There are many theories about why many cultures feast on eggs at the first sign of spring. The most obvious is that like spring, they represent new life. And like life they are round with no sign of beginning or end. (okay, roundish). Another theory dating to early Catholic Lenten practice is that eggs were considered a rich luxury food that had to be abandoned during the lean weeks of Lent, so Easter was the moment to splurge. And the Mother Nature theory is that hens in colder climates weren't laying eggs in the snow but started again around the spring equinox.
As the symbol of renewal at this moment of spring fever, eggs get the royal treatment on a Seder table and in an Easter basket. They're roasted or boiled, dyed or painted, stuck whole (cooked of course) in the ring shaped Easter breads and cakes of Eastern Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean. Chocolates are stuffed and molded to look like them.
This is not supercilious celebration. The egg may be our most perfect food. It comes in its own packaging straight from the source and can last a long time in proper circumstances. It can be boiled, steamed, fried, baked, even roasted. It's the critical binder for the delights of cakes, puddings and cookies. It's the key ingredient in genuine Caesar salad dressing, aioli and mayonnaise. It keeps the coating on the fried chicken.
It's a treasure chest of nutrients. The egg is perfect protein. It has the Vitamin D of sunshine that's hard to find in other foods. It's got calcium and enough magnesium to help us absorb it. It's loaded with trace minerals critical to our health: potassium, phosphorus, selenium, folate. And it's got the goods to keep our eyes from degenerating.
Yes, it's got some fat and cholesterol but by now science has discovered it's all good. Eat eggs. Science has also discovered it's best not to eat industrially produced eggs which often come with their own salmonella and other horrible toxins. So get them from your local farmer whose chickens ate up the energy of your locale and purvey it back to you this way.
In lieu of all that messy egg dying, especially if you don't have kids, fill your Easter basket with elegantly marbled Chinese tea eggs. A recipe is in How to Fix a Leek... Greet the morning of Resurrection with a frittata, an omelet you can bake in the oven in a pie pan and slice in wedges to serve 6 or 8 at once.
Greet any morning with a hard or soft boiled egg, a piece of seeded toast and some fruit for the perfect launch to a healthy day. Whip an egg into grated potatoes and onions to make potato pancakes for lunch (served with applesauce or sour cream). Lay a fried egg on a Spanish braise of chickpeas with garlicky greens for a meatless meal. Put yolks into rice pudding and whip the whites into meringues for dessert. Make an angel food cake. What you can do with a few eggs is joyously infinite.
Here's something I've been working on that uses eggs to advantage:
Makes 8, serves 4
6 lg leeks, white and light green parts only
1 tbsp fresh chives, minced
2 eggs, beaten
½-2/3 cup dried breadcrumbs
1 tsp coarse sea salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp corn or canola oil for frying
Cut the leeks in half lengthwise and crosswise and rinse to clean.
Put leeks in a large saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil.
Lower heat to simmer and cook uncovered about 25 minutes, until leeks are soft.
Drain well. Wrap leeks in a heavy towel to squeeze out as much excess water as possible.
Coarsely chop the leeks. Put in a bowl with the chives, salt and pepper. Stir in the breadcrumbs. (Enough to take up any remaining moisture in the leeks.) Blend in the eggs.
Make 8 patties that are about ½ inch thick.
In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Arrange the patties in the pan so they don’t touch (you may have to do this in two batches) and cook until brown on the bottom side, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook another 1-2 minutes so both sides are evenly browned. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towels.
Serve with a squirt of lemon juice and a wedge of lemon.
Optionally sprinkle minced fresh flat leaf parsley on the plate.
Can be served warm or cold as an appetizer, lunch or side dish. It's as versatile as an egg itself.