04/08 This Thing with Eggs: Where did it Start?
- opinionatedchef Apr 19, 2008 05:46 PM
On our 3 week foodie vaca. to Cal./SF in March, it was clear that poached eggs/eggs en cocotte/fried eggs are all the rage. Of the 20 non-ethnic places where we dined, every single restaurant's dinner menu included a dish that featured a cooked egg. In my recollection, this was not the case last year in SF. Does anyone know where this trend started in Cal/SF? A particular chef? (Just to clarify, I am not talking about the French trad.item of a soft egg on salad; I am talking about the inclusion of an egg on all kinds of entrees, sides, etc.- that are not traditional uses.) The practice is creeping into Boston now too.Appreciate your thoughts.
Think recession. Cheaper eats on menu to keep customer from going to cheaper places. And maybe veggie.
I am only implying that someone decided to "throw it against the wall and see if it sticks" based on it's inclusion in other dishes. It worked and now everybody wants one. You will probably not find anyone to take the responsibility and say I am the man or woman who was first. Or worse, there will be many contenders.
I suspect the trend has been driven largely by the increasing quality and prices of local eggs. If you pay $7 a dozen for Soul Food Farm or Marin Sun Farm pastured eggs, you want to highlight the ingredient.
The trend was surely also inspired by the many traditional uses chefs encounter eating around: chawan mushi, oeuf cocotte, egg on pizza, egg in soon dobu, fried egg on hash, Caesar salad, salade Lyonnaise ...
re: Robert Lauriston
The following recipe is taken from an old Roman cookbook
MARCUS GAVIUS APICIUS: DE RE COQUINARIA
SARDA ITA FIT (Tuna)
(Apic. 9, 10, 2)
500g cooked tuna fillet
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/2 tsp Liebstoeckl
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp rue
150g dates (without stones)
1 tblsp honey
4 hard boiled eggs (in quarters)
50ml white wine
2 tblsp wine vinegar
2-3 tblsp green olive oil
Cook tuna fillet. Mesh fillet together with dates, honey, wine, vinegar,
Defritum and oil. Put mass into a bowl and garnish with egg quarters.
Possibly the first Caesar salad.
re: Robert Lauriston
I agree with Robert. Chefs are responding to a drastic increase in the quality of eggs available. Marin Sun Farms began selling organic, pastured eggs just five years ago. For the first few years, supply was extremely low. The popularity of Marin Sun Farms eggs (and the hefty price tag) has inspired many farmers to start selling pastured eggs. Riverdog and Soul Food just started selling pastured eggs over the last couple of years.
I don't think it's a conspiracy. The practice wouldn't be spreading if diners didn't like it. I suspect people like having an egg thrown in, as it were, because eggs are something they feel guilty about eating at home (cholesterol, and all that). We are more permissive about our diets when we eat out or travel, and heck, it's only ONE egg.