As far as specialty eggs go, the khaki-colored pheasant variety is vastly underrated: It has a high yolk-to-white ratio and a rich flavor, but compared with a chicken egg, a lower level of cholesterol. Plus, when gently poached, it fits perfectly atop a slice of toasted baguette, as you’ll discover in this excellent springy salad from Centovini and I Trulli chef Patti Jackson.
Patti Jackson’s Miner’s-Lettuce Salad With Roasted Asparagus, Rhubarb, Pancetta, and Poached Pheasant Egg
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 tablespoons extra- virgin olive oil, plus a little more for asparagus
1 teaspoon chives, finely diced
2 bunches miner’s lettuce (available at Windfall and Gorzynski farm stands at Union Square Greenmarket)
1 stalk rhubarb, trimmed and cut in very fine dice
1/2 cup rice-wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 bunch small asparagus
4 very thin slices pancetta
4 thin slices white country baguette
4 pheasant eggs (available at Quattro’s farm stand at Union Square Greenmarket)
1 teaspoon white vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400. Blend together lemon juice, olive oil, and chives; set aside. Pick through miner’s lettuce, removing excess stems. Place rhubarb in a small container. In a small pan, scald rice-wine vinegar with sugar, and pour over rhubarb; set aside to cool. Trim asparagus to 3-inch spears; reserve stems for another use. Toss asparagus with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper, and place on a baking dish. Lay out pancetta slices on another baking dish. Put asparagus in a 400-degree oven for 3 to 4 minutes until just cooked. Bake pancetta in the same oven until crispy, 8 to 9 minutes; drain on paper towels. Brush bread slices with olive oil, and toast. Bring 2 quarts of water with a pinch of salt and 1 teaspoon white vinegar to a simmer. (1) Poach the eggs for 2 to 3 minutes. (2) Remove eggs with slotted spoon, and (3) place on toast slices. Toss asparagus, drained rhubarb, and miner’s lettuce with lemon- chive-and-olive- oil dressing. Season with salt and pepper. Place salad on 4 plates and top each with a pancetta slice and an egg on toast. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Serves 4.