More than a few of my best childhood food memories (of which there are many) involve eggs. A soft boiled egg broken over torn pieces of buttered toast, the yolk soaking into the buttery bread; my father making "Egyptian Eyes" essentially an egg in a hole, a triangle shaped hole reminiscent of the pyramid with the eye on a dollar bill; or the tiny fancy egg cups and little spoons my dutch grandmother had for us.
My love for eggs has risen and fallen over the years. These days it's by far on the up swing with my family eating two or three dozen a week. Yes really. Eggs are one of the least expensive types of protein, rivaled maybe by beans, but they are far more versatile and quick to cook, so eggs make it into many of our meals, breakfast, lunch or dinner. A number of years ago I started reading about how egg laying hens are treated in factory farms an was totally disgusted, so now I mostly buy organic or certified humane eggs as well as eggs from small local farms when I can. Some of the grocery store eggs are from big farms like Pete & Gerry's in New Hampshire (the medium sized ones are usually much cheaper) and some are from local farmers at the CitySeed Farmers' Markets, or when I'm lucky from my mechanic's wife at Aquilla Motors Garage down the street....
Yes, homegrown eggs at our urban gas station, lovin' it!
While humanely raised eggs are more expensive than the bargain priced cousins, when I think about how many meals we can get out of a dozen costing $2,50 or even $4, and how the chickens were not feed animal byproducts and kept in tiny cages, well, it makes me actually want to eat them.
One of my favorite staple egg dishes is rice and beans with a fried egg on top. I love the richness the yolk adds to the dish. Similarly, if we make rice and stir fried or roasted vegetables for dinner, topping it with a fried egg and some good hot sauce transforms the dish and adds some much needed protein.
Another great stand by meal (for breakfast, lunch, or dinner) is an Omelette. Some chefs will wax poetic about the sill needed to cook the perfect Omelette. Don't worry about making it perfect, or if it browns a little (like mine did accidentally) just find some good eggs, and some delicious fillings, sautéed greens and cheese, scallions, fresh tomatoes, zucchini and thyme...whatever you have on hand and a pinch of salt and pepper...It's a quick, delicious, affordable and healthy meal.
Making the perfect soft boiled eggs is also a bit tricky. I find that you have to test it out with a specific pot, burner size and amount of water, all of those factors influence how quickly the egg will go from soft to medium to hard. In general, I cook an egg for one minute at a simmer, and it is soft, but if I use a different pot, I may get a slightly uncooked egg or a medium cooked egg.
So here's to hoping that more folks start eating eggs for dinner. It's a great quick alternative on those nights when you might have been tempted to get take out or eat not so healthy packaged foods.
If you are looking for a fun but slightly sweet breakfast or dessert with eggs, check out this puff cake with fruit.
Please share your favorite egg dishes!