Food: Happy, happy Easter to one and all!

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Happy Easter everyone! I hope that you are all having a wonderful holiday weekend. It’s a terrific time to enjoy our family and friends, particularly over a table of delicious food that lets you settle back and share stories, delight in colored eggs and Easter baskets, and just take in a bunch of smiling faces.

At the Vallejo farmer’s market there is a vendor that sells all kinds of eggs: quail, salted duck, chicken and duck balut, and just regular ol’ chicken eggs in brown, white, large and jumbo. I love the egg guy. He always has great recipe recommendations and tells good jokes.

In honor of Easter weekend it’s all eggs all the time around here—and will be for the rest of the week because I went crazy buying eggs. No, we’re not going hunting for eggs we’re cooking them.

Here’s what I picked up at the farmer’s market:

Chicken jumbo brown eggs
jumbo brown eggs

Salted duck eggs
salted eggs
This beautiful bright magenta comes from the brining process, which I’ll talk about later this week when I post about what these are are and how to use them.

Quails eggs
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I almost got some duck balut eggs (egg with embryo), but I was already overloaded and my hands were killing me so I’ll save that varietal for another time. Embryos? That you can see? Eh? Ew? Some of you are wiping your brow in relief that I skipped the balut. I understand, but keep an open mind. You might be surprised.

For now, the first recipe on deck is for Easter Brunch—an Amaranth, Onion and Cheese Frittata. (I heart frittatas, especially for weekends and big brunches. They’re perfect warm, cold or at room temperature and keep well overnight, so you can easily make them ahead of time. Plus, it’s easy to make. If you can scramble eggs, you can make a frittata.)

Amaranth? What’s amaranth? I asked the same thing of the vegetable dude at the farmer’s market. I saw this lovely bunch of purple spotted greens and was compelled to inquire after it; I’d never seen it before.

amanranth

The dude told me it cooks and tastes like sweet spinach. I love sautéed spinach, so I thought I would give this pretty amaranth a try. Here’s what wikipedia said (considering the source, take with a grain of salt):

Amaranthus, collectively known as amaranth or pigweed, is a cosmopolitan genus of herbs. Approximately 60 species are presently recognized, with inflorescences and foliage ranging from purple and red to gold. Members of this genus share many characteristics and uses with members of the closely related genus Celosia.

Although several species are often considered weeds, people around the world value amaranths as leaf vegetables, cereals, and ornamentals.

The word comes from the Greek amarantos (Αμάρανθος or Αμάραντος) the “one that does not wither,” or the never-fading (flower).

Amaranthe, Onion and Cheese Fritatta
Serves 6-8

12 large eggs
¼ cup heavy cream
pinch sea salt
pinch black pepper
2 tbsp butter
1 large bunch amaranth, chopped
1 red onion, sliced
½ cup flowering cilantro, chopped
Aged Parmesan or pecorino cheese (or both), fresh grated

optional:
¼ cup crumbled or softened goat cheese
1 tbsp garlic parmesan spread (leftover hummus also works)

1. In a medium bowl mix eggs, heavy cream, salt, pepper and optional goat cheese and garlic Parmesan spread or hummus. Beat mixture until thoroughly mixed and set aside.

2. In a large frying pan (a cast iron skillet is ideal) melt butter over medium heat, add onions and cook until onions soften (about 7-10 minutes) and begin to turn translucent. Add amaranth and cook until greens are completely wilted. (Amaranth cooks and tastes like sweet spinach. When sauteing it will reduce in volume by more than half.)

3. Turn on the broiler.

4. Pour egg mixture over cooked vegetables and as eggs begin to cook pull them from the edge of the pan towards the middle with a spatula as if making scrambled eggs. Let eggs cook halfway through and remove from heat. Fold in cilantro. Add a couple cranks of fresh black pepper on top.

5. Grate Parmesan or pecorino, or both, on top of the eggs and place under the broiler until the eggs and cheese puffs up and edges begin to brown (about 8 minutes).

Serve with big thick slices of juicy ham, salad greens (I’m using arugula) and fresh made extra-large biscuits, which I make from a  tube because I’m lazy and everyone seems to love them anyway. (My teenage nephew makes frittata sandwiches layering the ham and frittata between a biscuit slathered in mayonaise. He’ll eat them all day long, hot or cold.)

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