Easing Into Spring With Eggs
Eggs — the universal spring symbol of renewal at Easter and Passover — have experienced a resurrection of their own, on two fronts. The American Heart Association suggests that several eggs per week can fit into a cholesterol-restricted diet if dairy products and meats are adjusted. Eggs are an inexpensive high-quality protein source. Even organic or free-range eggs cost only 20 to 25 cents apiece.
Yet home cooks lag behind in preparations, especially at non-breakfast meals. Spring is a good time to work on that:
Improved sunnysides: Eggs do not need to be cooked in fat. If you adore sunnysides (and one isn’t enough), buy eggs graded small. Spray a nonstick skillet with a canola oil cooking spray. Heat to medium — not hot. Break two eggs into the skillet and cover. Cook on low until yolks are set. Slide out of skillet onto whole grain toast or English muffin. Tastes wonderful, at a 25-30 percent calorie/fat reduction over conventional preparation.
Hands-down best egg salad: Hard-cook six eggs in simmering, not boiling water. While they are cooking, chop several inside ribs of celery, with leaves, two scallions and a handful of parsley (and/or cilantro) in food processor. Peel eggs, add to processor and pulse until chopped. Scrape into a bowl, add a spoonful of pickle relish and just enough light mayo to hold everything together. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Much less mayo is required when eggs are hot and ingredients chopped fine.
Eggs and spears: Asparagus, another harbinger of spring, marry beautifully with eggs. Boil spears in a 9-10-inch skillet until crisp-tender and still bright green. Plunge into cold water, dry on paper towels. Spray same skillet with olive oil. Beat four large eggs or two eggs and four whites with salt, pepper and a tablespoon of milk. Pour into medium-hot skillet, turn heat to low, cover and cook until eggs are almost set. Lay warm spears on omelet, sprinkle with grated Swiss cheese, fold over, cover pan and cook another minute. Serve with salsa.
Baked eggs for brunch: Spray custard cups or ramekins with oil, line with paper-thin slices of ham trimmed to fit and a few baby spinach leaves. Break a jumbo egg into the cup and splash with hot sauce, if desired. Set cups in a baking pan, cover with foil and bake at 325 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until yolks are set. Serve with sliced focaccia.
Southwestern French toast: Soak sourdough slices in eggs beaten with a tablespoon or two of milk. Cook in an oiled skillet until very brown on both sides. Top with warm black bean salsa, chopped cilantro and a dollop of sour cream.
Fried rice: Always make enough rice for leftovers. Heat a spoonful of oil in a non-stick skillet. Saute grated or finely chopped vegetables (onion or scallion, garlic, carrot, celery, zucchini, petite frozen peas) until wilted. Add rice and stir-fry, stirring constantly, until hot. Raise heat to high, quickly stir in one or two beaten eggs and a splash of soy sauce with a fork. Continue stirring with a fork until eggs are cooked and practically disappear into rice.
As for which eggs taste better, follow your conscience or, better yet, find an urban farmer who raises happy chickens that lay eggs with deep-orange yolks.
Contact Deborah Salomon at email@example.com.
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