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Ingredient of the week: Eggs

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10 APRIL 2009

The egg has virtually no equal in the kitchen. It ticks all the right boxes – healthy, inexpensive, delicious – and features in almost all the world's cuisines, from Western cakes to Asian soups.

It's also superbly versatile. Scrambled for breakfast with cream and dotted with slivers of smoked salmon it makes a luxurious start to the day. Served on top of a salad of bacon, a handful of the lettuce-like exotic green known as frisee, and black pudding it's a tasty lunch, while made up into a Spanish omelette studded with chunks of chorizo it forms a hearty evening meal.

A deliciously rich alternative are duck's eggs. Sit a fried one atop a potato cake and you have a snack which is perfectly exquisite in its simplicity. Quails eggs also make an ideal tapas dish with a dab of garlicky mayonnaise on the side to dip them in.