Ok, so I knicked that from the Hobbit. Plagiarism isn’t a crime – I got 8 GCSE’s copying and pasting from Wikipedia….
Anyway. Eggs are amazing. Truly incredible things. We used them to trap air when we whisk it, which expands when heated to help a soufflé rise. We have witnessed real life magic, as its insulation properties help us put a ball of ice cream in a hot oven and come out still cold in our Baked Alaska.
Such a cheap, every day ingredient, it is all too easy to overlook them. So, I figured we’d make them the star of the show this month. Don’t worry, I’m not about to go all Delia Smith on you and do an article on how to poach an egg - I figure if you can’t do that already, this is all probably wasted on you anyway (for those who don’t know, lob it in some hot water. N.b. remove shell first. Maybe it’s not so simple after all….). It is also a great personal challenge to write an entire article with out making any eggscruciatingly cringeworthy puns….
So, Eggs. Crammed full of protein, they contain 19 Vitamins and minerals. Which means they’re pretty healthy. The Egg Nutrition Centre rates them second only to human breast milk for human nutrition. But then they’re probably biased. And we all remember the Rocky movie. Interestingly, the human body digests more protein after cooking than when eaten raw – he may as well have just poached them. Gutted.
Don’t let their healthy attributes put you off – they are also the ultimate fast food. From under five minutes to make an omelette, to Boiled egg and soldiers in under 10. The ultimate breakfast dish – think Eggs Benedict, Smoked Salmon and Scrambled Egg with your glass of fizzy wine in the morning (apparently drinking before midday is not so frowned upon as I was led to believe – champagne breakfast is now quite the sophisticated pastime, so for anyone looking for an excuse to get tipsy BEFORE lunch….)
Anyway, back to the Eggs. Farmed for centuries, we get through an estimated 12.6 billion eggs per year, averaging roughly 34.5 million eggs a day. 85% of these eggs are in fact produced in this country by roughly 36 million hens. Several types of eggs are to be found on supermarket shelves, vitamin or omega-3 enriched eggs are those where the chicken has been fed vitamin enhanced foods, organic is from free range hens who have been fed organic foods, and free-range eggs, which mean the birds have been raised in free run barns with a little more space, and sometimes access to outside. And there’s the ‘conventional’ barn eggs. But we don’t like those, so we won’t discuss it. In terms of egg varieties, the most common being quails eggs (tiny little things, nightmare to peel), hens eggs (no description necessary I hope…), duck eggs (larger, richer – very very tasty), and slightly less ordinary are the pheasant egg, slightly larger than a quails egg, and Gulls Egg, quite the gastronomic treat, in part due to their rarity (there are only a small number of people with licenses to forage them in the UK and the brevity of the season (grab them at the start of spring for 3-4 weeks – keep an eye out for them in may.)
And which came first. The chicken or the Egg? Not the foggiest. Sorry. I just cook the things…….
Onto this month’s recipe. Here we are using just the yolk. We’re pairing this with smoked hollandaise (more egg yolks) and some chicken. Because it just makes sense. Broccoli would make a brilliant substitute.
Chicken Wings: 4 Chicken Wing, duck fat, lemon thyme, zest 1 lemon – place in pan, simmer on low heat till the bones pull out easily. Remove bones and chill in fridge. Pan fry to crisp skin to serve.
Smoked Hollandaise: 3 egg yolks, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 125g smoked Butter - Place egg yolks in blender, boil butter and add in slow trickle, blending continuously till it thickens. Season with lemon juice and salt.
Asparagus Puree: 10 asparagus spears, 25g cream, 30g beurre noisette, 5 g spinach, 5g truffle/truffle oil - Blanch asparagus spears' until soft, blitz, add cream and beurre noisette. Pass and season.
Poached Egg Yolk: 4 hens egg yolks – boil egg for 5 ½ minutes. Chuck a couple extra in if its your first time. It can be a bit fiddly. Peel, and gently remove egg white. Place yolk on plate with a sprinkle of Maldon salt on top.
This months wine match is something slightly different, a white rioja. Rioja is a region in Spain, normally more associated with rich red wines, they also do a nice range in rather tasty white wines. This one in particular is called Bodegas Remelluri RiojaBlanco. Made from a blend of Voignier, Chardonnay, Roussanne, Marsanne, Sauvignon Blanc, Garnacha Blanca, and Moscatel del Pais (quite the mouthful - they basically lobbed the entire cupboard and half the kitchen sink at it, but thankfully they did, because it tastes pretty good…), this fresh, crisp wine cuts through the richness of the asparagus and chicken beautifully.