Eggs are one of the food items I'm most particular about. It seems like such an ordinary ingredient, a household staple even, but I'm here to tell ya that not all eggs are created equal... not even close.
I insist on having fresh farm eggs at all times. They make such a difference in flavor when baking. If you've never had one, the whites are almost gelatinous compared to the runny, watery whites of most commercially produced eggs. You really have to hit the egg to break it, the shell is hard and breaks evenly, it won't shatter into your bowl. The yolks are bright yellow, almost orange in color, and they are absolutely delicious.
When it comes to eating an actual whole egg, as in this recipe, I just can't eat anything but a fresh farm egg. So alas, I wake up at the crack of dawn on Thursdays to go queue up for my eggs at the Farmers Market and when I hold that precious carton in my hand, and happily hand over my $7 per dozen, I feel like I've just been handed a special treasure. Yep, you heard right...I said $7 per dozen. But, once you've tasted the difference there is just no going back.
I have a couple of favorite 'egg guys' at my local Market. One is Triple T Ranch in Santa Rosa (I wish they had a website so I could link to it here). At their stand they have a little photo album that shows all of their chickens running about on pasture, the enclosure moved every day or two to ensure enough fresh land for all 1500 or so of them. At night 'the girls' return to their cozy coops for slumber and dinner from the farm's organic veggie scraps.
Another of my favorites is Soul Food Farms . I have never seen such orange yolks! These are quite the hot item and if I'm not in line by 8AM they're sold out. I don't mind though, this is one egg worth getting up early for. Alice Waters uses them exclusively at Chez Panisse and I figure... if they're good enough for 'Alice', they're certainly good enough for me!
As you may have gathered by my going on and on about them...the eggs are the star of the show in this simple dish. Maybe getting up early and standing out in the cold is a bit much to ask but do buy the best ones you can find. You should plan for about 2 eggs per person for a main course.
4 Farm Eggs (for 2 servings)
1# red skinned baby potatoes, scrubbed clean and cut into about 1" pieces
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
4 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2-3 medium heads Broccoli, chopped into florets
1 sprig fresh rosemary, chopped
1/4 tsp red chile flakes
salt & pepper
1 TB white vinegar
1/2 avocado, diced
1) Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add 1 TB white vinegar and return to a gentle simmer. Line a dinner plate with paper towels and set aside.
2) Meanwhile, heat 2 TB Olive Oil in a large saute pan. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the carrots, potatoes, salt, pepper, red chile flakes and rosemary and saute until the potatoes are cooked through and crispy golden, about 10-12 minutes.
3) While the potatoes are cooking, crack one egg at a time into a small bowl and add it to the simmering water, using a spoon to gently push the whites up around the yolk after you drop it in. Repeat this with each of the remaining eggs, adding them one at a time to the pot. (You can also use one of those nifty egg poaching pans for this like I did which is why they look so perfectly round in the photo.) Cook the eggs, about 5 minutes, depending on your preferred level of doneness. Place the cooked egg onto the paper towel lined plate to drain briefly.
4) While the eggs and potatoes are cooking, heat another 2 TB Olive Oil in a separate saute pan. Add the broccoli florets and salt and pepper to taste and saute until bright green and just tender, about 5 minutes. When cooked, add the zest and juice of 1/2 lemon.
5) When everything is cooked, divide the vegetables up into shallow serving bowls and top with two eggs per person. Grating some fresh Parmesano Reggiano or a sprinkling of lemon zest on top would be lovely. Serve the broccoli alongside.