I mentioned in my post about Miller Union restaurant in Atlanta that I'd had the Farm Egg Baked in Celery Cream appetizer (as seen on TV!). It was such a wonderful combination of deliciousness and simplicity that I just had to try it for myself. Luckily, the actual Miller Union recipe by Chef Steven Satterfield is right there on teh intertoobz™!
So I decided that for Father's Day, rather than being waited on,father wanted a chance to cook brunch himself.
On the Saturday before we went on a lovely drive through the Connecticut countryside looking for fresh, local ingredients. We found fresh jumbo eggs and a small yellow onion at a roadside farm stand. The Fish Family Farm Dairy Store was out of heavy cream (though we did bring home some delicious ice cream), but we can actually get local cream at the "local megamart" through the Farmer's Cow group of Connecticut dairy farms. I had fresh thyme from my own garden, and from a coworker's I had garlic scapes (the same ones I used in my chipotle bacon sweet potato salad), which I substituted for the shallot in my single deviation from Chef Satterfield's recipe. The only major ingredients not locally sourced were the celery (even the farm stands had only California celery) and the Schar gluten-free rolls I used to make my wife's portion of bread.
Sunday morning bright and early I hit the kitchen. Following the recipe, I put the celery, onion, scapes, thyme and other seasonings in a pot with the cream, gently heating it all until I saw the first hints of steam, then removing from the heat to steep for 15 minutes. At this point, it was all I could do not to simply drink the warm cream: I was astounded at the delicious fragrance that filled the kitchen as that cream steeped.
While it did, I got to work on the fresh grapefruit salad that would turn this dinner appetizer into a Sunday brunch. I cut supremes from a ruby-red grapefruit (a technique I've seen a lot on cooking shows, but had never previously tried), tossed them in a lime tarragon mint vinaigrette based very loosely on this recipe and using fresh mint and tarragon from my deck, and arrayed them in cocktail glasses over mixed salad greens from the garden.
When the cream was ready, I strained it and set it aside. I buttered two shallow baking dishes and broke an egg in each, then spooned in just enough of the infused cream to cover the whites, and popped the dishes into a 350°F oven for about 6 minutes. While I waited, I cut slices of bread — from the gluten-free rolls for my wife and from a fresh French loaf for me — brushed them with olive oil, and toasted them in a hot grill pan.
I mixed the residual juice from the grapefruit with some orange juice, grenadine, and club soda to make a Virgin Sunrise, and our brunch was complete:
Not a bad visual imitation of the original, eh? And, as it turns out, not a bad flavor imitation, either. In deference to my wife's preferences, I deliberately made the egg a tiny bit firmer than they serve it at Miller Union, but it was still rich, creamy, and delicious. The bread was perfect, and the salad and drink rounded this simple but luscious app up to a real meal.
I urge anyone who can to get to Miller Union and try the real thing... but if you can't, I urge you to "try this at home."