This month we honor and celebrate the archangels. Ever present and with us, Sts. Michael, Gabriel and Raphael plant and sow fruits that may be felt in an increase of courage, perseverance and fortitude, among other graces. Our Archdiocese of Seattle is under their patronage, and they love us so!
Angels have long been depicted and experienced as creatures in human form, portrayed in beautiful splendor with long flowing hair and celestial robes, often armed with shield and sword — or as babies in the altogether.
One of my favorite versions of an angel (possibly) is in the BBC series Father Brown, based loosely on the detective stories by G.K. Chesterton. It was Christmas break and my sister scrolled to an episode we had not seen before. To our delight, it was set at Christmas. In the episode, a character named Michael, a gruff crusty drifter, is caught sleeping in the church. He offers his labor in exchange for space on the church floor (upgraded to a room in the rectory), proves helpful and ultimately is a catalyst to a complicated and good deed. A character of few words, Michael’s manner is amusingly frank and at times ungracious, but not unkind. By the end of the episode the viewer is led to surmise he may indeed be an angel of God, perhaps even St. Michael.
Angels are among us, and I do not mean the holy humans in our lives. If you, like many, can cite an experience of being safeguarded from certain danger, or feeling a quiet calm and courage in the midst of great stress — miraculously, subtly and unexpectedly — this may have been the work of angels. They guard and protect us, and share our sorrows and joys. They want nothing from us, but they work to sow every good in us. They are our dearest friends whether we acknowledge them or not. May God and our Holy Mother fortify and bless the angels. May we thank our angels this and every day. Sts. Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, pray for us!
In honor of the feast of the archangels, or Michaelmas, I offer a preparation of angel eggs. This original interpretation with fried basil, capers and basil aioli combines elements of beginnings and endings — farm fresh eggs and caper buds, and sweet licorice-y basil harvested late into the summer. Happy eating!
Angel eggs with basil aioli, capers and fried basil
1 dozen farm fresh large, extra-large or jumbo eggs, hard boiled and peeled
1/2 cup good mayonnaise, divided
1/4 cup fresh heavy cream
kosher or flake sea salt
fresh cracked or ground black pepper
fresh lemon juice from half a juicy large lemon
1 cup packed basil leaves, half in 1/4-inch chiffonade, other half finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup rinsed and drained small caper berries, roughly chopped
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
Divide mayonnaise into two equal parts. To one part add 1 teaspoon lemon juice and the chopped basil to make aioli. Stir to combine.
Halve eggs lengthwise and remove yolks to medium prep bowl. Reserve egg whites on serving plate, cut side up. using the back of a dinner fork, finely mash yolks and season generously with pinch of salt, pepper, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, plain mayonnaise and half of the heavy cream. Mix well to combine, adding more cream if mixture is too thick. Taste to adjust seasoning. Spoon mixture into egg whites, using entire mixture. Dollop basil aioli atop each filled egg. Cover eggs with plastic wrap and keep in fridge.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in sauté pan over medium to medium-high heat, add chiffonade basil and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly until beginning to crisp (be careful as basil will splatter in oil at the start). Add chopped capers and sauté 2 minutes more. Remove from heat.
To serve, top angel eggs with basil and capers, sprinkle with fresh parsley, and drizzle some of the oil over eggs.
Serve as first course to a feast of the archangels supper of roast chicken; wild honey roast carrots, parsnips and sweet potato; and blackberry crisp with cardamom, brown sugar, rolled oats and walnuts. Serve as part of a feast of the archangels brunch of angel eggs, toasted waffles with fresh pear and walnut compote, and butchers sausages. Place angel egg on piece of toast and gently smash. Voilà! Angel egg sando.
Northwest Catholic - September 2018