Imagine a food that contains vitamins D, B12 and B2, iodine, phosphorus, protein and packed with the antioxidant selenium that prevents free radical damage.
On top of this, it’s full of lutein and zeaxanthin to keep you young looking and eyes healthy, and packed with essential Omega 3 fatty acids that are great for your joints.
You’d be rushing out the door to pick some up.
The fact is the humble, yet versatile free range egg contains all of these and more.
When you go into a supermarket and buy a packet of perfectly packed, scrubbed to an inch of their lives and uniformly sized eggs from a battery hen, the nutritional value will be nondescript.
Unequivocally hens that feed outside, and experience the light of day, will produce infinitely better eggs than those that are crammed together with no quality of life.
Pullet eggs are something you’ll never see in a supermarket.
These are the first laying of a young hen. The yolks are bigger in relation to their size and are also creamier, making them a favourite with professional cooks.
They’re sometimes known as “farmer’s eggs”. When a Pullet starts to learn how to lay her eggs, they will be smaller due to her bone structure.
As the season progresses her bone structure begins to shift and the egg size gradually increases.
Supermarkets have conditioned consumers into looking for large or medium eggs and pullet eggs often end up on the scrap heap as food waste.
This is the most wanton of food crimes.
As a child a soft boiled Pullet egg was a treasured treat in our house.
The limited season makes them even more special.
It’s sad that a generation is missing out on this rich and nutritious commodity, just because they don’t fit into the major conglomerate regulation criteria.
Andy Gilbert of Springmount Farm Eggs in Ballygowan sells these beauties at Newtownards Saturday Market and he’ll also be at the monthly Comber Market, in the square in the town, on Thursday, 5th October.
He also has plans for an honesty box at the farm where you can pick up these local gems and other varieties of his eggs all year round.
Get them when you can – they’ll be gone in a few weeks. Andy sells to local restaurants and it’s vital that they’re on menus when they’re available.
Jamie Oliver once said: “Pullets are the best quality eggs you can buy!”
While they’re delicious boiled and dipped with a soldier, the eggs are fabulous for frying.
Gently cook in a little oil and place on top of a dry cured bacon chop – the full yolk sparkling like sunshine.
The versatile dish Turkish eggs is all the rage now.
Fry some red chilli in butter and then add chopped parsley and dill. Mix some Clandeboye yoghurt with crushed garlic.
Poach pullet eggs until soft. Spoon the yoghurt into the bowls, top with two eggs per person, add some more yoghurt and finally scatter on the chilli, dill butter.
Warm some pitta breads for dipping – an exotic way of serving these local delights.
Scotch eggs are always a winner but Pullets take them to a new level.
My version contains sausage meat mixed with black pudding and coated in soda farl crumbs – a snack or breakfast of champions.
For my other recipe I’ve given the Pullets the decadent accompaniments they deserve in a smoked salmon hash.
Local potatoes, Broighter gold rapeseed oil, scallions, good fish and topped off with a Pullet fried in Abernethy smoked butter –a little extravagance now and then does no harm.