|Eggs with Garlicky Kale and Spaghetti|
Fresh eggs are one of the great gastronomical delights, so much so, that I am even trying to talk Mr. B into buying me a little chicken coop to set up in the back corner of the yard. Mr. B never seems very excited about the idea of lodging chickens right next to the pool. He says it will conflict with the landscape, but I say, we live in a rural area, so why not? Plus, the juxtaposition of a chicken coop in such close proximity to the pool could give us a certain edge, in a hipster cool backyard farmer sort of way.
Of course, Mr. B never goes along with my logic, but there are times when he really does think a chicken coop would be a good idea. Sometimes that happens after a marathon of watching Doomsday Preppers, but mostly it’s when our neighbors, who live two doors down, bring us a couple dozen eggs from their chickens.
I’ve no clue what kind of chickens they’re raising or what they feed them. Actually, I’ve never even seen their chickens, but I can see the roof of the chicken coop from my bedroom window and in the winter, I’ve watched as a fox climbed atop the coop and tried to pry the chickens out with its muzzle. What I do know about their chickens is that they lay the best eggs. In the world. The yolks are so orange they shine and the taste, well, there really isn’t a better egg to be found.
I like to cook these eggs many different ways, but my favorite by far is to soft boil them and serve them over thick spaghetti with garlicky kale, bacon, dry toasted walnuts, a sprinkling of toasted bread crumbs and parmesan cheese. When I make this for Mr. B, in between bites, he’ll talk excitedly about the sort of coop he’d design and the breeds of chickens that we would raise. He even tells me how cool it would be to, you know, have a chicken coop so close to the pool.
4 garlic toes, finely minced
Red pepper flakes
1 bunch of green onions (white and green) thinly sliced
1 bunch of kale, stemmed
8 oz. Thick Spaghetti (1/2 a box)
4 Fresh Eggs (I use two per person)
1 lemon wedge
Toasted walnut pieces
Toasted Panko bread crumbs
Finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (good cheese makes a big difference)
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
2. In a large saute pan, fry the bacon until crispy. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels; pour off all the bacon fat, but DO NOT wipe out the pan.
3. Over low heat, heat the saute pan with bacon fat until the fat is hot. Toss in a good pinch of red pepper flakes and allow to ‘fry’ until pepper flakes release their oils. Lower heat.
4. Toss in garlic and green onion and saute lightly until very fragrant.
5. Place kale over the garlic and onions and do not stir until kale begins to wilt slightly. This should take about 5 minutes. Then, stir and incorporate garlic and onion with kale. Continue to stir and braise over low heat until kale is fully wilted and tender. Add a squeeze of lemon and then season to taste with sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Keep warm over low heat.
6. Boil pasta until al dente. Do not rinse. Instead, lift pasta from water into strainer, shake dry and then dump pasta into saute pan on top of the braised kale. Drizzle with olive oil and stir to combine with kale.
7. Wash and dry eggs. Gently put eggs into pasta water and boil gently for five minutes.
8. Remove eggs from water and set on a dish towel. Working quickly, lightly crack and peel each egg.
9. Toss pasta. Put one heaping helping of pasta into each serving bowl (this recipe makes three servings, but if there are only two people, save the final portion of pasta without eggs for good eats the next day at lunch).
10. Top pasta with an even distribution of kale and seasoning from pan. Sprinkle pasta with a generous spoon of toasted chopped walnuts, toasted bread crumbs, and finely grated cheese.
11. Using a teaspoon, carefully remove eggs from remaining shells and put on top of pasta, breaking each egg open with the spoon. Top with crumbled bacon and freshly ground pepper; serve immediately.