By Paul Suplee, MBA, CEC, PC-3
What can’t you top with a good, fresh, local fried egg?
There is egg custard ice cream, so I sit here with my A.D.D.-addled brain wondering how well a fried egg, sans salt and pepper, would fare on such a sweet offering.
Perhaps I won’t try that one for a while, but I will still talk about eggs today.
We are living in a golden era of cottage farming with a plethora of small, family-owned farms and producers giving us cheese, eggs, beef, pork, vegetables & fruit and so much more.
It is exciting to go to a good farmers market and shop for dinner. And for me to say that, means a lot. As the saying goes, the cobbler’s children have no shoes.
I have rarely been known to work away for hours in my home kitchen as a chef. As the summer approaches, however, that will change somewhat, as I do enjoy a good steak outside, or the aforementioned fresh veggies.
But you did not come here to hear about my cooking woes, inconsistencies and impracticalities. No, you came here to be entertained. I am not “The Spaniard,” though, that colossal gladiator in the eponymous film.
No, I am but a lowly cook of sorts, just trying to make his way through the last portion of his career, but I will do my best.
There are a number of fresh egg farmers popping up in the area, and this thrills me to no end.
I like eggs, but I never truly loved them until I was gifted a basket of fresh, dirty chicken and ducks eggs by now-friends of mine Dana and David after a catering I did for them.
It was not until last year that I had the pleasure of having to scrub the filth off of fresh eggs, that protective layer that can keep them safe and fresh on the counter for weeks.
After tasting fresh, organic eggs for the first time, I knew that I was in love.
Ever since, I stopped mocking people who keep chickens in their backyard, and instead have even considered in fever dreams building a coop for myself. I doubt that will ever happen, but never name the well from which you will never drink.
Duck eggs are on a whole new level than chicken eggs, and they are my hands-down favorite.
I truly hate to disparage the ubiquitous chicken, but there is simply something so moving about duck eggs, and they bake incredibly well.
Used in crepe batter, you will rarely have a better breakfast (or dinner if you’re treating yourself or your family to breakfast for dinner, one of our all-time favorites).
Whether it be a duck or chicken egg, or even a quail egg (delightful on just about any salad), for me the most important thing is to keep the yolk runny.
I’ve been told recently that fresh eggs are typically free range and not as susceptible to the various pathogens as mass-produced eggs. I will not say that this is true or false, and how you eat your eggs is entirely up to you.
For me, the point of the egg on top of this and other dishes is to use the yolk as a component of the dish, as a sauce of sorts.
Watching that oozy egg yolk drizzle down the side of anything will bring joy to the soul of any good cook.
That is why eggs are so good and now so popular on burgers. Coupled with bacon, a natural accompaniment in the breakfast realm, things get even better.
I just found someone who has quail eggs, and they will be added to my weekly routine once the semester is over and I can make all these trips to the various farms. It’s just one more reason to love where we live.
Seared Pork on Greens, Fried Egg
4 ea. 6-ounce pork chops
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 Tbsp. Whole butter
8 c. Spring mix
1 c. Pickled red onions (recipe follows)
1 watermelon or normal radish, thinly sliced
1 c. Vinaigrette of your choice
4 ea. Farm-fresh eggs
Seasoning, to taste
Pat the pork chops dry, and then heat a frypan to a high heat, just below smoking.
Add the oil and butter and cook until the water has cooked out of that glorious water-in-fat emulsion that we chefs know and love as beurre. You will know this is done when the foaming has subsided, but be careful that it does not burn.
Season the pork chops and add to the hot pan and sear for three minutes per side.
Remove the pan from the heat and allow the steaks to rest in the pan. They will cook through right where they are.
In a non-stick pan, cook the eggs sunnyside up (as in the picture), over easy or however you like them.
Bear in mind that if you cook the yolk through, it defeats the purpose of putting a fried egg on food, in my humble opinion, as the yolk becomes the sauce in any given situation, even on a burger.
Toss the greens in the vinaigrette, plate up with the radish and onions, and top with sliced pork.
Split those glorious drippings over your salad (never let them go to waste) and then top each salad with an egg.
Paul Suplee is the owner of the
boxcar restaurants and is also
Senior Lecturer of Culinary Arts at UMES.