Thursday, April 8, 2004
Eggs Goldenrod—an Easter Tradition in Our House
By ROGER M. GRACE
Each year, for all too few years, a 78 rpm phonograph record of Jimmy Durante singing “Yankee Doodle Bunny” blared as my daughter scampered through the house hunting for Easter eggs.
There will be no search in our house this coming Sunday—unless, of course, Steve Cooley sends his troops there. At least there will be no tyke in pajamas with teddy bears depicted on them doing the rummaging.
There will just be my wife, Jo-Ann, and me (and the dogs). Our daughter, Lisa, is simply a spoil sport. Just because she’s now grown up and married, she’s not coming over to search for eggs.
We will, nonetheless, be boiling eggs this weekend. We won’t be dunking them in egg dye and I—er, I mean, Peter Rabbit—won’t be hiding them. But the end use of the boiled eggs will be the same as before: a few will be treats for the dogs, and the rest will form the main ingredient of eggs goldenrod, for the humans.
Eggs goldenrod is a dish that has long been out of vogue. My wife learned how to make it from her parents. It’s the whites of hard boiled eggs, cut or torn into bite-sized pieces, creamed, ladled on toast (or toasted English muffin), and topped with the yokes of the boiled eggs that have been crumbled with a fork. It’s served with sausage and/or bacon.
Our culinary tradition does defy cholesterol warnings, and as such is a gastronomic indulgence, not suited to regular consumption.
We began our custom simply because it seemed to be a good way of using the boiled eggs that had served as the booty in the hunt.
There is one advantage to not coloring the eggs anymore. The boiled eggs would crack when we applied crayon scribblings and decals to them, and food coloring would seep in. We would never have a plate of eggs goldenrod without streaks of purple and green and red on the whites.
The only coloring now is the turmeric I add to make the cream sauce slightly yellow.
Some recipes for eggs goldenrod call for adding paprika to the sauce. We add garlic powder. My wife is Italian, and we add garlic to just about everything.
Other recipes for eggs goldenrod prescribe use of cheddar cheese or dry mustard in the sauce.
“The American Everyday Cookbook,” published in 1955, has a rather unappetizing variation. It instructs: “add catsup” to the white sauce, and mix it in.
A 1941 booklet, “300 Ways to Serve Eggs,” suggests: “One-third cup drained peas, carrots or spinach may be added to sauce.”
Fannie Farmer’s 1918 “Boston Cooking School Cook Book” includes a recipe for eggs “à la Goldenrod.” It calls for the whites being “finely chopped,” representing a rash departure from Jo-Ann’s family recipe.
The book also says: “If using Curry Sauce, add 1/2 cup cooked rice to sauce.”
From a cookbook published in 1912, when presentation meant as much as how the dish tasted, comes this recipe for “Beauregard Eggs”:
“Prepare a cup of white, or cream sauce, and stir into this the whites of four ‘hard-boiled eggs,’ chopped fine. Toast and arrange in a serving dish bits of bread, cut to liken the petals of a daisy, having the petals about three inches in length. Spread the sauce on the buttered toast and press the yolks, seasoned with salt and pepper, in the centre to form the centre of the daisy. Garnish with salt and pepper between the petals.”
The next recipe in that book, “Practical Cooking and Serving,” is one for “Egg Vermicelli,” which instructs:
“Spread rounds of moistened, or buttered toast with the preceding white mixture and sift the yokes over the top. Mix chopped chicken, ham, or mushrooms into the sauce, if convenient.”
The book does, also, offer the basic recipe for “Golden Rod Toast.”
In preparing the dish, I do stray somewhat from the recipe imparted to Jo-Ann by her parents, which includes the preparation of roux. On Sunday, I’ll start out by sautéing bits of portobello mushrooms in butter, then adding half-and-half or cream, dumping in a package of Knorr’s powdered white sauce (available at Von’s almost exclusively), sprinkling in garlic powder and turmeric, stirring the contents frequently as it comes to a gentle boil, turning the heat down once the sauce has thickened, adding the egg whites, and, when it’s bubbling and appears hot, letting it cook some more. Creamed dishes, if served at once upon bubbling, are apt to be only lukewarm.
Right before turning off the heat is the time to pour in some sherry, and stir.
It goes well with a mimosa (orange juice and champagne).
Copyright 2004, Metropolitan News Company
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