"Eating Local" is a phrase that's come to define the way a whole new generation of Farmers, Chefs, Foodies, Moms, and Average Joes are eating.
The funny thing is there was a time when "Eating Local" was the norm, before the days of big agribusiness. But it would seem that America is starting to see the error of her ways and going back to what once worked before: purchasing milk from dairy farms within a 100 mile radius, starting a victory garden, or, at the very least, soliciting the local farmers' markets and taking the time to get to know the farmer who grows your favorite Brandywine Tomatoes. "Eating Local" is being celebrated in the food community in a way that I've never seen with any other food trend, and maybe that's because at heart it really isn't a trend but a way of life.
Premier Kitchen Retailer Sur La Table and James Beard Award winning author Janet Fletcher have teamed up to write "Eating Local: The Cookbook Inspired by America's Farmers". This book is truly a love letter to the eating local movement. It is packed with delicious seasonal recipes, stunning photography, and stories about today's farmers -- people who are working hard to bring you the very best in local ingredients. In addition there are tips for the "Urban Homesteader", those who grow tomatoes on fire escapes instead of in backyards and front lawns. It also has a guide for storing all that fresh produce that you invariably buy too much off at the farmers' markets when in season.
The recipe I chose to feature today is one that shows you just how satisfying a simple meal can be when you're using the freshest ingredients possible. Grilled Romaine with a Six-Minute Farm Egg (see recipe below) is the kind of meal I would prepare for myself after a long day at the office or an even longer day at the computer when I don't feel like spending lots of time in the kitchen. Initially I would have never thought of grilling romaine, the first thing that comes to mind is soggy lettuce, but romaine is one salad green that can stand up to the heat while still retaining its texture and flavor. I have a real weakness for farm fresh eggs, (so much that I'm trying to convince my husband to let me get a few backyard chickens) and they prove themselves to be the perfect accompaniment for this deconstructed Caesar salad minus the anchovies. This dish would also be great for impromptu guests, trust me they will be pleasantly surprised -- romaine has never looked so good or tasted so delicious.
Grilled Romaine with a Six-Minute Farm Egg
From Eating Local: The Cookbook Inspired by America's Farmers by Sur La Table and Janet Fletcher, Andrews McMeel Publishing 2010.
Why six minutes? Because that timing produces a picture-perfect boiled egg, with a firm white and a creamy, brilliant yellow yolk. If you have never grilled romaine hearts, a delightful surprise awaits. Thanks to their natural sugar, they color up beautifully on the grill. Cook them until they hover on the brink between tender and crisp. Shower with Parmigiano Reggiano and accompany with lemon wedges and your impeccable eggs. Serve as a first course or side dish for a grilled T-bone steak.
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 4 hearts of romaine, each 5 to 6 ounces, halved lengthwise with the core attached
- Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Chunk of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, for grating
- 4 lemon wedges
Prepare a moderate charcoal fire or preheat a gas grill to medium (375ºF)
Put the eggs in a saucepan with water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil over high heat, then immediately cover and set aside for 6 minutes exactly. Drain and quickly run under cold running water until cool, then peel and set aside.
Put the olive oil on a tray or platter. Turn the romaine hearts in the oil to coat them all over. Season with salt.
Place the romaine hearts directly over the coals or gas flame. Cook, turning as needed, until they are lightly browned on both sides, crisp in spots, and tender yet still a touch crunchy, 5 to 7 minutes.
Transfer the romaine hearts to a serving platter or individual plates. Grind some pepper over the romaine, then grate Parmigiano Reggiano over them, using as much as you like. Cut the eggs in half and place them alongside the romaine. Sprinkle a little salt on the eggs. Accompany with the lemon wedges. Serve immediately.
Disclosure: Review copies of books discussed in this post may have been provided to Project Foodie by publicists and/or publishers.