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Spring is time for eggs

Spring egg and spinach salad (Provided photo — Yvona Fast)

It’s Spring! Longer days and warming temperatures mean that chickens are laying like crazy, so there’s an abundance of fresh eggs!

Eggs are one of the least expensive nutritious foods to feed your family. Although they contain cholesterol and saturated fat, they’re a good source of high-quality protein. In addition, they contain ample amounts of vitamins A, D, B12, and E, beta carotene and folic acid as well as omega 3 fatty acids.

Eggs are versatile. They’re not just for breakfast — they’re a good choice for lunch or supper too! Make an egg salad sandwich for lunch or quiche for supper.

They can be added to many dishes. Add eggs to all types of salads: Top fresh greens or stir into potato, pasta or grain salads.

Spaghetti carbonara is an easy pasta dish made with eggs, cheese, and pancetta or bacon. The eggs cook from the heat of the hot pasta, and create a sauce when blended with a little of the water the spaghetti cooked in.

Fresh greens and tomato frittata (Provided photo — Yvona Fast)

Shakshuka is a simple dish of eggs poached in a bed of sauted vegetables. The name is Arabic and means “all mixed up.” Shakshuka originated in Tunisia, quickly spread throughout the Mediterranean region, and is now probably the most popular egg dish in Israel. The one-dish meal is often served right out of the skillet. The basic ingredients are eggs and tomatoes, with endless variations when other vegetables, seasonings, cheese or meat are added.

Strata is a comforting casserole made with three main ingredients: eggs, bread, and cheese — a sort of bread souffle, or a cross between a quiche and a casserole. No one knows where it originated, but it is likely that cooks from regions where bread is a staple — Europe and the Middle East — developed this dish to use up scraps of old bread and an overabundance of eggs in springtime. Between the layers of bread and cheese, there can be any number of additional layered ingredients. Sauted onions or mushrooms, steamed greens, browned sausage, diced ham, or sun-dried tomatoes provide zest and variety to the basic strata. When vegetables are incorporated into the layers, the strata is a complete meal.

A delicious dish that uses many eggs quickly is the souffle. They can be savory or sweet, and can be filled with fruit, nuts, vegetables, meat — or nothing at all.

Custards are made with eggs and dairy and can be sweet or savory, cooked or baked.

Many sauces incorporate eggs, the most common being mayonnaise. Hollandaise sauce, aioli, Greek avgolemono, British Albert sauce, French bearnaise sauce sand Sauce Gribiche, are other sauces made with eggs. Mayonnaise is the base for other sauces, such as tartar sauce, remoulade, and many dressings and dips.

Many baked goods, like muffins, sweetbreads, cakes and pies incorporate eggs.

What is your favorite way to serve eggs? Scrambled or fried for breakfast? Coating French toast? In pancakes? In quiche? Frittata?

Fresh greens and Tomato Frittata

Ingredients:

1 or 2 slices bacon

1 onion

10 oz. fresh or frozen greens, like collards, kale or spinach

1/2 cup broth or water

3/4 to 1 cup diced tomatoes

1 – 2 Tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan or Cheddar cheese

3 eggs

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup broth, milk or combination

Fresh baguette or boiled potatoes, for serving

Directions:

Cook bacon in skillet until crisp: remove and drain on paper towels. Reserve.

Add onion to bacon drippings, and cook on low 5 – 15 minutes, until soft and golden.

Add washed, chopped greens to skillet with the onion, cover and cook on medium-low until tender – just a couple minutes for spinach, or 15 to 20 minutes for collards. You may have to add a little liquid (broth or water). This will also depend on whether the greens are fresh or frozen.

Add tomatoes and sprinkle with the parmesan.

Beat eggs with salt and liquid: pour in evenly. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes until the eggs set.

Serves 2 – 3.

Spring Egg and Spinach Salad

Ingredients:

4 eggs

1 cup cottage cheese

2 Tablespoons creme fraiche or sour cream

3 green onions

3 – 4 radishes

1 cup (or a bit more) fresh, washed, torn baby spinach

1/2 teaspoon salt (or salt and pepper to taste)

Additional fresh greens (spinach or lettuce) for serving

Directions:

Place eggs in single layer in pan and cover with water one inch above eggs. Bring to a boil, then turn off heat. Let sit 20 minutes, then drain. Rinse under cold water (or dunk into ice water), peel, and dice. While eggs are cooking, cut off root ends and brown parts of green onions, and slice thin. Wash radishes, cut off roots and dice fine. Wash and chop spinach. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.

Line two or three bowls with fresh greens. Place a dollop of the egg salad on top.

Serve with a fresh baguette.

Author of the award-winning cookbook “Garden Gourmet: Fresh & Fabulous Meals from your Garden, CSA or Farmers’ Market,” Yvona Fast lives in Lake Clear and has two passions: cooking and writing. She can be found at www.yvonafast.com and reached at yvonawrite@yahoo.com or on Facebook at Words Are My World.

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