Wintery Local Breakfast: Salsa-poached Eggs on a Bed of Greens

One concern I’ve had about the paleo diet is how hard it is to get local produce in the winter, and produce makes up at least 50% of what I am eating everyday. This morning, I relied on my teammate The Farmboy’s,  foresight this fall to make us a delicious breakfast that was 100% local. Beginning with the fat we cooked with: Lard, lovingly rendered from a friend’s humanely raised and organically fed pigs this fall. Then eggs from a local farm, salsa we canned in the height of tomato season with produce from the farm The Farmboy works on, and kale that was harvested, blanched, then frozen in the late fall. Best of all, it only took a few minutes to prepare, and if you didn’t preserve your own salsa, lard, and kale this fall, you can easily substitue fresh! Here’s how:

Salsa Poached Eggs on a Bed of Greens, serves 2, less than 15 min. cook time

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp. lard (or ghee, coconut oil, or bacon fat)

2 c. blanched, frozen kale or 1 bunch fresh kale, sliced

4 eggs (look for eggs with bright, deep orange yolks and thick shells)

1 c. salsa (homemade or store bought)

  1. Over medium heat, melt 1/2 the lard (or other fat) in a medium cast iron skillet (or whatever pan you usually use). Add the kale (could substitute any dark, leafy green), and cook until thoroughly heated through (for frozen) or tender (for fresh), 4-7 minutes. Add a teaspoon or two of water to the skillet of the kale seems to be drying out, the stem will help it cook quickly. Put the cooked greens into bowls.
  2. In the same skillet, melt the rest of the oil and then heat the salsa to simmering, adjusting the heat to keep it hot but not boiling.
  3. Crack the eggs into the simmering salsa, and cover with a lid. Wait patiently for 3-6 minutes until the whites are set to your liking, then spoon out two eggs and half the salsa onto each waiting bed of greens. Eat up!

We noticed the eggs cooked this way gave a silky texture that made the whole meal seem rich, like we had melted cheese into it or something. Delicious!

Why Sustainable Paleo?

I’m new to eating a paleo diet. However, I am not new to eating healthful, whole foods in season and as local as possible! My teammate in life is an aspiring farmer, and his efforts have brought us to live on five different homesteads/farms over the past several years. We preserve the harvest, too: canning, freezing, lacto-fermenting, and drying. I grew up as a child of Minneapolis’ local foods and cooperative grocery movement. I even got in trouble my first day of 1st grade for “terrorizing” the other students- apparently I told them that the bananas they were eating with blue oval stickers  were poison (my mom’s reason for never buying bananas with stickers at the regular market).  For ten years, I have called my relationship to local, fresh foods my “health insurance policy”.

All this healthy eating still left me feeling blah, struggling with eating more sugar and refined foods than I wanted (though far less than average americans). So I looked to some friends who were trying a paleo diet, and discovering they had more energy! less body aches! they felt great! and then read “It Starts With Food” by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig. I decided to try the Whole30, their version of a 30-day elimination diet that targets reducing inflammation. I’m only a little over half-way through my first Whole30, and it has some ups and downs, but I can see this may be a more permanent shift in how I eat.

Which brings me to my dilemma: How do I eat this much meat, eggs, and fish in a sustainable way? How do I eat the volume of veggies it will take to fill a paleo plate through the winter without buying produce from California (or New Zealand, or Chile, or wherever)? Can I do it? And most of all: Is it possible eat this way and stay sane? I guess we’ll find out together, here.