Start your day with this Mediterranean Frittata that is rich with flavors of Morocco. Eggs are baked with vegetables and harissa paste and topped with feta cheese, parsley and green onion. Frittatas are both easy and delicious!
A month ago I spent a few days with the Ohio Poultry Association in Columbus learning all about eggs. We learned everything from nutritional information, farming practices and cooking techniques. I walked away with an even deeper understanding of the importance of eggs in our diets as well as this Mediterranean Frittata recipe.
One part of our trip included a cook-off competition where we each chose a region of the world and created an egg dish inspired by that place. My partner Maryea from Happy Healthy Mama and I picked Morocco. I love Moroccan flavors as you can see in these Moroccan Chicken Thighs and this Moroccan Red Lentil Soup.
I knew I wanted to include harissa paste in our recipe. It is a staple in many Moroccan dishes and just a couple of Tablespoons can add a huge amount of flavor. You can usually find it in the ethnic sections of grocery stores or you can even make it at home.
This Mediterranean Frittata recipe uses 12 eggs which means each slice is offering your body a good dose of protein. Did you know that the average egg contains 6 to 7 grams of protein? I like to make frittatas for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner.
They are such a versatile dish and can be made using any combinations of vegetables and spices you have on hand. You might remember this Sun-Dried Tomato and Goat Cheese Fritta which I also make often.
EGG FARMING IN OHIO
I live in a state that is one of the largest producers of eggs, Ohio. Ohio has nearly 31 million laying hens that produce more than 8.9 billion eggs a year. That’s a lot of eggs! Ohio is also one of 10 states that has an egg quality assurance program.
The Ohio Egg Quality Assurance Program (OEQAP) is a voluntary program that is intended to minimize the risk of Salmonella Enteritidis (SE) in eggs, and is a cooperative effort between egg producers and farmers, the Ohio Poultry Association and the Ohio Department of Agriculture.
Ohio’s egg farms follow all state and national guidelines, including FDA’s national Egg Rule, to ensure eggs are safe and free from Salmonella and other foodborne bacteria. The egg farmers also participate in the United Egg Producers Certified animal care program. The guidelines place top priority on the comfort, health and safety of the chickens and include:
- Increased cage space per hen.
- Standards for molting based on current, verified scientific studies.
- Standards for trimming of chicks’ beaks, when necessary, to avoid pecking and cannibalism.
You can watch how Ohio’s egg farmers produce safe, nutritious, high-quality eggs and keep hens healthy below!
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BROWN AND WHITE EGGS?
BROWN VS. WHITE: The breed of the chicken determines eggshell color. The color of a hen’s ear area is the color indicator, with a white or light spot meaning white eggs. Usually, white hens lay white eggs, and brown hens lay brown eggs. Brown chickens are usually larger and require more food to make an egg, which is why brown eggs may cost more than white eggs.
Are you wondering if there is a nutritional or quality difference between colors? Scientists have compared eggs with brown shells to those with white shells to see if there is any difference. Several studies have found that shell color has no significant effect on egg quality and composition.
The breed of the chicken determines eggshell color. The color of a hen’s ear area is the color indicator, with a white or light spot meaning white eggs. Usually, white hens lay white eggs, and brown hens lay brown eggs.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF EGGS?
CAGE-FREE: Cage free is regulated by the USDA, but it only means that the hens don’t live in cages. It doesn’t specify or indicate how much space they have, or whether or not they see the outdoors.
FREE-RANGE: The USDA also regulates this. Free range means hens are given continuous access to the outdoors during their production cycle. This does not guarantee that a hen ever actually stepped foot outside, it just means there was a way for them to do so.
PASTURE-RAISED: This is not regulated by the USDA. But in order for pasture-raised eggs to also be labeled certified humane the hens are given ample space to roam outdoors, 108 square feet and have access to a space with cover.
TIPS FOR EGG STORAGE AND CONSUMPTION SAFETY
EGG STORAGE: Shell eggs and hardboiled eggs need to be returned to the refrigerator with two hours. But if the temperature is 85 degrees or above the eggs need to be refrigerated within one hour. Dishes containing egg, casseroles and quiches, need to be served immediately and the leftovers refrigerated. If serving on a buffet use ice or freezer packs with commercial coolant to keep cold foods cold (40° F or lower) and food warmers or thermal containers to keep hot foods hot (140° F or higher).
RAW EGGS: Raw eggs or any products containing raw eggs should not be eaten. This includes cookie dough, cake mix, or other yet to be cooked foods that contain raw eggs.
HARD BOILED EGGS: Hard-cooked eggs should be refrigerated within two hours of cooking and used within one week. Shell eggs have a protective coating that is washed away when they are hard-cooked. This leaves the pores in the shell open for bacteria to enter.
FREEZING EGGS: Freezing is an option if you have more eggs on hand then you can use. Remove eggs from their shells, beat until just blended, and place in a sealed container. Eggs can be frozen for up to one year. To use frozen eggs, properly thaw them in the refrigerator or under running cold water. Never thaw eggs on the counter as this may promote the growth of harmful bacteria!
HOW ARE EGGS IMPACTING THE ENVIRONMENT?
A study by the Egg Industry Center shows that egg farms have reduced their environmental footprint over the last 50 years through improved hen feed, better disease control, advancements in how hens are housed and a reduction of natural resource use.
Compared to 1960, eggs farms have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 71 percent, are using 32 percent less water while producing 27 percent more eggs. Click here to learn more
ARE ORGANIC, FREE RANGE, PASTURE-RAISED OR OTHER TYPES OF SPECIALTY EGGS SAFER THAN CONVENTIONALLY RAISED EGGS?
Many safeguards are in place on commercial egg farms, through processing and transport, and in the store. Shell eggs produced in the U.S. are subject to oversight from both Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and several states have additional programs.
Provided these safeguards are followed, safe and wholesome eggs can be produced in a variety of housing environments. In comprehensive university research by the Coalition for Sustainable Egg Supply, there were no differences in egg safety and quality between the three different hen housing environments that were studied.
You can feel free to swap our the vegetables for any you like. I think any bell pepper works nicely as well as zucchini or cauliflower. Feel free to use a mixture of Moroccan spices like coriander, cumin, paprika and turmeric. You can substitute goat cheese in the place of the feta cheese.
You can feel free to swap our the vegetables for any you like. I think any bell pepper works nicely as well as zucchini or cauliflower.
Feel free to use a mixture of Moroccan spices like coriander, cumin, paprika and turmeric.
You can substitute goat cheese in the place of the feta cheese.