Friday, April 15, 2011

Eggs and Greens

Nettles are one of the first signs of spring on menus in Portland, and I'm fond of scouting out the ways in which different chefs use them. Today, I think that the Best Use of Nettles Award should go to Beaker and Flask for the nettle and mushroom galette: seasoned greens and sauteed mushrooms folded into a buttery, crisp and flaky crust, topped with a gooey fried egg and microgreens.

To me, both eggs and greens epitomize this culinary season, when the rain keeps falling and the sky stays grey, only creating a perfect backdrop for the vibrancy of sprouting leaves. On the plate at this time of year that color is just as alive, especially accompanied by eggs that naturally represent rebirth and the yearned for yellow sun.

The contrast between crisp greens with a bit of lemon or vinaigrette and the richness of egg yolk is one of my favorite combinations. Asparagus topped with a fried egg and parmigiano reggiano, and sauteed spinach added to a great eggs benedict are some of the best things I have tasted. In the photo above, at lunch at Clyde Common, they do it twice: a salad of broccoli rabe with lemon, pistachio, egg vinaigrette and a poached egg, and then whole grain flatbread spread with goat cheese and those wild greens tossed in a slightly sweet but tart vinaigrette.

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