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Pasture Perfect

This father’s day, break the mold, and serve up the gift of farm-fresh eggs.


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Dad was pretty indifferent about hand tools and handkerchiefs, but when it came to breakfast, he was “Cool Hand Luke,” the character played by Paul Newman, who ate 50 hardboiled eggs in an hour.

So you’d always find me in the kitchen on Father’s Day, making omelets or Benedict, or Dad’s favorite: frittatas.

I wish he were still here today because I only recently stumbled upon pastured eggs in the farmers market. There’s no labeling laws for pastured, but it refers to hens who are let loose to munch upon bugs and weeds, producing deep orange yolks, firm whites, and a rich flavor. Dad would’ve loved ’em.

And buying your eggs at the farmers market is perfect because you can do all your brunch shopping there.

Beckmann’s Old World Bakery (found at many of our farmers markets) has the best pies and the freshest toasting breads. Prather Ranch Meat Co. sells the finest, meatiest bacon at the Pleasanton and Danville markets. And at every market in June, corn and tomatoes (which make a nice frittata combo) are just starting to roll in.

If you just can’t fit a market into your schedule, Bay Area Costcos and Whole Foods Markets sell pastured eggs under the Alexandre Kids label. They must be good, too, because when I talked to co-owner Christian Alexandre, he had just finished six eggs for lunch. “I ate a dozen once,” he told me.

That’s no Cool Hand Luke, but I’m sure his dad, who first bought the chickens for his kids, would be proud.

For a recipe, scroll down.


 

Fresh Tomato and Basil Frittata with Asiago

Serves four.

This recipe is perfect for early summer produce at the farmers market, and comes from Marie Simmons’ The Good Egg. The frittata can be served hot, or easily made ahead and served warm or at room temperature as part of a brunch spread.

 

Ingredients:

8 large eggs
1 cup grated Asiago cheese (about 4 ounces)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups diced (1/2-inch) ripe tomatoes
1/4 cup torn fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced

 

Method:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, 1/2 cup of the cheese, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and a grinding of pepper until blended.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss the tomatoes with the basil, 1 tablespoon of the oil, salt to taste, and a grinding of pepper. Set aside.
  3. In a large nonstick (oven-proof, if you want to finish under the broiler) skillet with low, sloping sides, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and the garlic over medium-low heat. When the garlic begins to sizzle, add the egg mixture and stir to blend with the oil. Spoon the tomato mixture evenly over the top. Cook until the eggs are set on the bottom and around the edges, about 4 minutes. With a spatula, lift one side of the frittata and tilt the pan so the raw eggs flow under the set edges. Repeat at least twice at different places around the edge, until the egg is no longer runny.
  4. Sprinkle the top with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese, reduce the heat to the lowest setting, cover, and cook until the frittata is set, 10 to 15 minutes. If you prefer the top browned, preheat the broiler, then set the (ovenproof) skillet under the heat just until the top is lightly browned, 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. To serve, loosen the edges with a spatula and slide the frittata onto a platter. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature, cut into wedges.
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