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March 20, 2008

Eggs (Recipe: asparagus frittata for two) {vegetarian, gluten-free}

Updated February 2012.

Fiveflavors

For much of the year, within a mile or two in any direction from my house, you'll find a farm selling fresh eggs.

Last summer Ted stopped at a farm up the road from us, to photograph this sign that surely gave passers-by something to think about. Five flavors of eggs? Intriguing! But no, it was the goat cheese that came in five flavors. And no, the eggs weren't in that cooler; they were in the house, properly stored in the refrigerator.

Every culture that has chickens eats eggs, and thanks to Christopher Columbus, who brought some hens with him on his second voyage in 1493, that includes those of us in the United States.

Asparagus-frittata-for-two

High in protein and choline, and low in calories, eggs qualify as one of the world's healthiest foods -- and one of the most versatile.

In a previous post about eggs, I wrote about the relationship between ear color and eggshell color. If that wasn't wacky enough, here's a bit more egg trivia:

  • A hen works hard to produce eggs, and hers is not an easy or glamorous life. She starts laying at 19 weeks of age, lays approximately one egg per day, and gets only half an hour of rest between the birth of one egg and the production of the next. (Whew...) She will turn each egg approximately 50 times a day, to keep the yolk from sticking to the shell.
  • In France, a bride may break an egg on the threshold of her new home, to bring good luck and healthy babies. She can clean up that broken egg (or perhaps her new husband will do it for her) by sprinkling lots of salt to help the egg coagulate.
  • Eggs are packed in their cartons large-end up, to keep the yolk centered and the air bubble intact.
  • Legend holds that you can balance an egg large-end up at the exact moment of the Spring Equinox, which was today, March 20, 2008, at 5:48 GMT. Did anyone try it?
  • One large egg has 80 calories.
  • One dozen large eggs should weigh 24 ounces (a dozen medium, 21 ounces; a dozen extra-large, 27 ounces).
  • The larger the egg, the older the hen who laid it.
  • The largest amount of money ever paid for an egg is $18.5 million US dollars, for the Rothschild Faberge egg, which features a working clock and a glass hen inside.

If you're watching your intake of cholesterol, the American Heart Association's guidelines allow an egg a day, rather than three per week, as part of an overall recommended daily limit of 300 milligrams of cholesterol.

If you like to have fun with food, check out this great Egg Activity Book for kids, from the Georgia Egg Commission.

And if you still don't know which came first, the chicken or the egg, a geneticist, a philosopher and a chicken farmer have come up with the definitive answer: it was the egg.

Asparagus-frittata-for-two-detail

Asparagus frittata for two

From the pantry, you'll need: eggs, shredded cheese, olive oil, onion, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

Serves 2; can be doubled.

Ingredients

5 large eggs
1/2 cup grated or shredded cheddar, mild or sharp, or more to taste
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
2 tsp olive oil
1 small onion or shallot, minced
8 asparagus spears, stems trimmed, cut into very thin slices
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or asiago cheese

Directions

In a measuring cup (4-cup size or larger), whisk the eggs with a tablespoon of water. Stir in the grated cheddar and black pepper, and set aside.

In a small nonstick frying pan (one that can go under the broiler), heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and asparagus, and sauté for 2-3 minutes, until the onions are slightly browned. Pour the egg mixture into the pan, and turn the heat to simmer. Cover the frying pan and cook the frittata gently for 4-5 minutes, or until the eggs are nearly set.

Preheat the broiler.

Sprinkle the Parmigiano-Reggiano over the eggs, and place under the broiler until the cheesy top is bubbling. Let the frittata stand at room temperature for at least five minutes before serving. Can be served hot, room temperature, or cold.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]


More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:

Egg curry
Albornia de chayote
Outrageous brownies
Cheesy omeletta
Frittata with broccoli and garden herbs

Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Asparagus and tomato frittata with Havarti and dill, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Rice cooker frittata with summer vegetables, from Just Bento
Asian fusion omelette or frittata, from Jeanette's Healthy Living
Crustless quiche with ham, asparagus and gruyere, from Pinch My Salt
Cheesy bacon apple frittata, from Family Fresh Cooking

Comments

How lucky you are to have a fresh egg farm and goat cheese source so close by! Your area is so beautiful, green and natural! Well at least it is for us because we're living in a Southern California concrete jungle.That's why we created our garden, to have a bit of green space like your picture.
We can have 7 eggs a week? That's good news because a frittata for tomorrow's dinner is in the works. Yeah! Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese all the way!

Very engaging post as usual, Lydia. We do love eggs in my home but I have yet to make a frittata. Can't wait for asparagus season to start so I can try this one!

Eggs and asparagus are probably two of nature most perfect food! And I'll bet some day, an enterprising hen will figure out a way to lay eggs in five flavors!

Lydia--Great post! Regarding eggs and cholesterol, I've read a couple of different places that the lecithin in eggs actually blocks the absorption of their cholesterol. In fact, to immodestly quote a post of my own:

...back in 2001, nutrition researchers at Kansas State University published the first evidence that, even though eggs contain considerable amounts of cholesterol, the lecithin in eggs prevents the absorption of cholesterol from eggs and other sources too.

In 2004, a University of Connecticut report went further, stating that eating eggs is not related to body cholesterol levels or cardiovascular problems and recommending that “people with normal cholesterol levels and no family history of cardiovascular diseases should not worry about eating one or two eggs a day.”

Lydia, I'm nothing without eggs in my pantry. I desperately need them, for cooking and baking.
That frittata sounds heavenly, I'm such a sucker for asparagus!

What a great post about eggs! You are so lucky to be able to get fresh ones. Have been trying for months to find a fresh eggs source with no luck at all!

Gourmet magazine online right now has a big photo-article about all kinds of eggs -- hen, turkey, quail, ostrich, even emu eggs! I guess it's the season to talk about eggs.

Great and (as always) interesting post!

WORC, the eggs we get at the farm are so fresh that there's still some "chicken scratch" (sawdust, etc.) attached to the shells from time to time. The yolks are bright gold and perky, and cooking with them is a joy.

Nupur, frittatas are great because they can accommodate just about anything -- leftover pasta or roasted veggies, bits of stew, all kinds of cheese, and lots of herbs.

TW, when that day comes, I hope I'm first in line at the farm!

Terry, thanks so much for adding to our body of knowledge about the incredible edible egg. I think eggs have been demonized in the war on cholesterol, and science is starting to agree!

Patricia, I cannot resist the combination of eggs and asparagus!

Judy, we are lucky. There are farms in all directions, but some friends are also raising chickens now, so the supply of fresh eggs is limitless.

Mae, I saw that wonderful photo essay. Makes each egg look like a piece of art.

Ann, thanks so much.

I was really thinking of 5 different flavors being infused with the eggs to create 5 different flavors!...Well, here I have already seen tea eggs, tea+mushroom flavored eggs, wine-infused eggs....just two more to go!

Amazing and wacky facts about eggs Lydia! I do find myself using them for emergency dinners more often now.

Oooh, those chickens work hard to bring us those eggs don't they?! Although obviously it wouldn't be a good idea to keep eggs outside in the sun, I've heard that it isn't right to keep them in the fridge either, but stored at room temperature. Apparently, the only reason people put them in there is because there is a special egg-shaped holder.

I don't know how I never came across your blog before but it's great. I'll be reading more.

All I know about eggs is that they ("they" being a vague entity) change their health benefits like every hour on the hour. Well, OK, I know something else--I love eggs! This frittata sounds springy and delicious.

I'm sighing at how lovely and summery that picture looks. Summer, I can't wait until you get here.

All sorts of egg facts here that are new to me, although I can personally attest to how much more orange fresh yolks are than those I buy in the supermarket -- my brother has a small flock of chickens and I'm sometimes the lucky recipient of his eggs. Saffron-colored is an excellent description.

I have always rather suspected, the egg was first. For sure in my kitchen as well, I am one of those who eat them with shocking regularity. And now with Easter around the corner, chocolate eggs of course.

First the egg, second the fry pan! We only buy eggs from the farm, it makes all the difference, though at the moment, we seemed to be surounded by chocolate eggs and I think I just spied a rabbit carrying a basket full of them.

Tigerfish, how about pickled eggs? Beet stained eggs? Maybe we can come up with more than five!

MyKitchen, me too -- fewer eggs for breakfast, but more eggs for dinner.

Helen, welcome to The Perfect Pantry. So glad you found your way here. I think the caveat is about storing eggs in the door of the refrigerator, because the temperature fluctuates so much there. When I worked on an article about eggs for a local magazine, I interviewed the state commissioner of agriculture, who told me that eggs must be refrigerated for proper storage.

Cakespy, I'm glad that "they" have decided eggs aren't so bad for us after all!

Julie, if you have an egg man in the family, you are lucky indeed. Once you get used to farm eggs, it's impossible to go back to buying them in the market.

Callipygia, I've seen a few of those chocolate eggs around, too.

Neil, I think your rabbit was in my neighborhood today...

I love that it is only for two! Great idea.

First off, I love that you said "properly stored in the refrigerator"...one thing I had to get used to here was the fact that eggs are not stored in the fridge. I have a basket of eggs on top of the fruit & veggies baskets that sits alongside my fridge. It is an odd site for most visitors, but something completely normal for me now!

Secondly, I had never heard of the egg balancing on the spring equinox, but I have been to the true equator in Ecuador (true because it is not where the equator monument is in Quito oddly enough) and there you can balance an egg on one end, but only on the exact equator line not one step to the right nor the left. It was quite a sight and such fun experiments to try!

Peabody, it could even be for one, with leftovers for lunch the next day. Frittata is delicious cold, on a sandwich.

Gretchen Noelle, I've heard that about eggs and the true equator, but I never knew anyone who's actually done it. What an amazing way to know that you are standing at the midpoint of the Earth!

Wonderful and timely post about eggs! And I love the photo of the little egg stand-how nice to have access to fresh eggs. The frittata is on our menu-a wonderful recipe for spring-you have us drooling, Lydia!

Darn, I should have tried to balance an egg. Oh well, maybe next year. :)

We love fritattas for supper. I can only imagine how good it would be with farm fresh eggs. Mmmm.

Rebecca, I do wish it looked this outside today! Maybe in a few more weeks...

Amy, I did try it once, but no luck. Of course I didn't try it on the equator!

Aimee, I think that, with the infinite varieties of frittata, I could definitely eat one every day. Eggs, cheese and anything -- works for me!

mmmmm! I am a hige fan of Frittata. Never had the pleasure of having fresh eggs...I love the flavors here.

Chris, I love getting farm fresh eggs for cooking and eating (they make the most golden egg salad). I wonder if you can tell the difference in baking, too?

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  • My name is Lydia Walshin. From my log house kitchen in rural northwest Rhode Island, I share recipes that use what we keep in our pantries, the usual and not-so-usual ingredients that spice up our lives.

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