Eggs have been described as nature's perfect food but, for many years, we were warned against eating them by nutritionists due to their high cholesterol content. As they have done with so many other things, though, the "experts" have made a U-turn and are now saying that eggs are perfectly fine in a balanced diet (when are these people going to realise that that's true of almost all food?). Eggs are versatile and are used to thicken sauces and make savoury dishes and desserts.
Frittata with shredded zucchini and sautéed mushrooms (pictured)
330 grams zucchini
1 shallot, sliced
275 grams button mushrooms
About 20 grams unsalted butter
8 large eggs
40 grams freshly grated
Fine sea salt and freshly ground
Freshly grated nutmeg
A couple of chives, snipped with scissors into 5mm pieces, to garnish
Use the medium hole of a grater to shred the zucchini into fine strands. Put the zucchini into a bowl, sprinkle with a teaspoon of salt and mix thoroughly. Leave for 10 minutes, then drain in a colander. Squeeze the zucchini between your hands to extract as much liquid as possible then drain on paper towels. Slice the mushrooms about 3mm thick.
Melt the butter in a skillet set over a low flame. Add the shallot and cook until soft, stirring often. Turn the heat to medium high and add the mushrooms. Sprinkle with salt and pepper then cook until the mushrooms give off their liquid and then reabsorb it, stirring occasionally. Put the mushrooms and shallot in a bowl and cool to room temperature, then mix in the zucchini.
Use pan coating to lightly spray four skillets that are 15cm in diameter. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Whisk the eggs with the cream and half the parmesan, then season with salt, pepper and a pinch of grated nutmeg. Divide the mushroom and zucchini mixture evenly between the four skillets, then pour the egg/cream mixture over the top. Stir the ingredients in the skillets, then sprinkle the remaining parmesan on top. Place the skillets in the oven and bake at 180 degrees for about 10 minutes, or until set: the frittata will be slightly puffy around the edges. Shake the skillets to loosen the frittatas then invert each one onto a plate. Sprinkle with chives then serve immediately, with side dishes such as toast, bacon, salad or sautéed potatoes.
Scrambled eggs with dried scallops and yellow chives
This is an easy home-style dish. After soaking the scallops until soft, the dish takes only a few minutes to make.
3 dried scallops, about 3cm in diameter
80 grams Chinese yellow chives
6 large eggs
20ml cooking oil
Fine sea salt and finely ground white pepper
Soak the dried scallops in 120ml of warm water until soft (about 30 minutes). Drain them, reserving the soaking liquid. Shred the scallops.
Whisk the eggs in a large bowl and stir in the soaking liquid, a little salt (the scallops are salty) and some white pepper. Cut the yellow chives into 4cm lengths.
Heat the oil in a wok over a high flame. When the wok is hot, add the cooking oil and the shredded scallops. Stir-fry briefly then add the chives and cook until wilted. Turn the heat to low then add the egg mixture and stir constantly until softly scrambled. Remove the ingredients from the wok and serve immediately.
Champagne sabayon with fresh berries
I make this on the rare occasions when I have leftover champagne. If you don't have champagne, substitute a dry white wine. It's important that the eggs and champagne are at room temperature.
6 large eggs, at room temperature
¼ tsp fine sea salt
70 grams granulated sugar
180ml dry champagne, at room temperature
Separate the eggs, putting the yolks into a heat-proof bowl. Reserve the whites for other dishes (they can be refrigerated for several weeks).
Whisk the yolks with the salt and sugar until frothy, then stir in the champagne. Place the bowl over simmering water in a pan; the water should not touch the bottom of the bowl. Adjust the heat so the water is at a low simmer the entire time you are cooking the sabayon - if it's too high the mixture might scramble. Whisk the ingredients constantly until the sauce thickens enough to pass the "ribbon test": remove the bowl from the heat, then lift the whisk and let some of the mixture drizzle back into the bowl. If it stays on the surface briefly before sinking slowly, it's ready; if not, place the bowl back over the double boiler and continue to whisk.
When the sabayon is ready, remove the bowl from the heat and wipe the bottom, to remove any moisture.
Pile berries into individual bowls then pour the warm sauce on top. Serve immediately.
Styling: Nellie Ming Lee
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