Make candied nuts with leftover egg whites. Photo: Tara Deshpande Tennebaum
What do you do with those pesky egg whites, the ones left over from making lemon curd, custard, flans, Carbonara and mayonnaise and those annoying cake recipes that call for one whole egg and one yolk?
Don't waste the egg whites; they are very useful and nutritious. They are a low calorie, fat-free food containing only 17 calories for a standard egg; the yolk is about 55 calories. Egg whites also contain most of the egg’s protein; about 4 grams. They also contain folate, selenium, calcium, phosphorus and potassium.
Egg whites can be frozen for several months, but once defrosted should be used immediately. Pour them into an ice tray, cover, freeze and remove the cubes when you want to use them.
Here's what you can do with leftover egg whites:
Make candied nuts: Candied nuts make for excellent appetizers with cocktails, on hot fudge sundaes, salads and as streusel or crumble on pies. They can also be eaten as a snack with a piece of cheese when you're in the mood for grazing.
Use them while frying: Egg whites serve as an excellent coating for frying chicken tenders, fish fillets, cutlets, thread and noodle chicken and Scotch eggs. Schnitzel can also be made using just egg whites. Spring rolls are also sometimes dipped in egg whites for a crisp and brown finish. My grandmother’s recipe for Chutney Stuffed Pomfret required the fish to be dipped in foamy egg whites and coated with semolina.
Marinate dishes: The Chinese use a technique called 'velveting’ where slices of meat are marinated in egg whites, cornstarch, rice wine and salt before they are cooked. ‘Velveting’ tenderizes the meat and ensures that when it is stir fried it remains tender and moist.
Use them to glaze: Egg whites are an excellent glaze for breads like bagels, when you want to coat the dough with sprinkles, nuts, spices and dried herbs.
To crisp food: You can sometimes add an egg white to your cheesecake base. This prevents it from getting soggy when the filling is poured into it, and especially if you want a biscuit-like base. Brushing biscotti with egg white and sugar also makes it crisper and gives it a good colour while it bakes. Egg white can also be a non- porous base for shredded cheese and breadcrumbs toppings over gratins and bakes. To do this, foam the egg whites, pour it over a vegetable gratin, top with breadcrumbs and cheese.
Make cocktails: A whole range of fizzes and sours use egg whites to create a foamy texture or line the rim with flavoured salts and sugars. Some cocktails that use egg whites are Whisky Sour, Gin Fizz and White Lady.
Eat it for breakfast: Nothing like a wholesome egg white omelette filled with vegetables or a low calorie savoury frittata with herbs. Those who prefer granola for breakfast, there are recipes that use egg whites to boost protein content.
Make meringues: Make individual meringues, larger Pavlovas or an Eton Mess. Serve with cream, compotes, fresh fruits, chocolate and ice cream.
Macaroons: While French macaroons require practice, the American version is much easier. Kids love them and so do grown-ups. Consider chocolate or coconut macaroons using leftover egg whites.
Helpful as thickeners and fortifiers: While sweet corn chicken soup and Pad Thai noodles call for the whole egg, you can easily make do with just the white. They will add body to the soup and bring texture to the noodles.
Make mousse: The best and lightest chocolate mousses are made with only egg whites. Some recipes omit the whipped cream and use extra egg whites for a delicious lactose-free chocolate mousse.
In baking and candy: Egg whites are used in a whole range of cakes and cookies. Home-made marshmallows, Amaretti cookies, Dacquoise - a French nut cake, Angel Food Cake, French financiers, Tuiles and cake frostings like Regal icing.