Explore the versatility of cooking with eggs

Eggs come to the rescue in many meal situations. They cook quickly, are nutritious and versatile in so many recipes and we usually have them on hand.

Eggs are packed with nutrients. They are high in protein. The yolk has just about as much protein as the white, and most of the nutrients are in the yolk. Eggs are an excellent source of iron and vitamins A, D, E and B12. They are also a good source of folate, selenium, luteum and choline. These nutrients play vital roles in maintaining the health of nerve and blood cells, eyes and vision, brain development and function, bones and teeth and prevention of anemia.

Eggs perform different functions in a recipe depending upon what we are making. Whole eggs beaten into a batter and egg whites whipped to hard peaks act as a leavener to make the baked product rise. In gluten-free recipes eggs add structure such as in a flourless chocolate cake. Eggs also add richness and colour to baked items.

Ricotta pesto quiche

  • 6 tbsp. butter 90 mL
  • 1 large leek
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/4 c. cream 60 mL
  • 1 c. ricotta 250 mL
  • 1/2 c. grated parmesan 125 mL
  • 1 tsp. purchased pesto 5 mL
  • 1 handful fresh spinach, chopped small
  • 1/4 tsp. salt 1 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper 1 mL
  • 1 pkg. phyllo pastry

Heat the oven to 375 F (190 C). Lightly butter a nine-inch (22 cm) pie plate and set aside. Heat two tablespoons (30 mL) butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the leeks and cook, stirring often, until soft, five to seven minutes. Set aside to cool.

Whisk the eggs, egg whites and cream together in a medium bowl and add cooled leeks, ricotta, parmesan, pesto, parsley, salt and pepper. Stir to combine and set aside. Melt the remaining four tablespoons (60 mL) butter.

Lay one sheet of phyllo in the buttered pie plate. Brush the phyllo with melted butter, leaving the outer 1 1/2-inch (7 cm) rim unbrushed. Repeat with seven more sheets of phyllo.

Trim the edges to conform with the shape of the pie plate using kitchen shears and pour in the filling. Brush the top of the phyllo rim with butter and bake until the edges are golden brown and the filling is set, about 40 minutes. Cool before serving.

Cream puffs

  • 1/2 c. all purpose flour 125 mL
  • 1/4 c. water 60 mL
  • 1/4 c. whole milk 60 mL
  • 1/4 c. butter, cut into small pieces 60 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. salt 1 mL
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 c. whipping cream, very cold 250 mL
  • 2 tbsp. icing sugar, plus more for dusting 30 mL
  • 1 tsp. vanilla 5 mL

Heat oven to 400 F (200 C).

Add water, milk, butter and salt to a pot and bring to a full boil over medium heat. Add the flour all at once and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the pot. Continue to cook and stir for about a minute to eliminate excess moisture.

Transfer to a bowl and let cool for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Beat in one egg at a time with a hand mixer on low speed. Make sure the paste is smooth before adding the next egg.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and with two large spoons scoop the choux paste and form about 15 puffs. Bake the puffs for about 15 minutes and then turn the heat down to 350 F (180 C). Continue to bake for another 15 to 20 minutes. Bake until golden brown and very firm to the touch. Turn off the oven.

Poke the bottom of each puff, turn upside down on the baking sheet and let dry in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove to a rack and let cool to room temperature.

Prepare filling by whipping the cold cream, sugar and vanilla until stiff. Slice the tops off each puff and scrape out any doughy bits. Fill with cream, replace the tops and dust lightly with icing sugar.

Deviled eggs with Old Bay shrimp

  • 24 frozen uncooked shrimp
  • 1 c. white wine vinegar 250 mL
  • 12 hard-boiled eggs
  • 1/2 c. mayonnaise 125 mL
  • 2 tbsp. dill pickle juice 30 mL
  • 1 tsp. Old Bay seasoning 5 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 2 mL
  • pinch Old Bay seasoning
  • 24 sprigs fresh dill

In a large bowl, combine 24 cooked and peeled shrimp and one cup (250 mL) of white wine vinegar. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, slice peeled eggs in half lengthwise and remove the yolks. Mash the yolks with mayonnaise, dill pickle juice, one teaspoon (5 mL) of Old Bay seasoning, and salt until smooth.

Drain the shrimp and set them aside. Distribute the filling among the reserved egg-white halves and sprinkle each with a pinch of Old Bay seasoning. Top each devilled egg with a pickled shrimp and a sprig of fresh dill. Serve immediately.

How to hard boil eggs

Place eggs in saucepan and add enough water to cover the eggs by one inch. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and cover the pot. Let stand for 12 minutes. For creamier eggs, let stand for 10 minutes.

Drain and transfer eggs into bowl of ice water until cool enough to handle, about five to 10 minutes. Older eggs are easier to peel than very fresh eggs.

How to poach an egg

Use only very fresh eggs for poaching.

Bring a pot of water to just before the simmering point. You can add one tablespoon (15 mL) of white vinegar to the water, if you wish. The acid in the vinegar helps to firm up the protein in the egg. Crack an egg into a small dish. Carefully add the egg to the barely simmering water. Let it sit in the water until it is cooked to the doneness you want. You may gently spoon the hot water over the top of the egg.

Remove egg from the water with a slotted spoon and drain on a plate before using.

More egg ideas

  • Sprinkle a tossed salad with crumbled hard-cooked egg and fresh herbs.
  • Enrich soup with a lightly beaten raw egg stirred into chicken broth and cooked into threads. Just before serving, grate parmigiano-reggiano over each bowl.
  • Thicken gravy by tempering the yolk with a bit of hot gravy and then stirring it slowly back into the remaining gravy and cooking over medium-low heat.

Sarah Galvin is a home economist, teacher and farmers’ market vendor at Swift Current, Sask., and a member of Team Resources. She writes a blog at allourfingersinthepie.blogspot.ca. Contact: team@producer.com.

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