There are privileges that I wish I could have kept from my happy upbringing in rural France. Take for example eggs. Would you have dreamed of anything better but collect eggs still warm, with feathers — and dirt — stuck to them, from the poulailler (chicken house)?
“Tu les laisses pour moi hein, dis mémé !” (leave them for me grand-ma!) I used to tell my grand-mother before my parents drove us to their farm, a few kilometers away. My brother B. was older and clearly less interested in those farm-like games. So mémé invariably did leave the eggs for me to collect. She and I would then walk to the large garden she kept impeccable at the back of their big house; we would feed the rabbits together and on the way back, we would dig out a salad and some vegetables for dinner. I would carry the basket full of our treasures; staying over for a meal was nearly always happening. A good thing since it meant tasting my grandmother’s saucisson, the best I’ve ever eaten to this day. I loved to be at the farm. And I loved to collect the eggs.
So perhaps like many people, I could worry about my consumption of eggs. Clearly they are a staple ingredient in my cooking. I use them in flans, clafoutis, cakes, omelets, custard, oeufs en cocotte: the possibilities are endless. But in truth, I have never worried about eating too many eggs. And I do not think that I ever will.
When I am working at home — or when P. and I go hiking or decide to picnic somewhere green and sunny — one of my favorite daily snacks is a hard-boiled egg sprinkled with a dash of fleur de sel, and a touch of preserved horseradish if I have any in the fridge. Aren’t they wonderful food?
My dad often tells me that he used to eat hard-boiled eggs as a snack on the farm when he was young. I suspect that he’s passed me the gene: in our family, while my mum and brother do not care much for them, my dad and I can make a meal on them.
A few weeks ago, with the Easter egg frenzy visible in every magazine I picked to read, I thought about eggs a lot, and feeling easily carried away, I ended up cooking many egg recipes. Amongst them, I came up with the idea of these Dressed up marbled eggs.
The technique is easy: hard-boil your eggs the way you normally do, crack the shells by tapping them gently on a cutting board, for example — which is what gives the pattern to the eggs — and then, place the eggs in dyed water for about 1 hour 30 minutes (the longer you leave them in the infused water, the more colored they become). I dyed mine with beet root juice diluted in water.
Then, create according to your fancy and taste to dress up your hard boiled eggs. I imagined a topping made of fresh anchovies, horseradish, fleur de sel, and a dash of pepper.
With a twig of chive tied around, the eggs looked like small packages of love and goodness easily dropped into the mouth; a recipe easy to prepare, wonderful enjoyed as a light finger food appetizer, or a nutritious snack to fulfill a sudden craving during the day.
Wouldn’t you too, like my dad and I, enjoy the bounty mother nature keeps for us in simple food like hard-boiled eggs?
Pourquoi chercher compliqué quand le simple peut être si bon ?
(why look for something complex when something easy can be so delicious?)
- Hard boiled Eggs
- Fresh anchovies marinated in oil
- Horseradish preserved in vinegar (or fresh)
- Fleur de sel
- Hard-boil your eggs.
- Crack the shells by tapping the eggs gently on a cutting board for example, and place them in a bowl. Cover with water diluted with beet juice. Let the eggs sit like this for about 1 hour 30 minutes. Then remove the shells.
- Cut the eggs in halves. Place a fresh anchovy on each, and top with horseradish. Tie with a piece of chive around.
- Sprinkle with fleur de sel and pepper.
- Oeufs durs
- Anchois frais marinés à l’huile
- Raifort au vinaigre
- Fleur de sel
- Poivre du moulin
- Faites cuire vos oeufs en oeufs durs.
- Une fois cuits, tapotez-les légèrement sur une planche à découper pour les fissurer, et mettez-les dans un récipient. Recouvrez de jus de betterave rouge allongé à l’eau froide. Laissez de côté pendant 1 heure 30 minimum. Écalez-les.
- Coupez les oeufs en deux. Placez un anchois sur chaque moitié et ajoutez un peu de raifort. Entourez d’un brin de ciboulette que vous nouez autour.
- Saupoudrez de fleur de sel et de poivre du moulin.