Updated February 2012.
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.
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
Serves 2; can be doubled.
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
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.
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
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