I guess we think of breakfast when we talk about eggs as a meal, or the O’Donovan brothers (Irish Olympic rowers) radio ad for Bord Bia promoting the versatility of eggs and their many culinary uses!
Eggs are an excellent source of high quality protein that don’t cost a lot. Buy free-range or organic for best quality. I envy those that have a steady supply from their own or neighbours’ hens – nothing like fresh eggs.
Eggs are listed in the top 10 most common food allergens especially amongst children which is unfortunate, however a lot of children do grow out of it as the digestive system matures.
The oft quoted positive correlation of excessive consumption of eggs with cholesterol is a bit of a debatable point as approximately only 20% of cholesterol is produced from our diet and what is meant by excessive anyway? I once worked with someone who would get through something like 5 – 6 dozen eggs each week in a 2 person household (and apparently cholesterol results were normal). Whilst that might seem excessive to many, other than high performance Olympic athletes – remember Michael Phelps with the reported 5-egg omelettes? – I think that eggs are great as they are full of protein, suitable for breakfast, lunch or dinner and easy to amalgamate into a recipe. And a runny egg yolk is one of the top 10 vitamin D food sources which admittedly we get in fairly small doses from this food source.
Eggs are also a source of the B vitamins, selenium and the yolks contain the antioxidants of lutein and zeaxanthin (for the eyes 😎 !)
One online health webinar I listened to last year had a guest speaker on who contradicted the hosts near idolation of eggs as a healthy food source. The speaker maintained that as it is an animal food, pre diabetics or existing diabetics should be wary of over consumption, perhaps a more moderate intake would be advised in such an individual.
So some ideas on how to use eggs in main meals;
Poached, scrambled, boiled, baked, buckwheat blueberry blinis (type of pancake) made with egg and buckwheat flour, healthy french toast (some amazing recipes online). I avoid fried eggs as I prefer the other methods of cooking.
Poached eggs and sliced avocado on sourdough toast are a match made in food heaven with the combination of healthy fats, protein and carbohydrate, although the combo seems to be a victim of it’s own success at the moment with it appearing on menus everywhere.
Poached, omelette, frittata, quiche, boiled egg in a salad
Poached, omelette ( with more substantial fillings than lunch ), spicy egg one pan wonders (it really is…see recipe below.)
Right so the poached eggs figure all day. Bring the water to a simmer, swirl the simmering water, add a drop of white wine vinegar and drop the egg(s) in. Approx 5 to 6 minutes for a runny yolk perfect egg. The fresher the egg the more perfectly formed the result.
One-Pan Mexican eggs
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 onions finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 50 g chorizo peeled and chopped
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- Splash of red wine optional and not in original recipe but I used & it added wonderful flavour
- 2 400g tins tomatoes I used tomato passata
- 1 small bunch fresh coriander roughly chopped (had none but fresh basil just as delicious)
- 1 tin of kidney beans instead of using chilli flakes I used the Tesco red kidney beans in chilli sauce as that was what I had in store cupboard
- 4 free-range eggs
- Feta and chilli flakes to serve optional
Heat the oil in a large, wide frying pan. Add the onions, garlic and chorizo. Cook on a medium heat until just softened. Stir in the spices and cook for a few more minutes. Add the tomatoes, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes until thickened.
Add a little water if it’s drying out. Stir in the herbs (add sensitive basil at the end!) and red kidney beans.
Make 4 little wells in the sauce and break the eggs into the pan. Cover and cook until the egg whites are cooked but the yolks are still runny. Top with crumbled feta and chilli flakes depending on taste preference.
Serve over turmeric infused quinoa, sprinkle over the torn basil if haven't already done so.
Serves 2 (half ingredients for one person)
Murray, Michael Dr, Pizzorno, Joseph Dr, Pizzorno Lara (2005) The Encyclopaedia of Healing Foods edn London Piatkus pp 627/8