We picked up our new point-of-lay hens last weekend, four little brown feathery bundles of joy who seem to be settling in well to their new home in their fox-proof run in the garden.
In answer to the age-old question, in this case the chicken definitely came before the egg because it'll be three or four weeks before they start laying. But I'm already planning ahead to all the omelettes, frittatas, tortillas, souffles, pancakes and cakes I'll be able to make when they do. Here's a recipe on account, as it were.
Goats' Cheese Frittata (serves 2-4)
A frittata (stop me if I'm teaching you how to suck eggs) is the Italian version of the tortilla, or Spanish omelette. Unlike a light, fluffy French omelette, it's designed to cook as a single thick cake which you cut into wedges. It makes a very good supper or lunch and an easily portable picnic dish.
15g grated Parmesan
1 fat clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
3-4 spring onions
1 heaped tbsp chopped parsley
About half a small goat's cheese log, cut into 70mm (1/4") rounds
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Finely chop the white part of the spring onions. Very finely slice the green part into thin rings and keep separate.
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a skillet and gently fry the white part of the onions until soft but barely tinged with gold. Add the chopped garlic and fry for a minute more. Set aside to cool.
Break the eggs into a bowl and whisk until blended. Add the grated parmesan, sliced spring onions tops, the chopped parsley and the cooled, cooked spring onions and garlic. Stir well to mix and season to taste.
Heat your grill to high as you'll need it later in the process.
In an omelette pan or small, deep-sided frying pan, heat a tablespoon of olive oil over a medium heat on the stove.
Pour in the egg mixture and cook for a minute or two. Reduce the heat to very low and continue to cook without stirring until the mixture sets. Take your time. If you cook the frittata too fast you'll end up with a leathery bottom, which is a fate I would wish on no-one. So low and slow, please.
When the mixture is nearly set but still a bit soft and runny on top, arrange the discs of goat's cheese over the surface, pressing them down lightly.
Put the pan under the grill (not the handle, obviously) and cook until the top of the omelette has set and the goat's cheese is hot and turning a bit melty.
Slide the frittata onto a plate and let it rest for about 10 minutes. I think it's best eaten warm but if you do put it in the fridge, bring it back to room temperature before serving.
It's good with a green salad dressed with a lemony vinaigrette. Now I just need the hens to start laying.