Sunday, April 08, 2007 1:20 PM
This year Easter is solo... and, while I don't practice any particular religion, I'm willing to adopt a pagan custom or two in service of good food.
I'm too lazy to dye eggs, and probably will remain so as long as I have no children to entertain, but I'm sure willing to crack a couple of eggs.
The other thing about dying eggs is that the presentation contributes nothing to the taste of hard boiled eggs. I'm all for pretty presentations, but I'm much more motivated to create functional presentations. Whatever I decorate with should make the dish taste better. Otherwise, I'm content to just let the plate decorate the food.
Sosio's was selling fresh wild ramps yesterday, which are a wild onion family member, sometimes called wild leeks. They're generally skinnier than the skinniest scallions, and the greens are almost leaf-like. The flavor is sharp, complex, and slightly earthy; they're more aromatic than scallions, distinct from but reminiscent of shallots, and have a sort of leek-like base notes. They're also very fragile and tend to have an incredibly short shelf-life.
They were also offering some "early morels", which are actually members of the verpa family. When sliced lengthwise an inner fleshy stem is revealed, distinguishing them from true morchella, which have a stem that doesn't come apart from the rest of the body. Apparently some people have allergies to the verpa, and there are some varieties, not common in the Pacific Northwest, which are slightly toxic when eaten raw. Cooked, they're quite nice, and they greedily absorb all the aromatics they're cooked with.
I still had a small bit of blanched rapini left in the freezer, so I had a nice trio of ingredients for a spring frittata. Gently sautéed in some nice olive oil with a pinch or two of salt, the trio of spring treats contribute a lot of flavor to a simple egg dish.
For the eggs, I just whisked a couple of room temperature eggs together and added a bit of seasoned soup broth, mixed them together and added them to my nice nonstick pan right over the vegetables. I stir the eggs with saibashi (long chopsticks for cooking) to help create nice curds and to keep the eggs from browning prematurely. Before the eggs are set, I briefly place them under a broiler, and the eggs puff up dramatically.
In my experience, when the eggs are browned in the broiler, the eggs become unpleasantly hard—almost tough—so now I just let them puff up a bit and flip them over onto the serving plate, revealing the golden-brown bottom while retaining an almost-fluffy texture.
Topped with some citrusy ash-covered Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog cheese and chopped ramp greens, this simple frittata features wild, citrusy, creamy, earthy, bitter, and gently sweet flavors all at once, somehow without any one of those flavors conflicting with the others. It's just the right thing for a lazy Sunday.