Easter: a joyful time of spring and greens and chocolate; asparagus, artichauts and strawberries. This is a time when counting one's blessings of family and friends, I always remember that one chocolate egg is never an oeuf.
Saturday Morning Market Rituals: French EGGS
I bought a dozen farm eggs at the market today from a vieux garcon wearing a well-worn beret in the Gascon style, pinched in the middle over his nose like an awning. He had a hand-woven willow basket full of thin-shelled fresh eggs in every possible shade of pale brown; freckled or smooth, large, medium and small, pointed, round and with bits of straw still sticking to the shells. Carefully, he placed them in a plastic sack; we exchanged two Euros and 12 eggs.
Back on board the Julia Hoyt, I made a golden omelette with the three shattered eggs that didn't survive the swinging, singing walk with DuPont back to the barge. The yolks are as dark as marigolds and fragrant as saffron; the cake I bake will be sunflower yellow; the stuffing for the poule au pot will be butter-colored and taste of cheese; the creme anglaise to sauce a dark chocolate cake will be rich and honey-colored; the sabayon to pour over the first field strawberries-- tinted gold with these ripe hen's fruit. Oh, French eggs! There is no contest on what comes first, the chicken or… the Oeuf.
This egg-rich sabayon et fraises is for my dear friend
Heidi Cusick Dickerson
Soixante Bisous pour ton Anniversaire H!
For one pound of Strawberries
3 farm fresh egg yolks
3 Tablespoons white sugar
1/4 Cup sweet wine ( I use a Cote de Gascogne made with Gros Manseng grapes but any late harvest or Sauternes-like wine works)
1/3 Cup heavy cream
Wash and trim the greens off the strawberries.
Cut in half and place carefully in a gratin pan or attractive shallow baking dish.
Prepare the Sabayon by:
Whisk the egg yolks, sugar and wine until frothy in a heavy bottomed saucepan.
Place over a medium-low heat and continue to whisk as the mixture heats.
Keep an eye on the flame and be careful not to walk away as the eggs will start to thicken and curdle if left too long over too high a heat. (This can be done in a bain marie or over another pan of water but I am too impatient!)
When the egg mixture just starts to thicken enough to coat a spoon, remove from the heat and pour into a cool bowl.
Let cool briefly while you whisk the cream into thick peaks.
Then fold all but 2 tablespoons of the whipped cream into the egg mixture.
Pour the still warm Sabayon around the strawberries leaving just the tops exposed.
Dab the remaining cream over the surface followed by a sprinkle of raw sugar.
Place under a broiler and watch- it takes just seconds for the sabayon to brown.
Remove when golden and serve warm. Serve with a glass of chilled sweet wine.