Saturday, May 5, 2012

Eggs To The Rescue

While being in the land of pasta and risotto has been awesome, I'm just thrilled to introduce protein into my life again. I can speak for the whole class in saying we were seconds shy of going into a carb coma so thank goodness we have eggs to the rescue.

Remember that "incredible, edible egg" campaign years ago? Well, it's true. Eggs are incredible. They can be used for so many things and the versatility in how they're cooked is endless. This is where my inner geek comes out when it comes to how amazed I am by food, FYI. Eggs are like this tiny package of goodness all around. One egg contains an amazing amount of nutrients - something like 13% of the average daily requirements - for protein and things like vitamins A, D and E and phosphorous. Every part of an egg contributes to these statistics so it's like a compact, all in one vitamin. Tons of people out there are stuck on just eating egg whites (I've been one of them for years) because there's the whole fat/cholesterol thing in the yolk. The truth is that the yolk contains a higher amount of vitamins than the white. All in all, it's more beneficial, even with the small amount of fat content, to eat a whole egg than to eat just the white. (Ok ok, Erica. You've had a point for years and been right. FINE.) It's honestly counterproductive to give up the vitamins in exchange for leaving out a little fat. Sadly though, we live in an age where fat is the total enemy and people would rather sacrifice things that are truly good for you and pump themselves full of chemicals with fat free everything than to just have a little fat in their diet. What I can tell you with absolutely confidence is that, when you eat something that's rich, yet a true and natural product, you eat much less of it because you're genuinely satisfied. I won't even get into my thoughts on this stuff because we'd be here forever.

Anyway... After working with so many starches lately, these egg dishes were really spectacular. I don't know if that's because I did so well at cooking them or if my body was just crying out for something other than gluten. This post is a bit less interesting because there just isn't much more to talk about unless I go into the fascinating composition itself of the egg. That would take much too long though so I'll just tell you about my favorite dish of the day.

At Salumeria Rosi, Cesare's amazing Tuscan restaurant on the Upper West Side, he does a salad called insalata di uova e carne secca del pontormo that's unlike anything I've ever had before. It's a mixed greens salad served with warm pancetta vinaigrette and soft scrambled eggs. Apparently, this dish was a favorite of the 16th century Florentine painter, Pontormo (hence the salad's name). It's a favorite of Cesare's as well and he makes it delicious. When I saw that it was one of our recipes for the day, I was all kinds of excited. Chef Jessica said pretty frankly that it's the best hangover food, ever. It's also one of those dishes that's pretty awful for you despite the fact that it's a salad. I mean, you make the vinaigrette out of vinegar and the pancetta fat that renders out after cooking it. Um, delicious:
We also practiced poached eggs, which turned out really well for me, and we did a vibrant spring frittata that was so lovely. Though spring ingredients aren't yet at their best, it was still so nice to have a variety of vegetables cooked in after such heavy laden pastas and risotto:
I successfully flipped my frittata in the pan too which was a mighty exciting moment.

I have all sorts of ideas for new egg dishes after learning so much more about them. I just love that I spend my days in the kitchen dealing with things that are equally yummy and educational. It ain't too shabby, that's for sure.   

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