The A-list Egg

May is a greedy month for those who love  British asparagus and gulls eggs. Both have similar seasons, yet one is much rarer and somewhat more expensive. At a whopping £4.00 an egg (Rex, Chelsea Green) you certainly don’t want to break one.  I am embarrassed to say that 10 years ago I may have just passed one off as a slightly odd-shaped and strange tasting hens egg. Yet now I relish them, their slight gamey taste, with ultra rich orange yolk, lighter white, speckled sage green and slate shell; they are a real treat, work of art and complete luxury. They are also not your average seagull egg – these are the eggs of black headed gulls, and they taste magnificent – this egg is an A-lister!

Needless to say there is quite a following behind such eggs. My fish monger maintains he sells about 200 eggs a day and on a friday and saturday up to 400! Though I wince each year at the ever-increasing price, I still can’t resist buying them. They go hand in hand with  fresh asparagus and are divine simply dipped in celery salt. Last night we had them as a starter along side home potted shrimps and blanched asparagus. The eggs are perfect picnic fare (think luxury version of the hard boiled hens egg), and also work well in a salad such as the one below – though I used quail eggs on this occasion!

Char-grilled asparagus, baby leek and quail egg salad (or Gulls eggs if you are feeling generous)

Serves 2

1 Bunch of asparagus steamed for 2 minutes

About 8 baby leeks – steamed for 2 minutes – or use normal leeks sliced on the diagonal 1cm wide

6 quail eggs or 2 gulls eggs

Tarragon dressing: 1 tablespoon of freshly chopped tarragon, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon of Dijon mustard, 1/2 teaspoon of honey

1. Place a char grill on the hob and heat till almost smoking – cut the asparagus in half lengthways and char grill briefly, do the same with the leeks and then toss together in a bowl with 1 tablespoon of good olive oil, a pinch of Maldon salt and grind of black pepper.

2. To make the dressing: whisk the mustard with the honey and slowly add in the olive oil, followed by the vinegar and tarragon (add  a drop of water to loosen it if necessary).

3. Put a pan of water onto boil – and if using the quail eggs boil for 2-3 minutes depending if you want them soft or hard – Gulls eggs boil for 4 minutes. Plunge into cold water and peel.

4. Place the asparagus and leeks on each plate, drizzle over the dressing and crack the eggs on top.

About lardersaga

Joanna Preston is mother of the 'little people', 1 pink and 1 blue, and wife to saintly Mr.Patience! After a decade dedicated to cooking for others (Alps, Africa and founding 'Sugar & Spice') my attention is now solely in the home kitchen. We are a food obsessed family that adore growing, sourcing and cooking delectable feasts for friends and family!
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