Frittata1 Artichoke, leek and broccoli frittata + are your eggs free range?Working on food policy and campaigns at CHOICE has really opened my eyes to a range of food labelling issues. The most concerning is free range eggs. While 40% of Australians pay a premium for free range eggs, chances are we aren’t getting what we think we are paying for. The truth can be far from that happy image we see on our egg carton as there is no national legislated definition of free range eggs only a voluntary model code which guides producers as to what free range is.

Free range standards under the model code state that hens must have access to the outdoors and that there is a maximum 1,500 birds per hectare. However as this is not mandatory, there are many interpretations of free range with some states and territories having their own legislation. This means you could be buying free range eggs and they could have come from a 750 or 10,000 hens per hectare environment, depending on the egg producer. So regardless of whether you want to buy free range or not, the sad fact is, we have very little confidence that we are getting what we pay for.

However it isn’t all bad news, there are certification schemes which require producers to comply with stricter standards as to what constitutes free range. This website is really handy as it lists some of the schemes to look out for and outlines what standards egg producers must adhere to for each scheme.  Another option is to buy eggs from your local farmers market. This at least gives you the opportunity to ask about the conditions of the hens from the actual producer.

To celebrate beautiful free range eggs, I bought a dozen from Addison markets and and decided to make a frittata using the best of spring produce. If you have the time (and can find them) fresh globe artichokes are beautiful – however the artichoke hearts in a jar are a great alternative. This recipe is very flexible so feel free to use any vegetables or herbs you have in your kitchen. Then feel happy about the fact that you are eating happy eggs. Enjoy!

Frittata51 Artichoke, leek and broccoli frittata + are your eggs free range?

Frittata7 Artichoke, leek and broccoli frittata + are your eggs free range?

Artichoke, leek and broccoli frittata

Ingredients
3 globe artichokes (or ¾ cup of marinated artichoke hearts)
1 tbs grape seed oil
2 leeks, white ends sliced
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
½ broccoli, cut into florets
3 sprigs of lemon thyme (basil would also work well)
6 free range eggs
¼ cup grated parmesan
Salt and pepper to season

Method
Preheat oven to 180 degrees. If you have fresh globe artichokes, begin by cooking them. There is a slight process to this, so I recommend you follow these instructions. Once you have boiled them for the allotted time, take them out of the water and cut into quarters. You may need to remove some of the outer tougher leaves.

In a frypan that can also go in the oven, fry the leek on medium heat for 3 minutes. Add the garlic, broccoli, thyme, salt and pepper, and fry for another 4 minutes until soft. You may need to add some more oil or a bit of water if you are using a heavy based pan. Add the artichokes and carefully stir so the hearts don’t break up. While this is cooking, in a mixing bowl whisk the eggs together then add to the fry pan. Stir around and let the eggs cook for a few minutes until the eggs start to set. Add the parmesan to the top, then place in the oven for 5 minutes until the eggs are set (test by shaking the pan – frittata should move a bit but not be too wobbly).

Let the frittata cool a bit then serve up using a spatula. Serve with some fresh, roasted bread and butter.

Frittata2 Artichoke, leek and broccoli frittata + are your eggs free range?

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