Have you noticed that eggs are back in fashion and are considered the perfect protein, high in all the omega numbers and good for you? The belief that eggs equal cholesterol is now discredited and considered to be another food myth. Knowing the source of your perfect protein is important though. Choose eggs from suppliers that give their hens a good time, with the run of a grassy paddock, and a varied diet of organic feed. It’s worth spending an extra dollar or two on these parcels of total goodness.
Eggs make the perfect lunch or quick dinner and are very satisfying, especially for those folk who follow a vegetarian diet. Lunch time egg specials include hardboiled eggs sprinkled with Dukkah, or rosemary salt, or draped in a parsley pesto, or chopped through a salad of endive leaves then tossed in a garlicky mustard dressing. I love them cracked onto a bed of peperonata in a little rustic terracotta dish, then baked in the oven till set. Hard boiled eggs make for a simple tomato based Indian curry, served with rice. The Chinese chefs in Yunnan province stir fry them with tomatoes then add some soya sauce, while the French poach them perfectly and place them on top of a butterhead lettuce salad, with croutons and a good dressing. Two eggs tossed with a generous handful or two of finely chopped parsley and a grating of good pecorino or parmigiano makes a fast little lunchtime frittata. Made them paper-thin, then roll them up and serve in slices for a Spring starter.
Making dukkah once a month is a cheap way to add oomph to a lunchtime egg.
- ¼ cup of whole almonds (or hazelnuts or macadamia)
- 2 Tablespoons coriander seeds
- 2 tablespoons white sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1½teaspoons peppercorns
- ½ teaspoon dried mint
- ½ teaspoon fine salt
Serve with extra flaked salt and EV olive oil at the table.
Heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the nuts and toast until browned and fragrant. Transfer to a small bowl. Repeat with the other seeds and peppercorns, toasting each separately and allowing them to cool completely. Put the peppercorns in a mortar and pestle and pound until crushed. Add the nuts and seeds, along with the mint and salt and crush to a course consistency. ( I used almonds and a coffee grinder for the nuts, then ground the toasted seeds, as they cooked, one at a time in the mortar).
Peel the eggs. Sprinkle with Dukkah, drizzle with oil, and add a tiny bit of flaked salt such as Maldon salt to taste.
Dukkah will keep in a well sealed jar in a cool place for up to one month. Cool!
The following method produces the most edible boiled eggs. A bit of care makes all the difference.
- Put the eggs in a saucepan of cold water eggs, covering them by 2.5 cm/1 inch.
- Bring the water to a rolling boil. Set the pan over high heat and bring the water to a boil, uncovered.
- Turn off the heat and cover the pan. As soon as the water comes to a boil, remove the pan from heat and cover the pan.
- Set your timer for the desired time. Leave the eggs in the covered pan for the right amount of time. This depends on whether you want soft-boiled or hard-boiled eggs. For slightly runny soft-boiled eggs: 4 minutes. For custardy yet firm soft-boiled eggs, 6 minutes. For firm yet still creamy hard-boiled eggs, 10 minutes.
- Eat them hot or submerge the eggs in a few changes of cold water for a minute or two before cracking and peeling. They last for 1 week in the fridge, unshelled.
Recipe for dukkah from Super Natural Every Day, Heidi Swanson. Ten Speed Press.
How to cook the perfect hard boiled egg adapted from a guide here.