Few recent culinary makeovers are more dramatic than the transformation of the egg from ingredient non grata to gastronomic superstar. Unreasonably maligned for years as a nutritional villain, the egg has regained its rightful place at the center of creative dishes that range far beyond conventionalentrees.
The Poacher, First Watch
Breakfast-and-lunch chain First Watch follows French tradition with The Poacher, which combines spinach and avocado with bacon and tomato, all topped with a poached egg.
That dish is a cousin of the classic salade Lyonnaise, in which frisée or other bitter greens are topped with bits of bacon and a poached egg, which, when pierced with a fork, bathes the salad in a luscious drizzle of flavor and color.
Breakfast Panini Sandwich, Shari’s Restaurant & Pies
Another French import, the croque-madame is a ham-and-cheese sandwich topped with an egg, and is appearing on more brunch menus, as at Blue Plate Kitchen in Dallas. By contrast, Shari’s goes Italian with a Breakfast Panini Sandwich that starts with grilled flatbread and adds applewood-smoked bacon, eggs, Cheddar cheese, lettuce and tomato.
View more menu items from Sweet Tomatoes, Red Robin
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Mediterranean Sunrise Pasta, Sweet Tomatoes
Eggs are also being used in pasta dishes. Soup-and-salad-bar operator Sweet Tomatoes features the nicely named Mediterranean Sunrise Pasta, in which ingredients like feta cheese, spinach, tomatoes and basil combine with scrambled eggs and linguine to provide breakfast with an international accent.
While slow to gain traction, the use of eggs on pizza is gradually picking up steam. Atlanta’s popular Hearth Pizza Tavern generated buzz with its Chorizo Sunrise, a promotional pie that sported chorizo, egg yolk, cilantro and salsa picante.
Royal Red Robin Burger, Red Robin
If eggs are the hot ingredient of the moment, it stands to reason that they play a role in the hot categories of the moment: hamburgers and hot dogs.
Casual-dining chain and burger specialist Red Robin has offered the Royal Red Robin Burger — dubbed the aristocrat of burgers and crowned with a fried egg, since the 1970s. A more recent arrival on the scene is the signature Brunch Dog at Chicago’s Franks ’N Dawgs, where they are fried over easy and accompanied by pork loin sausage, smoked bacon and maple mayo.
Nancy Kruse, president of the Kruse Company, is a menu trends analyst based in Atlanta.
Contact Nancy Kruse at email@example.com.