My friend Kate can tell you who grows the best watermellon radishes, when and where to get lovage, and which stalls to check out at the farmers markets in New York City any day of the week. If I want to plan a special dinner two months from now, Kate can tell me what will be in season. If I want to make a batch of Tequila Por Me Amante (I'll give you that recipe soon), she'll show up at my door with a flat of the first local strawberries. Even with all that esoteric knowledge, she's a down-to-earth cook.
I'd only dreamed of Kate doing my grocery shopping, but now she does. If you live in New York, her new company, Quinciple, will deliver a weekly box of reasonably priced farm-fresh food. I've been having a lot of fun with what Kate brings me, and now I'm contributing some recipes for the neat little set of cards that comes in each box. A version of Tatsio and Eggs with Crispy Shallots was in this weeks Quinciple box. You can find the ingredients any time of year in Chinatown if not at the farmers market.
Tatsoi and Eggs with Crispy Spring Shallots
- 2 limes
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce, best you can find
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 5-6 spring shallots (or scallions), cleaned and dried
- 3 Tablespoons good canola or peanut oil
- pinch kosher salt
- ¾ pound (1 bunch) tatsoi*, stems trimmed and separated, cleaned and dried
- 1 cup loose-packed cilantro leaves, cleaned and dried
- 2 eggs
- freshly ground black pepper
- serve with rice or rice vermicelli
*baby bok choy works just as well
1. This dish works best cooked in a wok. Any wok will do, as long as it’s not non-stick. The keys to a good stir-fry are a very hot pan and very dry vegetables (so they don’t steam and get mushy). Once all the ingredients are prepped, the cooking goes quickly.
2. Set your wok over low heat while you prepare your ingredients. Make the sauce. Zest one of the limes into a small bowl. Juice both the limes into the bowl (you should have about 2 Tablespoons juice). Stir in the fish sauce and sugar. Set aside.
3. Trim off and discard the roots of the shallots. Cut the dark green tops off, leaving about 2 inches of white and pale green stalk. Chop the dark green tops into thin rings; set aside. Slice the pale base of the stalks lengthwise on a slight diagonal, to make one-inch strips. Set aside.
4. Make sure all your ingredients are ready to cook. Turn the wok to medium-high. Set out a serving plate for the finished dish. Set out a bowl with a sieve or tea strainer over it.
5. When the wok is visibly hot and you can feel the heat radiating if you hold you hand over it, add the oil. Let the oil heat for just 30 seconds before adding the pale part of the shallots. Stir the shallots in the sizzling oil, keeping it just below the smoking point, until they are golden brown (they will continue to cook to dark brown as you remove them from the pan). Pour shallots and oil into the sieve. Reserve the oil in the bowl. Sprinkle the shallots with kosher salt.
6. Return 1 Tablespoon of the oil to the hot wok. Keeping it over a high flame, add the tatsoi. Toss it around the wok for a minute or two, until it’s uniformly bright green and barely becoming tender. Transfer it to the serving plate.
7. Add the remaining oil to the pan, and let it heat for 30 seconds. Crack the two eggs into the pan. Break the yolks. Fry undisturbed until the edges are crispy and golden. Flip, and break into bite-sized pieces. Quickly add back the tatsoi along with the sauce and sliced scallion-tops; toss everything together. Transfer to the serving plate, add the cilantro leaves and crispy shallots, and season with freshly ground black pepper. Serve warm, with rice or rice vermicelli.