Breaking News Bar
posted: 4/3/2014 5:01 AM

Eggs break out, crack the haute cuisine scene

hello
Success - Article sent! close
  • Oven eggs with olive oil and dukkah

      Oven eggs with olive oil and dukkah
    Associated Press

  • Eggs in puttanesca with angel hair pasta

      Eggs in puttanesca with angel hair pasta
    Associated Press

  • "Egg: A Culinary Exploration of the World's Most Versatile Ingredient," by Michael Ruhlman

      "Egg: A Culinary Exploration of the World's Most Versatile Ingredient," by Michael Ruhlman
    Associated Press

  • "Eggs on Top: Recipes Elevated by an Egg," by Andrea Slonecker

      "Eggs on Top: Recipes Elevated by an Egg," by Andrea Slonecker
    Associated Press

 
By Michelle Locke
Associated Press

Don't tell James Beard Award-winning food writer Michael Ruhlman that eggs are trending.

True, he's got a new book out this spring, "Egg," that's all about the sunny little kitchen staples. And he's certainly aware that more people are catching on to the fact that the egg is "just this really fabulous, versatile ingredient." But the problem with eggs being trendy is that it implies they could -- or maybe even did -- fall out of fashion, which is not something he'll entertain.

Order Reprint Print Article
 
Interested in reusing this article?
Custom reprints are a powerful and strategic way to share your article with customers, employees and prospects.
The YGS Group provides digital and printed reprint services for Daily Herald. Complete the form to the right and a reprint consultant will contact you to discuss how you can reuse this article.
Need more information about reprints? Visit our Reprints Section for more details.

Contact information ( * required )

Success - request sent close

The egg, after all, can be "the height of refinement or the quintessential simple peasant dish. It can be four-star cooking or it can be a last-minute on-the-run lunch," he says. "What can't it do?"

Eggs, of course, are a basic ingredient and not likely to become tomorrow's shrimp aspic. But their popularity is definitely on the rise.

According to the American Egg Board, consumption is at a seven-year high with Americans adding three eggs per person for each of the last three years, bringing the 2013 per capita total to just over 250 eggs.

Kevin Burkum, senior vice president of marketing for the egg marketing group, sees the increase as being partly about the shift toward protein-based breakfasts as well as the fine dining trend that has turned eggs into the same type of dish-finishing flourish as bacon.

Need convincing? Try typing #putaneggonit in Pinterest.

"The fact is there is nothing that isn't improved when you put a well-cooked egg on top of it," says Ruhlman.

Andrea Slonecker, who also has a new book out, "Eggs on Top: Recipes Elevated by an Egg," would agree. "People are finding the value in a beautiful egg as a source of protein, as the main attraction in their meal," she says.

At its simplest, eggs come with a built-in sauce that can add taste and interest to a salad, a plate of steamed vegetables or a bowl of rice. And at the higher strata of kitchen techniques, it's the key to perfectly-executed souffles and fancy desserts.

For the home cook, Slonecker advises not overcooking eggs, which can get tough fast. Instead, stop just before they're done because there'll be carry-over cooking after you take them off the heat. And think outside the egg carton; not every egg must be scrambled. Slonecker sometimes poaches eggs in milk or browns butter, perhaps with a little sage, and then cracks the egg into the pan.

Ruhlman's book began when he started pondering all the many, many ways eggs can be cooked while he was writing "Ruhlman's Twenty," a book about cooking techniques. He called in his wife Donna, who in addition to being his photographer has better handwriting, and asked her to start writing the methods -- in shell, out of shell, boiled, fried, blended, etc. -- on a piece of rolled parchment. The resulting egg flow chart was what he ended up showing publishers.

"That was my book proposal, this 5-foot-long piece of parchment paper," he says. "And that's how the book came about. It came about with my wanting to explore something."

So this is one instance where, without a doubt, the egg came first.

Share this page
Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.
    help here