Today is world egg day! Who would think that they’d have a special day just to celebrate eggs? Eggs are certainly are an essential ingredient in our lives as we have nine chickens back home who are not quite laying yet, but we also have six chickens here in Umbria, Italy who are prolific layers. We have one broody hen here who is desperate to hatch a chick, so she doesn’t lay at present, but regular as clockwork the other five gift us with five gorgeous fresh eggs daily! I guess maybe I should break it to broody that unless we have a rooster, those eggs are just not going to hatch? And yes….I am THAT crazy chicken lady!
What is World Egg Day?
World Egg Day is celebrated on the second Friday in October. It was founded by the International Egg Commission (IEC) at a conference held in Vienna in 1996. The idea behind the day was raising awareness across the world, of the important place eggs have in human nutrition. The IEC was formed in 1964 in order to give a global presence to egg producers and to promote and popularize egg consumption as part of a balanced diet.
There are so many choices of eggs in the supermarket these days so how do you choose?
Most grocery store eggs are laid by chickens living in cramped mesh cages, sometimes seven or eight birds to a cage. I do not know about you, but that is just plain cruel to me and I never buy those eggs no matter what the price!
Another option you see at the grocery store now which is pretty deceiving is cage-free. This doesn’t mean that the chickens are frolicking across green pastures as you might imagine, but it just means that the chickens are not kept in cages. They might still live in very cramped conditions and never see the light of day.
Free range is better than cage-free because it means that the chickens do have access to the outdoors, but it might mean they are still kept in a screened-in porch type area.
So what are the best eggs to buy? Pastured eggs or eggs from pasture-raised chicken are the best. These hens actually live outdoors and eat a diet of seeds and insects. The eggs of pasture-raised chicken not only taste better but are more nutritious as well. Add to that that these chickens live a pretty good life roaming around the outdoors eating what they know is nutritious makes these eggs the only ones I will buy. Another question I often hear is which eggs are better/healthier/tastier, brown or white? It doesn’t matter if your eggs are brown, white, blue, or green, they are all the same on the inside. Buy eggs from pasture raised chickens and I am sure they will be delicious!
Since there are just two of us here in Umbria, using up five eggs daily can be challenging. I always have hard boiled eggs on hand to snack on, and we eat a lot of eggs fried in our own tasty olive oil. From time to time, however, I have a surplus of eggs in my refrigerator and on those days I make a quiche or a frittata. This particular quiche is chock full go roasted sweet potato, diced pancetta, and cubes of soft caciotta cheese (young Pecorino). I also added a bunch of chopped fresh herbs from our garden, a little heavy cream, and eight large fresh eggs directly from my girls. A quiche like this one is hearty enough to be a light dinner entree, but can also be enjoyed at breakfast or for lunch. I prefer a crustless quiche as it keeps the dish lighter, but feel free to add your favorite crust if you prefer.
My Italian Girls
Deborah Mele 2018
- 3 Cups Peeled & Cubed Sweet Potato (About 2 Large)
- 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil, Divided
- 1 Cup Diced Pancetta
- 1 Medium Onion, Chopped
- 8 Large Eggs At Room Temperature
- 1 1/2 Cups Heavy Cream
- Salt & Pepper
- 1 Cup Finely Chopped Fresh Herbs (Parsley, Basil, Thyme, Oregano)
- Salt & Pepper To Taste
- 1 Cup Grated Pecorino Romano Cheese
- 1 1/2 Cup Semi-soft Cheese Cut Into 1/2 Inch Cubes (See Notes Above)
To Prepare The Quiche Pan:
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1/3 Cup Fine Cornmeal
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F., and line a large baking sheet with foil.
- Toss the sweet potato cubes in 2 tablespoons of the oil and spread across the baking sheet.
- Roast for about 20 minutes until tender and lightly browned.
- Remove the potato from the oven, and decrease the heat to 350 degrees F.
- In a frying pan, add the remaining tablespoon of oil, and cook the pancetta and onion over medium heat until tender and golden brown, about 7 to 8 minutes, stirring often as it cooks.
- In a bowl, beat together the eggs, cream, salt, pepper, fresh herbs, and grated cheese with a whisk until smooth.
- Prepare a 9 or 10-inch quiche pan by rubbing it first with the oil, then sprinkle the bottom and sides with the cornmeal.
- Arrange the potato, onions, pancetta, and cheese cubes evenly over the bottom of the quiche pan, then gently pour the egg mixture on top.
- Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until set and golden brown on top.
- Rest the quiche 10 minutes before slicing.