Travel Bite: Berkshires’ Mezze Bistro + Farm Egg on Peas, Favas, and Scapes

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In the last few days, I’ve shared some of my favorite makers and a killer coffeehouse in western Massachusetts’ the Berkshires. Now I’d like to tell you about a lovely spot for a one-of-a-kind dinner, as well as a recipe for you to try at home.

It’s no secret that I love to share food. You see, I love tasting as many things on a menu as possible. I love it so much that when my husband offered to split an entrée on our first date (so we could try an appetizer and dessert), I knew he was the man for me. So when I discovered Mezze Bistro & Bar in Williamstown, with its creative selection of small plates and regular-sized entrees—not to mention Mezze is an Arabic word describing a tradition of sharing small dishes—I was in heaven.

The bistro-style restaurant was founded by Nancy Thomas (an old friend of Maggie’s) in 1996, who served small plates inspired by her Moroccan and Greek descent. Though the restaurant has moved locations since then (between us, the original location was a favorite haunt of our darling Maggie’s), it has maintained Thomas’ vision of using wholesome, fresh, sustainable, and local ingredients to create inventive flavors.

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Today Chef Nick Moulton shares this vision, producing a seasonal, contemporary, American menu that highlights the very best of the region. He is daring with bold flavors, yet nothing is overpowering or gratuitous. The seriously addictive sirracha-fried chickpeas, for instance, are simply made by frying chickpeas before tossing them in salt and sirracha. The small plates are the perfect vehicle to experience Moulton’s culinary creativity, while the entrees provide a more substantial glimpse into the chef’s talent for pairing ingredients.

Trust me, this is one meal you will love to share, even if you really want it all to yourself.

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Farm Egg, Peas, Fava Beans, Scapes and Zucchini

Created by Chef Nicholas Moulton

Editor’s note: Though these veggies are no longer in season, we adore Chef Moulton’s ingenious combination of butter-broth with a soft-boiled egg, and think you could try it with a variety of different veggies. Mushrooms, shaved brussel sprouts, thinly-sliced fennel, shredded kale, perhaps? What will you try?

Serves: 4

Prep Time: 20 Minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 large eggs, preferably farm
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup garlic scapes, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup fresh English peas
  • 1/2 cup fava beans
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh tarragon, chopped
  • 8 raw zucchini ribbons (create by using a vegetable peeler to create long, thinly-slized ribbons)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Maldon salt, or any coarse sea salt
  • 1 cup pea tendrils

Directions:

  1. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil and have a timer ready. Set the timer for 4 minutes 15 seconds. Once the water reaches a rolling boil, carefully lower the eggs into the water and begin the timer. Don’t over crowd the pan; no more than 4 eggs at a time. When the timer expires, use a slotted spoon to remove the eggs and add them to a pan of cold, but not ice water. (If the eggs get too cold, they are more difficult to peel.) The water should be just above room temperature after the eggs are added. Carefully peel each egg in the water and reserve the peeled, soft boiled eggs.
  2. In a small saucepan, bring 1/2 cup of salted water to a boil, add the butter and reduce until the broth coats the back of a spoon. Add the vegetables (garlic scapes, peas and fava beans) and immediately remove from heat. (Do not cook the vegetables any more; the idea is to just warm them through.) The vegetables will be delicate. Carefully, remove the vegetables from the water and reserve the broth. Season the warm vegetables with salt, lemon juice and at the last second, the tarragon.
  3. Divide the vegetables into 4 bowls and pour the broth over the vegetables in even amounts.
  4. In a separate bowl, dress the zucchini ribbons with olive oil, lemon juice and salt and arrange them around the vegetables. Place one egg over each portion of the vegetables and add a pinch of Maldon salt on top of the egg.
  5. Arrange the pea tendrils on top and anything else that feels appropriate. Chive blossoms or whole tarragon leaves work well. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil and serve immediately.
All photos courtesy of  Nathaniel Johnston, Jason Houston, Nick Moulton, and Gregory Nesbit. My visit to the Berkshires was, in part, provided by Berkshire Farm & Table.

Eat Boutique is an award-winning shop and story-driven recipe site created by Maggie Battista–shop girl, writer, author, and creative business coach. After hosting pop-up markets for 25,000+ guests, Maggie is working to open her first permanent Eat Boutique–a food-retail concept space with a new way to the very best food–as well as coaching women in food to reach life and business goals. Her second cookbook, A New Way to Food: 100 Recipes to Encourage a Healthy Relationship with Food, Nourish Your Beautiful Body, and Celebrate Real Wellness for Life, will be published by Roost Books on February 5, 2019. 

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