Eggs are arguably the world’s most versatile ingredient, whether they form part of a fortifying pre-run breakfast, a lazy Sunday brunch or a quick and easy dinner when we’ve forgotten to do a Tesco order. To boot, they’re a nutritional powerhouse, packed with six grams of protein each, plus 13 vitamins and minerals including autumn/winter must-have vitamin D.
Suffice to say, we never want to get sick of them – that’s why, in honour of World Egg Day, we’re moving beyond (though not abandoning) the usual fried/scrambled/boiled varieties in favour of niche cooking techniques like shakshuka and mysterious-sounding pisto eggs.
In its basic form, this Middle-Eastern dish is eggs poached in a rich tomato sauce with chillis and onions – but, from there, the world’s your oyster. Sprinkle feta over the top, add a dollop of houmous on the side or serve it on a sweet potato base.
Best for: Sharing with friends. Or not, depending on how hungry you feel...
Try: Gizzi Erskine’s shakshuka recipe if you like it spicy, with added labneh for an extra calcium boost.
2/ Egg muffin cups
This recipe idea is the perfect way to use up your leftover veg (and to put to work that muffin tray you have never, ever used). The basic technique is: whisk eggs with a splash of milk, then add cheese and chopped vegetables if you fancy. Pour the mixture inside the cups of an greased muffin tray, and bake until the centres are set (around 20 minutes will do it).
Best for: On-the-go eating.
Try: This tasty pesto egg cup variation.
The grown-up version of an egg muffin, the frittata is an open omelette that’s started in the pan and finished off under the grill. Add bacon, tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms, potatoes – basically, whatever you want.
Best for: Using up all your leftover vegetables before it's too late.
Try: This ‘everything but the kitchen’ Boxing Day frittata is great for the festive season – or just your standard Sunday roast leftovers.
4/ Turkish eggs
Hailing from Istanbul, this ‘don’t knock it ‘til you try it’ concoction is simple to make: soft poached eggs, placed on a bed of garlic yoghurt then drizzled with butter, lemon juice and paprika. Drizzle with chilli flakes for an extra kick.
Best for: Double protein in the eggs and yoghurt – plus a healthy serving of calcium. If you do strength training, this is brilliant for after a session, morning or evening.
Try: Another Gizzi Erskine classic - Turkish eggs with sourdough.
This stew dish from the Spanish Murcia region may not be well known, but you’re going to wish you discovered it earlier because a) it’s tasty and b) it’s chock-a-block with vitamins, from heart-friendly potassium (thanks to the courgette) to the vitamin C-rich tomatoes and aubergine.
Best for: Boosting your immune system (and spice tolerance) as winter dawns.
Try: This traditional spicy pisto can be tailored to veggie or carnivore diets.