Friday, March 12, 2010

Tuscan Kale with Farm-Fresh Eggs

I went to Frank Music Company in midtown yesterday to pick up some chamber music parts, and it was a successful trip as I found everything I needed. I came away with scores and parts for a Shostakovich quartet as well as the Schumann Piano Quintet. I also walked out the very same door with a dozen farm-fresh eggs. No joke.

I always love going into Frank Music Company. Located on the 10th floor in an old pre-war office building on West 54th Street, this was one of the first New York addresses I ever knew since I used to order most of my sheet music from Frank’s during my college years in Boston. Their stock of available music is comprehensive, so I’m always confident I’ll find exactly what I’m looking for and so much more. And yesterday, that happened to include some of the best-tasting eggs I’ve experienced in a long time.

Heidi Rogers, the delightful proprietor of Frank Music, has a farm upstate where she keeps 70 chickens who produce fabulous eggs. She sells them at the music shop for $8 a dozen, keeping them in a little refrigerator in the back of the store. I opened my dozen to find eggs with dove-grey and pale ecru colored shells mingling with the more typical brown-shelled specimens, and I immediately transferred a few to a bowl for a little photo session while I decided what to make for dinner.

I wanted to make something simple that would take advantage of my having these oh-so-very-fresh eggs with their marigold-colored yolks. Sautéed greens topped with an egg and served with a hunk of toasted crusty bread is year-round comfort food for me, and this definitely suited my mood last night. I love Tuscan kale, a variety which is also referred to as dinosaur kale, lacinato kale, and cavolo nero, or black cabbage. No matter what name they go by, I find that these tender flat leaves don’t need much more than a simple sautéing with garlic and olive oil with a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes to keep them lively.

If you’re in midtown and are in need of fresh organic eggs with deeply golden yolks, it’s worth the trip to Frank Music. You may also make some significant additions to your music library while you’re at it, which is never a bad thing.

250 West 54th Street (between Broadway and 8th Avenue)
New York, NY 10019
(212) 582-1999

Tuscan kale, also known as dinosaur kale or lacinato kale, cooks a little more quickly than regular curly kale, making it ideal for an easy yet filling supper when you’re short on time. You can top this with poached eggs if you prefer, but here’s a fast no-fuss version for olive oil fried eggs. When cooked over low heat in a covered pan according to this method, the whites will go from being transparent to a beautiful opaque creamy white without getting overly browned and crispy on the bottom.

1 medium bunch Tuscan kale, washed and tough ribs removed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large garlic clove, minced
a pinch or two of crushed red pepper flakes
1/3 to ½ cup chicken broth (you can also use vegetable broth)

2 large eggs
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper

Coarsely chop the kale into bite-sized pieces. Heat the 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and hot chili flakes and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Add the chopped kale and broth and cook, stirring constantly, for about 8 minutes until the greens have darkened slightly and are tender and the broth has mostly evaporated. Divide the kale mixture between two wide shallow bowls.

While the kale is cooking, heat a 9-inch non-stick skillet over medium-low heat for several minutes. When the pan is hot, add the tablespoon of olive oil, swirling to coat. Crack each egg onto a separate saucer, taking care to keep the yolk intact and removing any bits of shell. Carefully slide each egg into the hot skillet, season with a sprinkling of salt and pepper, and cover the skillet to cook. The yolks will be softly set after about 3 to 3-½ minutes of cooking time, so cook them a minute longer if you like firmly set yolks or a little bit less if you like your yolks runny.

When the eggs are cooked to your liking, use a flat spatula to transfer from the skillet, placing one egg on top of each bowl of kale. Makes 2 hearty servings.

No comments: