Spring sprang early in Washington. The weather is still bouncing from windy to warm to steamy to shivering and back again, but the days are longer, the sun shines most every day, and this week, we’ve already had a couple days north of 80 degrees. I’m told spring vegetables are nearly ready to pick. The guys at Toigo Orchards told me the asparagus are about 4 inches long. Prepare yourselves: if history tells us anything, it’s I may have trouble posting about much else. Still, I’m pretty excited that the market has things other than beets and kale.
Ramps hit the market a couple weeks ago, and while I’ve decided perhaps they’re unworthy of cultish obsession, I did buy a couple bunches. Now that Passover’s over, I’ll bake up a batch of these cheesy scones with ramps, which I made and loved last year. Last week, I blitzed them into this ramp pesto, which accompanied us faithfully into last summer. And now that we’ve got a deck (more on that in a moment), I’m picturing grilled whole fish, shmeared with the stuff, finished with lemon. It doesn’t get much better that that.
So….we have a deck. As of last weekend, that deck has an L-shaped couch perfect for cozying up with a book; an actual dining table with room for 6 or 8, the better to share the sun and fun with loved ones; and three big planters, in which I’ll just planted thyme, dill, basil, cilantro, parsley, mint, and carrots. We spent this weekend outside, on the deck and in the park. We’ve started looking at grills, and while I haven’t quite made up my mind in the ages-old charcoal-vs.-gas debate, I’ve got my eye on an inexpensive smoker to accompany whichever grill we do end up buying. We’re so close to homemade bbq, I can taste it.
For now, we’re eating outside but cooking in. Sunday morning, a quick trip to the market turned up beautiful mixed stir-fry greens. By 10 am, it was already 75 and sunny out. I cooked up a pile of greens as a bed for fried eggs, and we ate them atop fresh, toasted slices of struan bread. Perfect sunday brunch, it was just the thing to break in our deck. But I know we’ll be having them again soon, as a light dinner or a weekend lunch. You should, too.
Fried Eggs and Greens
Serves 1-2, but easily doubled
This recipe is dead simple, so quality ingredients make all the difference. I used Keswick Creamery feta, which is creamy and tangy. If your feta is more subdued, you might squeeze a small slice of lemon over the eggs before serving.
2 pieces sausage or bacon, diced (I used Morningstar Farms bacon, but I think sausage would be amazing here)
5 oz. greens – spinach, chard, and blends all work
1 tablespoon olive oil (probably less if using real bacon)
2 fresh eggs, preferably organic
About 1 ounce feta
Salt and pepper
Pinch smoked paprika
Wedge of lemon, optional
Two thick slices of your favorite bread
Set a medium sautÃ© pan over medium heat. If using fake bacon, pour half the olive oil in the pan. Fry bacon until it begins to crisp (and, if it’s real, renders its fat). Add the other half olive oil if using, and then add the greens. Toss to coat all of them with the fat, then cook an additional minute or two, until they begin to wilt. Season with salt and pepper to taste. (You need to taste as you season; bacon is salty, and you don’t want to over-salt the greens.)
Spread the greens so they form two little beds, and crack each of the eggs into its own little bed. Cover the pan (tin foil or a big, heavy pan both work if your pan doesn’t have a cover, which mine doesn’t), and cook another 2-3 minutes, checking every minute or so, until the whites are just set and the yolk is still quivering. Err on the side of checking frequently and cooking quickly; you really don’t want to overcook the eggs. That said, the greens do serve as a barrier, preventing the bottom of the yolk from getting too stiff.
While the eggs cook, toast the bread and get out one or two plates for serving.
When eggs a done cooking, turn off the heat. Sprinkle feta over eggs, and perhaps just the tiniest bit of maldon salt (not a lot! Feta is salty.) Finish with the smoked paprika and freshly cracked pepper, as well as a squeeze of lemon, if you’d like.
Serve bread slices, topped with greens, then the sunny-side up eggs. And maybe hot coffee. Sigh.