Spring has sprung. You know how I know? Because asparagus has popped up at the local farmer's market. I'm starting to see rhubarb in the stands again. The parsley and chives I'm growing on my windowsill have started sprouting enthusiastically.
I judge the weather not on the skies outside, but on the produce that I can get my hands on. And I am eagerly counting down until June when the farmer's market right across the street from me returns and I can get my fill of summer peaches and plums, local seasonal honey, and plump, ripe berries. In the late spring and summer months I can completely understand how some people go on raw food diets.
But for now, it is still a bit chilly some days and rainy on others, and so it's not quite time yet to throw open the windows and let the sun in.
It is during these times of the year when I feel like light comfort food is the best. It's no longer the weather for soups and stews, but it's not quite time yet for spring salads. Instead, I say springtime is the time for coddled eggs.
Coddled eggs are lightly cooked eggs with relatively firm whites and runny yolks; they're much like a soft boiled eggs without the issue of the shell. When you have fresh farm eggs this dish is exceptionally lovely because it allows the flavor of the eggs to really melt in your mouth, but even with standard grocery store eggs I love making this.
Now you can coddle your eggs in one of those teacup/ramekins made specifically for this purpose or you can poach your eggs in simmering water, but I like simplicity and I make meals for one, which means I don't find it worth it to pull out a pot and wait for water to heat up when I just want to cook one egg. So yes, I use a microwave.
I always feel a little bit guilty when I admit it, but I enjoy eating microwaved eggs. I know, this sounds awful. The idea of "microwaved eggs" isn't often associated with good food in people's mind. But if you do it right, microwaved eggs can be quick, easy, and delicious. Because I'm not talking about the scrambled, puffed up, styrofoam-looking eggs that you can get when you just haphazardly toss an egg in a bowl and cook the bejesus out of it with radiation. I'm talking about coddled eggs, gently cooked in milk, flavored with a little bit of garlic, chives, and black pepper, and sprinkled with a bit of black truffle salt.
The methodology is simple: pour about one-third of a cup of milk into a small bowl or ramekin. Add a dash of garlic powder. Microwave it for about 45 seconds, until you see it start to bubbling. Be careful because milk will froth over if you heat it for too long. Carefully crack an egg into the hot milk (do this at a low level so the egg doesn't splash in). Microwave for 10 seconds. Stir the milk around the egg gently. Microwave for another 10 seconds. Stir gently. Microwave for another 10 seconds. Stir gently. After about 30-40 seconds of total cook time, your egg whites should start to solidify. Your cook time will vary based on how powerful your microwave is and how runny you like your yolks. I generally go with a cook time of about 35 seconds. Add some freshly ground black pepper, minced chives, and black truffle salt. Let this sit for one minute. Trust me; it makes a difference. Then, enjoy.
This is great with some lightly buttered toast, or on it's own.It is so simple and easy, and it is the perfect comfort food for spring.
Note: because of the possibility of undercooking, I wouldn't recommend this dish to children, pregnant women, or individuals who are otherwise immunocompromised. Or you could just make sure to use really fresh eggs. Talk to a farmer at your local farmer's market!