Living on a horse farm with a yard in which to grow your own vegetable garden and a small mountain serving as a backdrop is magical. Sometimes I can’t believe I live in this beautiful place, so closely held by nature. I haven’t always been a country girl. I’ve lived in many different suburban areas and a part of me always placed value in being able to jump in my car and drive to a nearby city. This, however, is the most remote, most private home I’ve ever lived in. And that remoteness has made all the difference.
When I wake up in the morning, I step outside onto our front porch and am greeted by the smell of fresh country air and warm, sparkling sunlight on my face. Sometimes, when I look over to my left, I see horses grazing in the adjacent meadow. This morning we were visited by the neighbor’s yellow golden lab. The various neighbors’ dogs (Chiclet, Pepper and Parker) seem to enjoy stopping by every now and then to check in on the latest happenings in our red cottage. Sometimes Pepper will stop by and lay down in front of the wood stove for half the day. When she’s determined it’s time to see what else is happening on the farm, she gets up, navigates slowly across the slippery wood floors, and lets herself out the back door. It’s nice receiving such random, easy-going and unassuming visitors.
My landlord L also stopped by this morning. She dropped off a dozen eggs freshly laid by hens owned by one of her friends. The eggs are beautiful. They have vibrant orange yolks, which, I’ve read, indicate that the hens were fed a lot of healthy (happy) green stuff. Speaking of green stuff. The salad shown in these photos is made up of a blend of collards, dinosaur kale, and red Russian kale, harvested fresh from our Fall garden. This dish is a great way to indulge your craving for deviled eggs while getting your fill of healthy salad greens. It’s also a budget-friendly meal – especially if you grow your own salad greens (and have friendly neighbors who drop off free eggs).
You can certainly hard-boil your eggs any way you choose, but I urge you to try the method below at least once. It’s a method developed by the chefs at Cook’s Illustrated, who will literally cook a dish 38 times, modifying either the ingredient or the technique each time, to figure out the “best” way to cook that dish. The hard-boiled egg method they developed appears to be the best way to produce hard-boiled eggs that easily separate from their outer shells and are perfectly cooked throughout. This method also allows easy extraction of the egg yolk from the whites. Once cooked, cooled, peeled and halved, the egg yolk will pop right out with a gentle squeeze of the egg.
Pan-Crisped Deviled Eggs with Salad Greens
Adapted from The Splendid Table’s How to Eat Supper by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift
Serves 4 as a main dish, 6 as a first course
For the egg stuffing:
8 large eggs (preferably obtained from a local farm with free-range chickens)
1 scant teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 1/2 teaspoons minced onion
2 1/2 tight-packed tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
2 to 3 tablespoons milk (skim works fine)
2 1/2 teaspoons mayonnaise (preferably Hellman’s Real or Duke’s)
1 1/2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper
For the salad dressing:
The leftover egg stuffing
3 tablespoons good-tasting extra-virgin olive oil
1 generous teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 1/2 tablespoons milk (skim works fine)
2 1/2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper
4 generous handfuls mixed greens, washed, dried and chopped
2 to 3 tablespoons good-tasting extra-virgin olive oil
Toasted slices of good quality bread
- Place the uncooked eggs in a saucepan large enough to accommodate all the eggs in a single layer. Cover the eggs with 1 inch of water. Bring to a boil on high heat. As soon as the water has reached a vigorous boil, cover the pan with a tight lid and remove the pan from the heat. Let stand for 10 minutes covered. Meanwhile, fill an equivalent sized bowl with cold water and add about 14 ice cubes (equivalent to one tray) to the water. At the end of the 10 minutes, transfer the eggs to the ice bath and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
- Peel the eggs by tapping them against the counter then pressing firmly down on them with your hand while rolling them back and forth a few times. You want to create lots of little cracks on all the parts of the shell. Peel the egg starting from the bottom (the wider pointy end). The shell should come off in one spiral piece.
- Cut the eggs in half lengthwise. Gently squeeze the outside of each half, turning the cut sides over a bowl to release the egg yolks into the bowl.
- Add the mustard, garlic, onion, parsley, milk, mayonnaise and vinegar to the egg yolks. Using a fork, mash the egg yolks and mix until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined. You are aiming for a thick paste. Taste and adjust with salt and pepper.
- Fill each egg white half with the mashed egg yolk mixture. Level off the top of each egg half so that the egg yolk mixture forms a flat surface, even with the egg whites. Set the stuffed eggs aside. You will have leftover stuffing, which will be incorporated into the dressing.
- Prepare the dressing by combining all the salad dressing ingredients listed above, from the leftover egg stuffing through the white wine vinegar. Use a wire whisk to thoroughly mix the dressing. Taste and adjust with salt and pepper. Drizzle the dressing over the mixed greens and toss.
- I prefer to plate the greens and any other accompaniments (such as a slice of toasted bread) prior to pan frying the eggs so that everything is in place and ready for the warm eggs.
- Heat 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Place the egg halves cut side down into the pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until the yolk stuffing are beautifully browned, approximately 3 to 5 minutes.
- Immediately serve the eggs, stuffing side up on the bed of greens.