An Eggcellent Idea

by | Jul 30, 2008

All week the Health section of the New York Times has been singing the praises of eggs. They make the very valid point that eggs were (unjustly) given a bad rap back in the 80’s and, as far as the science is concerned, should be taken off the forbidden list. Eggs are now making their way back as a health food and the NYTimes argues, why not eat eggs for dinner?

Well, I’m here to tell you that I already do and I love it.

It all started when I discovered the meaning of “fresh eggs”. When an egg is referred to as fresh it means that it was laid by the hen recently, within the past week. Most eggs you find at the grocery store don’t qualify as fresh by a long shot. You can tell how fresh the eggs are by checking the two numbers on the side of the carton. One number is the day of the year that the eggs were collected and boxed. For instance, eggs collected today would be marked 212. The other number is the expiration date, usually about a month later.

I first read about the magic of fresh eggs in Cooks Illustrated (best cooking publication ever–you should all subscribe immediately). The next week I found the egg vendor at my local farmers’ market and gave them a try. Needless to say I have been hooked ever since. Fresh eggs are like a different species: so light and fluffy, so well behaved. I now use eggs as one of my primary sources of complete protein and have mastered the art of the perfect scramble.

The secret to scrambling eggs is to mix them really well with 1 or 2 tbsp of cold water. By the time you’re finished they should be pale yellow and frothy. The pan should be of the non-stick variety and well-oiled (I like olive oil, but butter is a nice treat occasionally). Pour the eggs (+ salt and pepper) into a pan on medium-high heat and slowly move the spatula along the bottom until the eggs start piling up in one side of the pan. Don’t be squeamish about runny eggs, they will continue to cook even after you remove them from the heat. The worst thing you can do is over-cook them until they are brown and rubbery. Ick. The whole process only takes 2-3 minutes.

Tonight I made a 2-egg scramble with leeks and a green chili pepper (that wasn’t nearly spicy enough). In general I saute veggies until they are finished cooking before adding the eggs. I paired this dish with some French green beans (haricots verts) that I seasoned with the rest of the leek, salt and pepper, fresh lime juice and whole Thai basil leaves. If this combination sounds odd to you, I assure you that it is delicious. The citrus and basil give the beans a bright flavor to complement the richness of the eggs and chili. Yum!

For those of you thinking to yourself, “Um, I don’t think I like green beans,” I urge you to try again. I realize that a good number of people grew up thinking that green beans came from cans, are actually a dull-gray color and were especially designed to make casseroles and bean salads gross. And I know this sort of trauma is hard to overcome. I deeply sympathize with your dilemma, but there are many varieties of green beans and you have probably only tried one kind. But any variety can be as sweet, crisp and delicious as any of your favorite vegetables, so long as they are prepared with care and love.

The beauty of this meal is that it was all cooked in the same pan (at different times, of course). Eggs cook so fast that the beans barely have time to settle in the plate before your scramble is sitting right next to them.

I was not in the mood for a whole grain tonight, so I skipped it this time. I have had a hard time getting in a good, hard workout this week because of a particularly busy work schedule. Consequently I think my appetite is diminished, especially for carbohydrates. Later tonight I am going to cut into a beautiful Galia melon I picked up at Whole Foods. I’m very much looking forward to it.

Questions about eggs or haricots verts? Please comment below.
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2 Responses to “An Eggcellent Idea”

  1. adam says:

    I love eggs, but hate green beans. I will try to be more open minded, but for now I will stick with peppers, onions and mushrooms with my eggs 😉

  2. Anonymous says:

    Your description of light, fluffy fresh eggs has made me really hungry for scrambled eggs!!! So simple but I always forget about them. – Jen

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