We arrived at our cabin on a sunny but nippy day at the end of April. Twelve-foot-high snow banks still lined our driveway, four feet of hard snow covered the walk to our front door, and a three-foot deep block of ice made our deck inaccessible. We still had lots of snow removal ahead of us.
The next morning, we clamped on our snowshoes, skimmed across a snow-covered meadow and tramped down a steep ravine to a partially frozen lake, exhilarated by the sparkling white landscape and fresh mountain air. After breakfast, we drove downhill far enough to find dry land, hiked up a stony cliff that was decorated with the first wild flowers of the season, and picnicked alongside a rushing stream. Back at the cabin, it was just warm enough to start eating in our window and screen enclosed dining porch for the first time since last fall. We watched a busy pair of vibrant blue Steller’s jays search for food, listened to the grating call of the busy Clark’s nutcracker birds, and noticed the catkins on our aspen trees foretelling the leaves to come. Spring in the high Sierra.
At dusk a few days later, the community celebrated Rowan’s sixth birthday with s’mores and banjo music by a bonfire, everyone hopeful that the hard winter was behind us. The snow was softening quickly now, and Tony lamented this would be the last sledding adventure with his team of huskies this year. Apple Hill Ranch, in nearby Bishop, announced on Facebook they’d soon have cherries to sell, and Fran stopped by to deliver local eggs from her neighbor’s hens, who were laying again.
The fresh eggs were such a treat, I was eager to make one of my favorite lunches—Turkish Eggs. My version of a dish you’ll find all over the internet is comprised of poached eggs sitting atop Greek yogurt that I flavor with mint and shallot. Eggs on yogurt may not read like a tempting meal, but just wait for the sauce—melted butter infused with earthy Aleppo pepper, smoked paprika and ground cumin. This sauce transforms the eggs and yogurt into something so good, you’ll want to mop up every bit with toast or tortillas. The sauce can also turn many simply cooked items into memorable meals. It’s great over almost anything, but especially sauteed salmon, steamed baby Dutch potatoes, and roasted cauliflower. I always make extra, and am grateful that another cabin meal will be so easy to put together. We’ll have plenty of time to snowshoe or hike for hours, and then eat well afterwards
Poached Eggs with Mint Yogurt and Aleppo Butter
- ¼ cup (1/2 stick) butter
- 1 tablespoon Aleppo pepper flakes
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 cup Greek yogurt, any percentage fat
- 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
- ½ shallot, minced, or 2 tablespoon minced red onion
- 2 teaspoons chopped red chile or serrano or jalapeño chile
- ¼ teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1-2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- Pinch of coarse kosher salt
- 2 to 4 large eggs
- Toast or toasted corn tortillas
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook until bubbles begin to burst. Add the Aleppo pepper, paprika and cumin and stir until the butter is wonderfully fragrant and reddish. Remove from the heat and let the spices infuse.
- In a small bowl, combine the yogurt and oil. Place the mint, shallot and fresh chile on your cutting board and sprinkle with salt. Mince everything together (this technique helps bring out the flavors). Add to the yogurt. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide the yogurt between 2 plates. Use the back of a spoon to spread out the mixture and create ridges to catch the butter and eggs.
- Fill a large saucepan with 2 to 3 inches of water and bring to a boil. Add the vinegar and a big pinch of salt. Adjust the heat so the water simmers. Working with one egg at a time, break into a cup and gently slip into the water, holding the cup close to or even just under the surface of the water. Quickly repeat with the remaining eggs. Cook until the whites are firm and yolks cooked as you like, about 3 minutes.
- Using a slotted spoon, remove the eggs one at a time from the water and touch the bottom of the spoon to a clean kitchen towel to remove water, then gently place the eggs onto the yogurt. Spoon the butter over and around the eggs. Sprinkle the eggs with salt and serve with toast or corn tortillas.