You would think that I had been eating eggs my whole life with unabashed fervor – as I do now. However, that would not be true. When I was a child, I remember having a sleepover at the neighbor’s and they served scrambled eggs for breakfast. Every bite was difficult, washed down with what felt like a whole glass of juice. There was something about the strong smell that turned my sensitive nose and taste buds right off.
Nowadays, I buy my eggs directly from my next-door neighbors who raise free-range chickens just for their beautiful eggs. I sometimes see them down on our road, strutting their polka-dot, reddish brown, mottled or stark white feathers and it makes me feel like I am supporting a good habit, and the habit is all mine.
My favorite way of eating eggs is to poach them. Poached eggs seem like the healthiest since they don’t require anything but water to cook in. I like them on everything from a spinach or frisee salad, to topping creamy polenta, or just simply on a nice piece of country bread, toasted, with a drizzle of olive oil and a slice of avocado.
Lately, I cannot eat breakfast out without ordering Huevos Rancheros with poached eggs. It is a kind of litmus test to see how they prepare it and if it is as good as the Wildwood Market Caf in Graton. They serve their version with creamy polenta and it is one of my favorites!
Scrambled eggs are just about the easiest to make and they don’t take long to cook. Toss a few eggs into a skillet of olive oil or butter and a little salt and pepper and you can whisk them in the pan. To keep them soft, cook on the lowest heat. Whisk while they are cooking and you will have nice fluffy eggs. Use a grating of Parmesan cheese to top it, or finely chopped Italian parsley. Simple!
So, whether it’s frittatas, omelets, scrambles or simple poached or fried eggs, eggs make a delicious meal all by themselves with very little fuss. Happy Cooking!
Huevos Rancheros Serves 4
2 cups Polenta with about 4 cups chicken stock or water (or follow instructions on package).
4 Eggs, with poacher or small saucepan
4 Small Corn Tortillas; toasted over open flame, or fried in a little corn oil
Salsa Fresca or your favorite kind of salsa (or better yet, make your own)
Salt and Pepper
PolentaWarm a large saucepan and add the polenta. Warm it a little, then add a cup of liquid, whisking until the polenta is smooth and not lumpy. Stir until the liquid is completely incorporated and smooth. It will take about 15-25 minutes to cook.
Meanwhile, get the eggs ready. If you are using a poacher, either spray them with an olive oil spray or spread a little oil, salt and pepper in them. (I have 2 silicone and a small 4-egg poacher). Or, using a small saucepan, put about 3 inches of water and bring to a low boil. Add them, one at a time, slowly, and let them cook about 5 minutes each, then using a slotted spoon, take them out and drain a little before laying on top of the Polenta.
Put the corn tortilla on the plate first, then scoop a little polenta and set the egg on top.
Serve with black beans and a variety of salsas. Top with either crema or plain yogurt.
Tricia O’Brien writes the Vegetable of the Month column for the Oak Hill Farm newsletter and lives in Glen Ellen. You can visit and follow her blog at www.cafetrix.blogspot.com.