Friday, April 24, 2009

Scrambled Eggs with Herbs

Not just any eggs... these come from my own free-range hens who are currently sleeping in the greenhouse but who will be moving just as soon as the chicken house is finished.
And not just any herbs... these herbs are field-grown in France, flash frozen within hours of harvest and are available here in the States from Darégal, a company with roots going back more than 100 years in the Darbonne family of Milly La Forêt.

Those who know me might wonder what I'm doing promoting frozen herbs in a container when I'm such a proponent of growing one's own or at least buying them fresh from local farmers markets. It's true, what I just said: growing herbs is easy, healthy, and very satisfying, especially when you can chop them, fresh-picked from your garden or windowsill, and sprinkle them on your scrambled eggs, or in your pasta sauce. But I also know that not everyone has the wherewithall to grow their own herbs. And not everyone is near a farmers market. And not everyone can afford to buy a $5 bunch of fresh herbs only to put a tablespoon of them in a recipe and then watch the rest slowly become so forlorn as to be quite inedible. I know I can't.

I've just had a most delightful conversation with Charles Darbonne, great-great-grandson of Armand Darbonne who started the herb business in 1886. Charles is the U.S. representative for Darégal, and after talking with him for quite some time, I decided to write about this convenient line of fresh frozen herbs for the home kitchen.

Darégal offers finely-chopped single-note herbs like parsley, dill, basil, oregano and cilantro, all to be kept in your freezer between uses, but it is the blends that speak to me. The Italian Blend has a mix of finely chopped red onion, flat-leaf parsley, basil, garlic, oregano and thyme. I used a heaping teaspoon for six eggs in this scramble. The Original Blend is made up of basil, onion, oregano, garlic, rosemary and thyme and is delicious in stews and braises.

Seems to me if you're in a hurry or don't have fresh herbs on hand, chopping such a small amount of herbs, to say nothing of peeling and mincing a tiny bit of red onion, to say nothing of going to the market and purchasing the bunches it would take to make up that heaping teaspoon, makes the convenience-in-a-container worth it right there.

Don't get me wrong. I'm still a very strong advocate for growing your own herbs and think everyone should give it a try. But the fresh taste and convenience of Darégal Gourmet Herbs is worthy of your freezer pantry when you need fresh herbs in a hurry.

Scrambled Eggs with Herbs
Christine's original recipe
1 teaspoon butter
6 fresh large to X-large eggs
2-4 tablespoons water
pinch kosher salt or sea salt
1 heaping teaspoon Darégal Gourmet Herbs Italian Blend
Heat a heavy skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the butter and turn the heat to medium-low.
Crack the eggs into a large bowl and gently beat with a fork until the yolks and whites are just blended.
Add water and salt and beat gently to mix thoroughly.
Add the herbs, allow to sit for a minute to soften then beat gently to incorporate.
Pour the egg mixture into the skillet and allow it to cook, undisturbed, for 1 minute.
Using a wooden spoon, begin pushing the egg mixture from the sides of the pan into the middle, allowing the uncooked egg to flow into the space provided. Do this slowly and gently. Allow the eggs to cook for 15 seconds between pushing them toward the middle.
Continue to push the cooked eggs toward the center of the pan until they are all softly cooked with a glossy sheen. Be careful, once that sheen is gone, you've overcooked your eggs.
Remove the pan from the heat and allow to set for an additional 10 seconds.
Spoon immediately onto warm plates, garnish with freshly cracked black peppercorns and serve with your favorite toasted bread and a few strawberries.

Cook's Notes:

You will be able to read about my hens, and the rooster, whose name is Butthead most of the time, and the chicken house on my garden blog soon. I'll leave a link here when it's up.

Happy chickens make wonderful eggs with hard shells and deep orange yolks.

Copyright © 2005-2009, Christine Cooks. All rights reserved


Paz said...

I'd like some of those eggs now. Please. Thanks for the heads up on the frozen herbs. They sound and look terrific. Something worthwhile having around.


Christine said...

Hello dear Paz. You know, someday we're going to have to get you out here to to visit. I know you would have a great time and I would feed you very well! :))

Paz said...

I would LOVE that!

Paz *very big grin*

Anonymous said...

There's something about free range eggs!!!

Christine said...

I enthusiastically agree, Anne. When I lived in Davis, then Winters, I always had chickens in the back yard. After moving here, our first flock was decimated by racoons and I waited 10 years until we had a secure enough coop to try another flock.

Jann said...

The herbs look very interesting. I am always looking for tasty ingredients, so I will be checking this company out. Mail order? I LOVE your chickens!!! How wonderful to have these little guys right out your door AND fresh eggs!!My good friend in France always has her eggs just sitting out for days( when we are cooking)......whoa....then I realized that she knew exactly where the eggs came from and how fresh they were. She never buys more than she will use and gets them fresh... always. In the states, we don't really know the journey of the egg~how lucky you are.

Christine said...

Thanks, Jann. I think you're lucky to be able to visit your friend in France - eggs notwithstanding! ;)