January 19, 2018   - Vol. X No. 2
The Incredible Mediterranean Egg
More than three thousand years ago, ancient Phoenicians in the Mediterranean kept chickens because they were the gift that kept on giving, offering a steady bounty of fresh eggs. It’s no wonder that in those pre-fridge days, eggs became widely used in everyday cooking throughout the many cultures that have called the Mediterranean home.

Today, eggs continue to be used in Mediterranean soups, salads, pastas, sauces, desserts, breads, and even in drinks because they provide great flavor and versatility. To name just a few examples, the Arabic eggah , the Spanish tortilla , the Italian frittata , the Greek Strapatsada , and the Turkish menemen are all egg-based dishes similar to omelets. In the Middle East and Africa people enjoy a dish called shakshuka, made of poached eggs in fresh tomato sauce. In addition, eggs make their way into many Mediterranean-based desserts like custard and baked goods, due to their great binding quality.

Years of solid research have demonstrated the positive effects of the high-quality protein and nutrients in eggs on satiety, eye health, weight control, and healthy pregnancy. Low in calories, widely available, and extremely affordable, eggs are a good deal all around.

Eggs can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner—or even as a snack. What’s more, they “play well” with all kinds of ingredients, from fruits and vegetables to nuts and grains. Try these quick and easy ideas for incorporating eggs into your diet:

  • Give a Mediterranean twist to your egg salad by substituting hummus for some or all of the mayonnaise, and serving it in a whole wheat pita.
  • Beat an egg with a little grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and parsley, then slowly whisk into hot chicken broth to make an Italian-style egg soup.
  • Cut a hard-boiled egg in wedges—or grate it—to top your favorite salad.

For more inspiration, check out our Oldways resource 12 Ways to Use Eggs .

Here are three of our favorite recipes for serving eggs with a Mediterranean twist this weekend, or any day of the week.

Click on a title or photo below to go to the recipes.

A frittata is an Italian egg dish, similar to a crustless quiche. It’s simple to make — everything cooks in the same skillet — and it’s a great way to use up leftover vegetables and cheese. This recipe features roasted tomatoes, leeks, asparagus, and two types of cheese: Parmigiano-Reggiano and goat cheese. Leftovers pack well for lunch or breakfast on the go the next day. 

Recipe and photo courtesy of FOODMatch .

Get ready to fall in love with zoodles (zucchini noodles)! These spiralized veggies are a low-calorie substitution for pasta. Top with a poached egg for a well-rounded dish.

Recipe and photo courtesy of Egg Nutrition Center .

Shakshouka is a North African dish made simply by poaching eggs in spicy tomato sauce. It looks impressive for the amount of work and the cost of the ingredients. Serve it at your next brunch or for a quick dinner. 

An Oldways recipe and photo.
Fresh Fridays is a bi-weekly celebration of Mediterranean eating and living. We hope our Friday recipes will remind you just how easy and delicious eating the Mediterranean way can be.