One of the most memorable dishes I had in Spain was also one of the simplest—two eggs, over easy, alongside a mound of piperade and a few thin slices of wonderful Spanish ham. I thought about it for months afterwards. It wasn’t just the fact that I was eating it in Spain, it was the eggs. They were rich, creamy and flavorful and their bright orange yolks stood up soldier tall.
When I first visited Marin Sun Farms a couple of years ago, I bought a dozen eggs, cooked two over-easy and as soon as I tasted them, I was yanked right back to that moment in Spain. Throughout this summer I’ve been overjoyed to find Marin Sun Farm Eggs at Bi-Rite Market and Three-Wise Hens Eggs at Rainbow Grocery. I even began to count on them.
Last week my world fell apart. Not only have we entered the time of year when chickens traditionally produce fewer eggs due to shorter days (that’s ok, please don’t force them), we’ve also entered a new era, the era after Michael Pollan’s book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, which a lot of people read and in which he makes a great case for pastured eggs, chicken, beef and other livestock a la Polyface Farm. Now it’s not just the early adopting foodies who are buying these $6 a dozen eggs (they’re so worth it) but the whole Bay Area.
So in honor of the chicken’s rest cycle, Michael Pollan, for educating people and all those farmers out there, here’s a recipe for a sort of piperade-ratatouille hybrid I threw together the other night for dinner and enjoyed with some of the last pastured eggs. You can still buy them at the farmers’ market, but supplies are limited. Until spring, when the chickens return to their workaday roosts, I recommend our local Clover Organic Eggs.
Piperade-Ratatouille and Eggs for Dinner
2 summer squash, yellow or green
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, chopped fine
1 small yellow onion, sliced
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
Fresh thyme to taste (optional)
1 teaspoon ground Spanish piquillo pepper or Spanish paprika
One-half cup Stovetop Roasted Peppers
Salt and pepper to taste
Wash the summer squash thoroughly and cut into quarters lengthwise. Cut the pieces into bite size chunks. Salt them generously with kosher salt and set aside in a colander to drain for 20 minutes. Pat dry with paper towels.
Warm the olive oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and sauté, stirring often, until translucent. Add squash and cook until it begins to soften and brown. Add the tomatoes, thyme (if using) piquillo or paprika and let simmer until everything is cooked down thick and stewy (about 20 minutes). Off heat add the roasted peppers and salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature with over-easy or poached eggs and buttered toast. This dish tastes best after it’s cooled a bit.