One of nature’s greatest inventions has to be the egg. Chickens (and chicken farmers) have it down to a science. A hen will lay eggs that won’t produce chicks, until Ms. Hen meets Mr. Rooster.
Eggs can show up on our plates from morning to night, and just because we like them fried, poached or scrambled, that’s no reason they have to be on the side at breakfast, playing second fiddle to bacon or sausage.
Let eggs shine as the center of the meal. Why? Eggs are good for you, easy to cook, and an inexpensive source of protein.
If you figure two eggs make a serving, you get 12 grams of protein in 140 calories. That’s about 25 percent of the recommended daily allowance of protein.
The fat is in the yolk – 10 grams in two eggs. Leave out the yolks and you leave out the fat. There are no carbohydrates. The downside to eggs, if you have high cholesterol, is the amount of cholesterol – 120 percent of the RDA in two eggs. But, leave out the yolks and you don’t have the cholesterol.
We know about breakfast. Let’s look at eggs as the center of the plate for lunch or dinner.
An omelet can be flat or puffy or you can do the Italian version, called a frittata. It’s chocked full of good-for-you vegetables, (they can be leftovers) and can be served hot or cold.
Get out an oven-safe frying pan — cast iron works well. Add a little butter and let it melt. Cover the bottom with loosely overlapping thin slices of potato. Let those cook on low heat, covered, a few minutes to soften.
If you have only fresh vegetables, cut them small for quick cooking: onions, zucchini, carrots, torn spinach, blanched peas, fennel, yellow squash, broccoli, butternut squash, etc.
Cooked vegetables can be left larger. Cooked meat is optional.
Figure on two eggs per person. Or, here’s the slimming trick: use one whole egg and two whites to reduce fat, calories and cholesterol. Don’t worry about wasting the yolks. They can go to the dog or just throw them away. At $1.80 a dozen, three eggs cost just 45 cents.
For more yellow color, stir in a pinch of turmeric. Cook it on top of the stove, slowly, until it’s almost set and slide it under the broiler to brown the top. Slice and serve. Now you have a dish fit for company.
Leave out the potatoes, add milk, and cook the egg mixture in a crust for a quick quiche. The proportion for a quiche is four eggs and 1½ cups milk or cream. Bake at 375 F for 30 to 35 minutes.
While you’re showing off with eggs, how about dessert? Make a quick omelet with a splash of water in the eggs. Use a hot, lightly buttered pan, and lift the eggs as they cook. Tilt the pan so the runny part goes to the edge. Spread cooked apple slices or any other fruit on half the omelet when it’s almost firm and fold over the other half to cover the fruit.
Gently slide the omelet from the pan, dust with powdered sugar or cinnamon and serve with more fruit for garnish.
Got leftover eggs from all the Easter fun?
Once you have hard cooked eggs, making salad is a snap.
Get out your egg slicer and cut the eggs one way. Grab the slices and turn the egg. Now cut the egg the other way. Use a fork to break up the slices. You’re almost there. If you don’t have an egg slicer you can use a pastry blender. No pastry blender? Two kitchen knives will do the job.
Now start adding, and the sky’s the limit.
- Mayo, regular or low fat, just enough to moisten the eggs and make them stick together lightly.
- Greek yogurt instead of mayo
- Sweet pickle relish.
- Onion, regular or green for color, chopped finely.
- Plenty of salt and pepper.
- Curry powder, add to taste.
- Dried or fresh herbs.
- Sunflower seeds or nuts.
- Dried fruit, chopped.
- Whatever else strikes your fancy.
- BONUS TIP: use your egg salad creation to make a delicious canapé with fresh cucumber and radish slices.
story by TRENT ROWE, Food Editor