My mother was not the greatest of cooks, cooking farm fresh eggs was likely not even considered. Sorry, Mom…So, I always thought that a hardboiled egg had these gray chalky centers only worth feeding to the dog or throwing in the compost bin. Now that I raise my own chickens I know this isn’t true. It is so far from the truth that I have come to know that one of the greatest pleasures in life is the quiet enjoyment of a well-cooked, farm fresh egg. Those sunny yellow, firm centers are heaven sent! Read on to learn how to cook the perfect farm fresh egg.
Farm fresh eggs come from happy chickens
Here, at Stony Ridge Farm, we have about 50 layers. These 50 layers are mixed heritage varieties of hens that lay brown, green, pink and blue eggs. Cooking farm fresh eggs are as yummy and pretty to look at as the dozen itself. We feed them generously with a local feed from New Country Organics. Their coop is roomy, safe from predators, and has access to a large chicken run. They live with Cagney and John Deere, our Tennessee Fainting Goats.
The Lost Art of Cooking With Fresh Ingredients
It may be easy to assume that most know how to cook a fresh egg. However, some Americans are far removed from fresh whole foods that very few people know how to even approach cooking farm fresh eggs. As a matter of fact, I was working with a local chef at a farmers’ market who complained that my eggs were too fresh and the yolks too large. They were going to have to go back to white eggs from the supermarket. No response was adequate to the scene. Sigh…we local producers have a long way to go in educating our market.
There are many resources for those of us learning how to get the most flavor and nutrients from local foods. My favorite is Alice Waters of Chez Panisse restaurant. After reading her first cookbook and then experimenting on my own I have come to the following process to create the perfect hardboiled egg. I hope you try it and then report back on your experience!
The Perfect Hard Boiled Egg
You will need one dozen local eggs, fresh water, and an ice bath. If you can, buy a dozen fresh, local eggs and set them in the fridge for a week before following this method. Fresh eggs have a strong membrane under the shell that makes them hard to peel. This little bit of preparation will remedy that problem.
Place your eggs in a stainless steel or enamel pot, cover them with cold water, place on the cooktop and bring to a rapid boil. This allows the eggs to rise to the same temperature as the water, at the same time. Turn off the heat, cover the pot, and let steam for 9 minutes. Remove the eggs from the pot and place directly into an ice bath. Let rest for another 10 minutes. Peel and enjoy, maybe with some J.Q. Dickinson salt!
The Perfect Fried Egg
Use a 6’’ cast iron skillet. Place over a medium flame and place a tablespoon of fresh butter in the pan. As soon as the butter has melted enough to cover the pan (while the pan is still relatively cool) break the egg into the center. Once the white begins to set, gently move the egg over the butter with a spatula to ease any sticking. Then, shake the pan to gently move the egg around the pan and replace back on the flame. When the white is firm and the yolk is not, shake the pan and then flip the egg. (Don’t worry, you’ve got this!) Salt and pepper to taste. Turn off the flame and let the egg get to the firmness you prefer and then tilt the pan to ease the egg onto the plate.
Plating this egg on toast is tempting, however, I recommend trying it over a fresh lettuce mix instead with a touch of balsamic vinegar.
Now, I’m hungry!