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Egg dishes for spring

From left: The yolks of quail, chicken, duck and goose eggs.
From left: The yolks of quail, chicken, duck and goose eggs.

With Easter just a short time away, it's natural to start thinking about hard boiling some Easter eggs. After that it's just a short hop away to start thinking about other things to do with eggs. Fortunately Maryland's hens have been hard at work these days, serving up all the eggs you could ever want. And as Chef Jerry Pellegrino reminds us, the number of things you can do with a few eggs seems endless. For instance...

I scoured a website called Taste of Home and found a number of unique and appealing ideas.

Italian Cloud Eggs

Here's a great way to use your egg whites and yolks together. Separate four large eggs, setting aside the yolks carefully. Whip the whites in a clean bowl until stiff white peaks form. While your oven preheats to 450°, drop four spoonfuls of the whipped egg whites onto a well greased skillet. Make little mounds, and then use a spoon to make a little well in the center of each. Bake for 5 minutes, and then

gently pour one yolk per little nest. Bake for another 5 minutes, then garnish with grated cheese and oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes.

Bacon and Egg Lasagna

Imagine making a dish with lasagna noodles layered with crumbled bacon, grated Swiss cheese, scrambled eggs, chopped up hardboiled eggs and an oniony béchamel sauce. Start off by frying your bacon in a skillet. Once it's done, set the bacon aside to drain, discard most of the bacon grease, but keep about 1/3. Toss some diced onions into the bacon grease, cook until tender, then toss in some flour.

Season and then stir it over low heat, and gradually add some milk. This blond roux will make a lovely sauce. After that, just whip up some scrambled eggs (3 or 4 ought to do), 12 hardboiled eggs, sliced up, and some grated Swiss cheese. Cook 8 lasagna noodles. Lay them in a smallish deep baking dish on top of some of the sauce. Pile on the eggs, bacon, cheese and a little more sauce, and repeat. When it's all layered up garnish with Parmesan cheese and some finely chopped parsley. Bake in a 350°

oven for 35-40 minutes.

Shepherd's Breakfast

One of my favorite breakfasts is fried eggs, bacon and hash browns. So what would happen if you kind of mushed them all up? You'd have a Shepherd's Breakfast. I have got to try this one. First, let's cook up some chopped bacon and onions in a cast iron skillet. Lose most of the bacon grease, but fry some has browns in the remainder. And If you aren't accomplished at making hash browns, and there are some vital tricks, you can get them frozen. Mix the potatoes in with the bacon

and onion, start cooking, and once the bottom is set, flip the whole thing over and cook some more. Now all you need to do is make some more of those little wells in the surface of the hash browns and crack 8 or 9 eggs into them. Cook it covered until the eggs set, then sprinkle some grated cheddar cheese over it all. Cover it

again and when the cheese is melted, serve it up. And don't forget a lot of fresh coffee and orange juice

Al Spoler, well known to WYPR listeners as the wine-loving co-host of "Cellar Notes" has had a long-standing parallel interest in cooking as well. Al has said, the moment he started getting serious about Sunday night dinners was the same moment he started getting serious about wine. Over the years, he has benefited greatly from being a member of the Cork and Fork Society of Baltimore, a gentlemen's dining club that serves black tie meals cooked by the members themselves who are some of Baltimore's most accomplished amateur cooks.
Executive Chef Jerry Pellegrino of Corks restaurant is fascinated by food and wine, and the way they work in harmony on the palate. His understanding of the two goes all the way to the molecular level, drawing on his advanced education in molecular biology. His cuisine is simple and surprising, pairing unexpected ingredients together to work with Corks' extensive wine offerings.