The “incredible, edible egg” is back. Eggs are trendy – not just for hunting at Easter time – but in dishes as a main ingredient or added element. The start of spring sees eggs featured at Nowruz, Passover, Easter and other festivities. While the chocolate ones are exceptionally popular, it is the ones with yellow yolks surrounded by white that are finding renewed interest in dishes ranging from the elegant soufflé to the simple scramble.
Sales of eggs are increasing. This popularity spurt may be related to the economy; eggs are relatively inexpensive. But, the resurgence in popularity may be partly because of the simple egg’s new reputation for helping weight loss and partly because of their versatility.
Consumption of eggs in the U.S. is at a seven-year high, according to the American Egg Board. They report that Americans, on average, added three more eggs to their diet each of the last three years. The 2013 total per person was now more than 250 eggs a year. Yes, some are hidden in baked goods, but many are consumed in egg-based dishes. The increase is partly reflects a shift toward protein-based breakfasts, according to Kevin Burkum, Senior VP of marketing for the egg board, and a fine dining trend toward using eggs as a similar type of dish-finishing element as bacon.
One reason why eggs are back in, and not just for the imminent Easter holiday, is the health aspect. After being vilified for years because of cholesterol, nutritionists are now touting the egg. They are recommended as a perfect way to start a day with energy. As a form of animal protein without the added fat found in meat, eggs are a nutritional powerhouse and a fat-burner too. Dietary studies have found that people who eat an egg every morning in addition to (or besides) some toast or cereal, they lose double the weight as those who eat a carb-based breakfast.
Some new cookbooks out this spring specifically focus on egg recipes. James Beard award-winning food writer Michael Ruhlman even named his new cookbook, Egg. The book is full of ways to use eggs as a versatile ingredient in a quintessential simple peasant dish or in the height of refinement. He has also noted that egg dishes can range from four-star cooking or be a last-minute lunch.
Eggs on Top: Recipes Elevated by an Egg is another new cookbook out. This one, by Andrea Slonecker, uses eggs to add flavor in sauces and as an ingredient to enhance a salad, steamed vegetable plate or rice bowl.
People are also looking online for simple egg recipes. Searches for egg-related recipes have soared of late, according to Yahoo. Yes, many people are looking up how to make hard-boiled eggs so they can dye them for Easter, but Yahoo reports that searches for other egg dishes have increased. For example, “scrambled eggs” searches are up nearly 400 percent. Yahoo searches for “deviled eggs” have jumped 131 percent over past week. Other newly popular searches include “eggs benedict,” “poached eggs,” and “soft boiled eggs.” These are all signs that the egg is trending today. Eggs are back in as a featured food, and not just for this coming Easter weekend.
By Dyanne Weiss