke this morning determined to write about, and teach you all, how to cook the perfect roast chicken. crispy skin, tender, juicy meat dripping down the side of your hand, fragrant, succulent and satisfying in every way.  then i saw the 3 dozen fresh pastured eggs sitting on my counter (good eggs need not be refrigerated - especially in winter and when you fly through them like we do) and i started to think about the whole chicken egg debate and that turned my attention to eggs and how much i adore them.  i got to thinking about my favorite lunch when i was a kid, egg salad sandwich, and suddenly i was completely absorbed in the beauty and simplicity of egg salad. eggs, red onion, celery diced fine - what we trained kitchen folk call a brunoise, a classic, fresh herb like dill or tarragon and the ultimate topper....fresh, house made mayonnaise. imagine that. a dressing made of raw eggs on a salad made from perfectly boiled pastured eggs. eggs to the tenth power! heaven, no? at this point i was hooked. the perfect roast chicken would have to wait.

eggs are nutritional power houses. what i would consider a perfect super food.  but you can't just buy any old eggs you see. you must seek out good, farm fresh eggs from chickens that have been raised on pasture - eating lots of bugs and grass to pack those babies full of omega-3s - and preferably not fed soy. but that's a whole 'nother talk show.  my family is lucky in that i have sourced beautiful eggs and feel confident eating them both cooked and raw (we use them raw in smoothies, ice cream, in steak tartare and when making mayo).  i suggest that you seek out  farmers at your local greenmarkets and ask them about their chickens and what they feed them.  you want brightly colored, orange yolks that stand up tall.  most supermarket eggs are pale and lifeless. do yourselves a favor and run away from those.  if you don't have a greenmarket near you, look for eggs that say pastured eggs on the carton.  eggs give us complete proteins, amino acids, choline, B12, B6, A, D, E and so much more. all of those vitamins are in the yolk, that's the best part and can be consumed with gusto every day!  please don't worry about your cholesterol when eating good eggs, if those chickens have been fed the right diet, you are good to go. cholesterol is an essential hormone, dare i call it the mother of all hormones - mother. egg. ovary - makes sense and by the way, what is a hormone? a communicator. if we bring that cholesterol too low, communication in the body is cut off and that's when you see problems.  eggs can help. 

back to egg salad.  boiling the eggs correctly so that they are neither under nor over cooked is essential.  this is what i have found over my twenty plus years of professional culinary experience.  put the eggs in a pot of cold water and turn on high heat.  when the water comes to a boil, cover the pot and turn off the heat.  let the eggs sit, covered for 20 minutes and then pluck them from the water and run them under cold water for a few minutes.  is there anything more annoying than an egg that doesn't want to give up its shell? ugh. i hate peeling eggs sometimes.  today wasn't so bad but sometimes even i lose a bit of egg in the peeling. but that's our secret.  a good balance of texture is essential with egg salad.  we are dealing with a pretty mushy product when you crumble them so i feel that the addition of celery and onion is key. sometimes i use scallion but mostly i prefer red onion.  herbs are always your choice but i endorse fresh dill and tarragon whole heartedly. these are crowd pleasers for sure.  sometimes i add curry powder to my egg salad, my daughter loves it too. my son? not so much.  he likes his egg salad on an apple slice and i can live with that.

now check this out. i am going to turn the egg amp up to 11 on this one and i fully credit my daughter, sylvia, whose love of fish eggs took me to this over the top egg dish, which i thoroughly enjoyed for lunch today. i usually do this with salmon roe because that is her favorite and what we usually have in the house - by the way, fish eggs, especially salmon roe, is a perfect food for babies. not only are the roe nutrient dense but they also teach fine motor skills in that babies must pick them up with their fingers and put them in their mouths.  caviar and blueberries, great self-feeding foods for your baby to develop a healthy brain.  back to my lunch.  i finished making my beloved egg salad of my youth and noticed that i had half a cucumber in the fridge left over from the salmon salad i made the other day.  i sliced the cuke in 1/2 inch rounds and spooned some egg salad atop. then i did something so goofy.  i spooned wild whitefish caviar - eggs - on top of that!  unbelievably delicious. a great appetizer, hors d'oeuvre or light lunch in my case.  would have been perfect with some proseco but kombucha did nicely.

egg salad, omelettes, quiche, hard boiled, soft boiled, raw, sunny side up, over easy, scrambled, custard, ice cream, poached, deep fried, deviled, pickled, souffle, mayonnaise, meringue and the list goes on and on.  egg fun fact: when you receive a classical french culinary education and earn your toque - that high white hat nobody really likes to wear - you will notice that on the hat there are 100 pleats all around.  those 100 pleats represent the 100 ways you should be able to prepare eggs according to classical french cuisine.  when you wear that hat, be prepared to get down with the egg.  so whether you prefer chicken, duck, quail, ostrich, emu, goose, fish or other - please tell me if you prefer another as i am curious to know how many different types of eggs there are, actually -- eggs are little marvels of flavor, nutrition and versatility in the kitchen.  they can impart silkiness, airiness, and what i consider to be the equivalent of magic fairy dust when used well.  i applaud all of you who go to great lengths to find great eggs and urge those of you who buy supermarket eggs to try farm fresh eggs and see the difference.  you will not be disappointed.  eggs are a gift from that chicken that i will be teaching you to perfectly cook very soon - not really, egg layers are stewing hens but we can talk about that another time.   when you call your Family2Table for this simple and beautiful egg salad, please remember that it's the simple and beautiful foods like eggs that we will remember for all our lives.

Simple Egg Salad

8 pastured eggs
2 ribs celery diced
1/2 red onion diced fine
2 TBS fresh dill or tarragon chopped
home made mayo to your liking
sea salt & pepper to taste

1. cook eggs as described above.
2. cool down and peel.
3. crumble into a bowl with your fingers
4. add chopped celery, onion and herbs
5. add mayo and mix (feel free to add a dash of dijon mustard if you like - or curry powder)
6. sea salt & pepper to taste


  1. LOVE your blog posts Family2Table! So inspiring. Thank you.

    Annie Dru

    1. Thanks Annie! glad you're enjoying them. gonna jump over to your site and check it out!

  2. I can't wait for the chicken recipe but I'm definitely gonna make this sometime. I actually roasted a chicken in my crockpot yesterday and while it was good, it did get a tad on the dry side :(.

    BTW, I love your line that you are the "nutritional gatekeeper of your family." I think that's awesome and I feel the same way! I do pretty much exclusively organic and do raw milk. Although we do have some processed organic food in the house, I'd love to kick it all the way up to your level! I also plan to go to culinary school b/c I just really love to cook and bake and am passionate about people eating real food, not chemical fake food!