Eggs are egg-ceptional foods. They are whole foods, prepackaged sources of carbohydrates, protein, fat and micronutrients. Yet, their eggs-quisite nutritional value should not be surprising when you remember that an egg contains everything needed for the nourishment of a developing chick.
Eggs are composed of a yellow yolk and translucent white surrounded by a protective shell that can be white or brown, depending upon the breed of the chicken. The shell's color is not related to the quality or nutritional value of the egg itself.
In addition to their wonderful taste and nutritional content, eggs hold an esteemed place in cooking since due to their food chemistry, they serve many unique functions in recipes, including coagulation, foaming, emulsification and browning.
Not only have studies shown that eggs do not significantly affect cholesterol levels in most individuals, but the latest research suggests that eating whole eggs may actually result in significant improvement in one's blood lipids (cholesterol) profile-even in persons whose cholesterol levels rise when eating cholesterol-rich foods.
Here are a few favorite recipes for using eggs:
3 cups water
1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
Bring 3 cups of water to a boil with the vinegar and salt in a small saucepan over high heat. Crack an egg into a cup and slide the egg gently into the water. Crack another egg into the cup and while the water returns to a boil, slide this egg into the water as well. Repeat with the third egg. When the water returns to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer until the eggs are set.
Watch carefully and remove the eggs when the yolks are still soft, about 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. (Test by lifting an egg slightly out of the water on a slotted spoon and gently pressing the center with your finger; the yolk should be soft and the white firm.) Drain on paper towels. Poached eggs can be made ahead and immersed in a bowl of water in the refrigerator. Reheat by immersing briefly in simmering water.
Yield: 3 poached eggs
Perfect Boiled Eggs
1 dozen large eggs
Water to cover
Pinch of salt
Place the eggs in a saucepan and cover with water. Season with a pinch of salt. Place the pan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and cover with a lid. Allow the eggs to sit for 11 minutes. Drain and cool the eggs for 2 minutes in ice water. Drain and peel the eggs.
Yield: 12 eggs
Caramelized Salmon Deviled Eggs
1 (6-ounce) salmon fillet
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
1/2 cup sugar
1 dozen hard-boiled eggs, halved
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon minced shallots
1/2 fresh lemon, juiced
2 ounces Sevruga caviar
Season the salmon with salt and pepper. Dredge the salmon in the sugar, coating well. Heat a small sauté pan, over medium heat.
When the pan is hot, add the salmon and sear for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until the salmon is caramelized on both sides.
Remove from the pan and cool completely. Flake the salmon into small pieces. Place the egg yolks in a mixing bowl and the whites on a serving plate. Season the whites with salt. With a fork, mash the egg yolks. Add the salmon, mayonnaise, shallots and lemon juice. Mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Fill the egg whites with the salmon mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and chill completely. Remove and garnish with caviar.
Yield: 12 servings
Scrambled Eggs With Salt Cod Onions & Potatoes
1 pound salt cod
2 quarts milk
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups thinly sliced onions
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
2 cups cubed Idaho potatoes, cooked until tender
1 dozen large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sliced olives
Two days before serving, soak the cod in 1 quart of the milk in a covered bowl in the refrigerator for 24 hours. The next day, discard the milk and rinse the cod well with cold water. Put the cod in a fresh quart of milk and refrigerate for another 24 hours.
Discard the milk and rinse well with cold water. Pat dry and flake into small pieces. Set aside. In a large, nonstick sauté pan, over medium heat, add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté for 4 to 6 minutes or until the onions are wilted. Add the potatoes and the cod. Season with black pepper. Continue to sauté for 4 minutes. Season the eggs with salt and pepper. Add the egg mixture and stir constantly to scramble the eggs. Cook until the eggs are soft, but slightly firm, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and spoon into serving plates. Garnish with sliced olives.
Yield: 4 servings
Classic Spaghetti Carbonara
1/2 pound bacon, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound fresh spaghetti, cooked al dente
4 large eggs, beaten
Kosher salt to taste
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
In a large sauté pan, over medium heat, cook the bacon until crispy, about 6 minutes. Remove the bacon and drain on paper towels. Pour off all of the oil except for 3 tablespoons. Add the garlic. Season with black pepper. Sauté for 30 seconds. Add the crispy bacon and the pasta. Sauté for 1 minute. Season the eggs with salt. Remove the pan from the heat and add the eggs, whisking quickly until the eggs thicken, but do not scramble. Add the cheese and re-season with salt and pepper. Mound into serving bowls and garnish with parsley.
Yield: 4 servings
Fritatta Al Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale
(Omelet with Balsamic Vinegar)
4 fresh large eggs
4 large scallions, finely sliced
1/4 cup breadcrumbs, toasted
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Aceto balsamico tradizionale di Modena, for drizzling
Kosher salt and black pepper
Break the eggs into a large bowl and whisk vigorously with a whisk. Fold in the scallions, breadcrumbs, and cheese.
In an 8-inch, cast iron skillet, heat the olive oil over high heat. Swirl the pan to coat the sides with oil and pour in the egg mixture. Cook over medium-high heat until the frittata is set. Remove from heat and allow resting several minutes. Slice into 4 wedges, drizzle with aceto balsamico. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
Yield: 4 servings
Potato Basil Frittata
1 stick sweet butter, divided
2 cups peeled and 1/2-inch diced boiling potatoes (4 potatoes)
8 extra-large eggs
15 ounces ricotta cheese
3/4 pound Gruyere cheese, grated
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a 10-inch ovenproof omelet pan over medium-low heat. Add the potatoes and fry them until cooked through, turning often, about 10 to 15 minutes. Melt the remaining 5 tablespoons of butter in a small dish in the microwave.
Meanwhile, whisk the eggs, and then stir in the ricotta, Gruyere, melted butter, salt, pepper, and basil. Sprinkle on the flour and baking powder and stir into the egg mixture.
Pour the egg mixture over the potatoes and place the pan in the center of the oven. Bake the frittata until it is browned and puffed, 50 minutes to 1 hour. It will be rounded and firm in the middle and a knife inserted in the frittata should come out clean. Serve hot.
Yield: 8 servings