Boiled eggs in my salad

September 1, 2014


You know, I thought I had mentioned where I buy eggs in my post on loving eggs but I realised, when deciding which producer I wanted to talk about for My Mindful Kitchen this month, I hadn’t noted any farms in particular. And as my brother recently spoke with me of his intention to buy good eggs but his frustration at not knowing where to start, I thought I’d drop some names.

We’re spoilt on the Mornington Peninsula with access to free-range eggs from chickens who are truly able to roam free, forage for slugs and peck their greens. This is how chickens should live, they should wander on pasture and play and dust bathe with their beaks and such intact. If you raise chickens they can eat your scraps and contribute to a sustainable land cycle. And in return you get an incredibly nutritious gift (how special fresh eggs are) and a few loyal friends. If you don’t have your own chickens, or space to perhaps ponder getting your own, you can find people who are producing happy “green” pastured eggs and share in the goodness. Seek out some farms, visit your farmers market and ask questions, talk to friends, hunt around…you can use this guide to do a little research and find a producer you want to support. Generally speaking, you need to get out of the supermarket and find eggs at a market, local butcher or specialty shop. Don’t trust any old “free-range” label, as they may not be truly free-range, having only periodic access to outdoors yet still suffering in overcrowded, inhumane conditions. It may take more effort, but finding a good egg producer is something we all should and can do. Factory farming is horrific and we should not be supporting it.

Where I get my eggs
Ideally I’ll be gifted a carton full of eggs from my parents’ chooks’ (with a few duck eggs from mum’s friend thrown in, which invariably get churned into super creamy ice-dream), but I also buy them from the shops. Nirvana Free-Range Eggs are from a farm out Langwarrin way, and you’ll find their gorgeous, popular eggs at various producers around the Mornington Peninsula (Somers General StoreMerricks General Store and Bulk Wholefoods to name a few). Dee’s Kitchen use Nirvana eggs in their brunch dishes, which only further encourages me to loiter at Dee’s on the weekends. If I’m at the Mt Eliza Farmers Market early enough I can buy Hens of Hallora eggs, but usually it’s Nirvana.


So perhaps you’ve stocked up on some super fresh, green, pastured eggs (yay) and are curious as to where to store them? I keep fresh eggs in the cupboard or on my counter, as I use them pretty quickly and we live in a cooler climate region. However if I have a surplus I’ll keep them in the fridge. Fresh eggs last a while, but to check whether they’re still good I’ll do the float test – submerge an egg in water and if it floats, well, don’t eat it.

Let’s boil and salad
I love adding boiled eggs to my salad as a filling protein source and a meat alternative. Another mindful kitchen intention of mine is to cut down my meat consumption, and while eggs are an animal source of protein, green eggs have less of an environmental impact than beef. On this day I combined my boiled eggs with cooked barley (a terribly nutritious grain) and some pesto (a terribly nutritious sauce). In my practice as a dietitian I see many people who are confused about grains, notably wheat. While every body is different, I believe the key to healthy grain consumption is variety. And while barley is not something I eat regularly purely for a taste preference, Ben loves it so I throw it into the mix every now and then. Plus, I appreciate its fibre content. Many people inquire as to how I boil my eggs, as they often look perfect. To that I say, “thanks!”… I do take my egg boiling quite seriously. And indeed they are often perfect *dusts my shoulders off*. Sometimes me eggs are stubborn and basically the entire white comes off with the shell, but usually, yeah, they are pretty great. It’s taken time to get there, some trial and error, and I describe my favoured method in the recipe below. So that’s it! Happy egg eating, friends. I’d love it if you share in the comments below where you buy your eggs, if you have a particular producer you love. You might help out fellow readers who live near you!

Boiled Egg and Barley Salad with Pesto
Serves 2

4 free-range, green, pastured eggs
1 & 1/2 cups cooked Barley (I used pearl barley, but get hulled if you can and follow this link for cooking instructions. I also cook my grains in stock, as it provides an extra kick of flavour)
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 small clove Garlic, crushed
2 handfuls Kale (I used Cavolo Nero)
2 tablespoons Pinenuts, toasted
1 juicy Lemon
1-2 tablespoons Pesto (I used my homemade classic basil pesto)
Sea Salt and freshly cracked Black Pepper

Optional: a few small chopped radishes or some diced red onion, for crunch

1. to get the perfect boiled eggs: place room-temperature eggs in a saucepan and cover them with cold water (allowing enough room for them to float). Bring them to the boil. As soon as they are boiling turn the heat off, cover with the saucepan lid and leave them for 8 minutes (2 minutes shorter for runnier yolk, 2 minutes longer for harder yolk). Drain the eggs and run them under cold water, then allow them to sit in cold water until completely chilled before peeling (I leave mine for ~15 minutes).
2. While the eggs are cooling, heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds, then the kale and a small pinch of salt. Cook for a few minutes until soft, turing the heat down if required so the garlic doesn’t burn.
3. Add the cooked barley to the bowls and top with the cooked, garlicy kale, then squeeze lemon juice over the top to taste. Toss to combine. Add the chopped radish or onion if using, followed by the boiled eggs cut in half. Drizzle the pesto over the top and scatter the toasted pinenuts. Season to taste with sea salt, freshly cracked black pepper and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil if desired.

Heidi xo


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  • Trish September 1, 2014 at 10:15 am

    Love a good dust bathe myself every now and then. I get my eggs from any market that’s going, and I actively seek out the ugly looking shells. Nothing wrong with the eggs themselves but the farmers say that consumers don’t want imperfections. Like hell they don’t! bring it on, I say.
    Love your work as always.
    T x

    • Heidi September 2, 2014 at 4:48 pm

      Hahaha thanks, Trish. & damn, yes, you’re so spot on. We want the imperfections, the lumps & bumps & REAL FOOD! There is such a demand for this. We need to ask! Demand! x

  • Hannah September 1, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    Ooooh great timing Heidi!! Right this minute I have barley simmering on the stove and was actually pondering whether to add a boiled egg or not. I’ve never boiled an egg in that way, I’ll give it a go! You can totally taste the difference with fresh, free range organic eggs – I’m lucky to have so many great eggs at the markets, it’s always fun buying eggs from different producers each week that all slightly differ xx

    • Heidi September 2, 2014 at 4:49 pm

      You & your market goings – the best! Thanks, love x

  • InTolerant Chef September 1, 2014 at 7:35 pm

    I adore eggs, and often boil up a whole heap at once so I can grab them for snacks. Perfect little protein packages 🙂

    • Heidi September 2, 2014 at 4:49 pm

      Aren’t they just? x

  • laurasmess September 2, 2014 at 2:35 am

    Beautiful as always Heidi! I also like to buy my eggs responsibly based around the welfare of the birds but it can be a very baffling industry (with all the ‘buzz words’ that are thrown around!). Your tips are wonderful for those who need some direction on where to start! And that salad… ah! So much goodness. Yay for pesto, kale and barley… such a good combination xx

    • Heidi September 2, 2014 at 4:49 pm

      I just love pesto so much…thanks, lovely x

  • Lynn @ The Actor’s Diet September 2, 2014 at 9:04 am

    YUMMY! To tell you the truth, I always wanted a little more green in my egg salad.

    • Heidi September 2, 2014 at 4:49 pm

      Yeah, why does mayo always take centre stage? 😉 x

  • Amanda September 3, 2014 at 3:10 am

    Lovely post! Always love your salad+egg photos.

    I used to boil my eggs exactly the same, but would run into the same issues with the white sticking to the shell. So now I use the Serious Eats method ( of boiling the water first, then dropping the eggs in, and I have to tell you, it gives me a clean peel EVERY TIME. No joke. Just bring a pot of water to a boil, drop in the eggs, simmer for 10 minutes, then cool in cold water. (Yolks end up coming out cooked just to about the same doneness as in your photos.) It’s amazing! Highly recommend.

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