From the Publisher
"...appealing, clearly written and unintimidating. Along with classic egg dishes...she offers fresh new ideas to try..." --Susan Puckett
Atlanta Journal Constitution
"I've admired and used Simmons' previous books...and this new addition only eggs-tends my admiration." --Sybil Pratt Bookpage
"Marie Simmons has done an admirable job of saving the good egg from its unfortuante drift toward near obscurity. It you've put off eating eggs long enough to forget how to enjoy them, or have never gotten around to learning about the quickest and most perfect of foods, you will be happily reminded with this praiseworthy collection of dishes." --Deborah Madison, author of Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone and The Savory Way
"Marie Simmons has written an authoritative book that is also easily accessible. She rescues the elegant egg from undeserved obliquity." --Barbara Kafka, author of Roasting: A Simple Art and Soup: A Way of Life
"The Good Egg is a valuable classic and a sheer pleasure--a treasure trove of classic recipes and wonderful stories and the most thorough and complete egg cookery book I have ever seen. Chefs and professional cooks will value it as a reference work, and it is also exellent for beginning cooks: easy to follow, with clear directions for all the egg basics, and fresh and surprising ingredient combinations, as well as do-ahead dishes that fit perfectly into our busy lifestyles. The Good Egg is just plain fun to read." --Shirley Corriher, author of Cookwise
The Incredible Egg
Since May is National Egg Month, I felt that we should celebrate the oval wonder. There is perhaps no food that I love as much as I do eggs (well, perhaps cheese), and with a medically imposed heart-healthy diet, there is no food that I miss as much (except, perhaps cheese). For me, personally, eggs in any form -- soft-boiled, poached, scrambled, sunny-side up, coddled -- have always been my comfort food, so you can imagine what a void their lack has made in my diet. So it was with great delight and much longing that I vicariously read through Marie Simmons' newest cookbook, The Good Egg: More Than 200 Fresh Approaches From Soup to Dessert. This is a very timely cookbook as advocates for a healthy diet are now telling us that most people, those who are not genetically predisposed to heart disease, can frequently eat eggs with no increased risk to their health. And, along with the author, I would guess that many cooks no longer know what to do with one of nature's most perfect foods, the farm-fresh egg.
The Good Egg had its evolution in the sharing of food memories with a couple of colleagues. Marie Simmons' favorite childhood breakfast was a soft-cooked egg served with buttered toast fingers for dipping. Her reminiscence of her love of this special breakfast led to a conversation about how often an egg chore was a child's first kitchen job -- learning how to separate the yolk from the white, peeling hard-cooked eggs, cranking the manual egg-beater. And, then, since everyone was a passionate cook, the conversation flowed on to techniques of using eggs, the science of eggs, and, of course, to recipes. The more they talked, the more Marie Simmons realized that she could fill a cookbook with egg recipes. And, lucky for us, she did. I didn't ask, but I suspect that The Good Egg has been a rather long labor of love for Marie Simmons, since she has, in recent years, become very well-known for the light and healthy recipes featured in her monthly column for Bon Appetit and in her books (especially the Julia Child Award-winning Lighter, Quicker, Better).
Reading through The Good Egg, I came across so many familiar and much-loved and missed classic egg recipes that I had a hard time keeping myself out of the kitchen. When is the last time you had a creamy, rich spaghetti carbonara; a perfect, slightly runny omelette; eggs Benedict (with crisp Canadian bacon and real hollandaise); popovers; quiche Lorraine; egg custard; floating island? I could go on and on. Along with these old-timers, Marie Simmons has filled The Good Egg with a fine array of contemporary recipes using eggs in all of their forms. You will find such tasty meals as Cheddar Scrambled Eggs in Tortillas with Tomato-Avocado Salsa, Mom's Ciambotta with Baked Eggs, Leek, Sun-Dried Tomato and Brie Strata and Spinach, Egg and Feta Pie in Filo Crust. You'll note that I said meals, not recipes, 'cause once you mix the perfect egg with some vegetables, bread, or cheese, you have an easy-to-put-together and quite complete meal.
Along with the great "meal" recipes in The Good Egg, Marie Simmons does a roundup of sauces - old-fashioned mayonnaise, real hollandaise, aioli, and béarnaise among others -- and gives us some wonderful egg-enriched desserts. She also fills the book with tips on buying, storing, and cooking with eggs and egg safety as well as anecdotes, poems, and great introductory material that makes you want to once again embrace cooking with eggs.
Plus, once and for all, Marie Simmons will, I hope, put to rest two questions: 1. Brown eggs or white? Her definitive answer, "The bottom line: The color of the egg shell is purely a function of the breed of chicken; it has no bearing on the taste or the nutritional content of the egg." 2. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Well, she didn't really answer this question, but I would guess that, if you really pinned her down, Marie Simmons would say, "the egg."
After I read through every one of the 200 recipes and felt totally deprived, I decided that I should quit feeling sorry for myself and get into the kitchen. I began adapting Marie Simmons' marvelous egg recipes to my usual egg substitutes. I knew that my versions would not be anywhere near as delicious as those in The Good Egg, but I somehow felt that Marie Simmons would forgive me. With The Good Egg: More Than 200 Fresh Approaches From Soup to Dessert and a dozen eggs at hand, Marie Simmons has made it possible for any cook to make a perfect meal! So be a good egg and add this easy-to-cook-from book to your cookbook library. I guarantee that it will end up being one of your most used books.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Pity the poor egg--in these cholesterol-conscious times it has fallen from grace. Simmons (a James Beard Award winner and Bon App tit columnist) makes a valiant effort to rehabilitate the versatile ovum in this wide-ranging collection of recipes. Simmons provides a brief introduction (including a piece that explains that eggs are high in cholesterol but low in saturated fat, which is the substance that actually raises blood cholesterol in humans), but the bulk of this book consists of recipes for dishes satisfying yet simple enough to serve as last-minute suppers. A chapter on scrambled and fried eggs offers the basics, as well as variations such as Creamy Scrambled Eggs with Curry and Cardamom. Another focuses on omelets, moving from the Basic Omelette to predictable combinations, including a Feta, Spinach and Tomato Omelette, then on to the more adventurous Egg Fu Yung. It would have been easy enough to include almost anything in this cookbook, but Simmons stays true to her theme, including only dishes that feature eggs front and center, such as Carter House Potato "Risotto" with Poached Eggs (made by cutting the potatoes into small cubes and cooking them as one would a risotto) and Anna Teresa's Sensational Fried Stuffed Eggs, in which hard-cooked eggs are opened, stuffed with b chamel, then reassembled and fried. An entire chapter on egg salads brims with innovation, and desserts such as Earl Grey Cr me Br l e and Strawberry Jam Bread Pudding with Almond Streusel Topping are a treat. Simmons may not fully restore the egg to its previous status, but she's made a convincing start. (May) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Read an Excerpt
Spaghetti alla Carbonara
Carbonara is a classic Roman dish of steaming-hot spaghetti, bits of crisp cooked pancetta (salt-cured unsmoked Italian bacon) and a delicate custardy coating of egg and cream. American bacon can be used, but because it is smoked, it will give the carbonara a different flavor. The traditional cheese for carbonara is Pecorino Romano, a sharp sheep's milk cheese from the region around Rome and the island of Sardinia. Parmigiano-Reggiano, a cow's milk cheese with a milder flavor, can be used, if preferred. Whatever way you make it, this is an especially easy dish for a quick supper.
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 4 slices pancetta or thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces 5 large eggs, at room temperature 2 tablespoons heavy cream, at room temperature 1 pound spaghetti 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus extra for serving Freshly ground black pepper Finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (optional)
1. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the pancetta or bacon and cook, stirring, until golden and crisp. Remove to a double layer of paper towels to drain.
2. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs and cream in a medium bowl until well blended. Set aside. Set a large colander in a serving bowl in the sink.
3. Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain the pasta in the colander and immediately lift it out of the bowl to drain off almost, but not quite, all the water.
4. Dump out the water from the warm bowl; blot dry. Immediately add the spaghetti, the egg mixture and cheese and toss vigorously so that the eggs cook through in the heat from the steaming pasta but do not scramble. Add a liberal grinding of pepper and top with the reserved pancetta or bacon and parsley, if desired. Serve at once with more cheese.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.
Eggs Baked in Fresh Tomato Salsa with Melted Cheese
Make your own fresh tomato salsa, or buy a good-quality refrigerated fresh salsa from the supermarket. The flavors are best if you prepare the salsa just before baking and serving. The entire dish, including preparation and cooking times, takes less than 30 minutes.
Extra-virgin olive oil Tomato Salsa 2 1/2 cups diced (1/2-inch) tomatoes (2-3 large ripe tomatoes) 1/4 cup finely chopped sweet onion 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or basil 2 teaspoons fresh lime or lemon juice 1-2 teaspoons minced jalapeno 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 4 large eggs 1 cup grated Monterey Jack or mozzarella cheese (about 4 ounces) Toasted bread
1. Preheat the oven to 400s F. Brush four (8-ounce) ramekins or small gratin dishes (about 5 inches in diameter and 1 inch deep) with oil. Set the dishes on a baking sheet.
2. Make the salsa: Combine the tomatoes, onion, oil, cilantro or basil, lime or lemon juice, jalape-o and salt in a medium bowl and stir to blend.
3. Distribute the salsa evenly among the prepared dishes. Make an indention in the middle of the salsa in each dish. Break the eggs one at a time into a cup and slip an egg into each dish. Sprinkle with the cheese, dividing evenly.
4. Bake until the whites are set, about 8 minutes. Serve at once, with the toast.
Makes 4 servings
TIP: Vary the seasoning in the salsa depending on your preference. A little wine vinegar can be used instead of the lime or lemon juice. Red onion and a mix of red and yellow tomatoes are also good.
-- Copyright (C) 2000 by Marie Simmons. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Company.