Every year food lovers around the world talk about “food trends”—the big movements in innovation, the new and exciting happenings in the culinary arts. McCormick puts out an annual Flavor Forecast, highlighting what they see as the big food trends of the year to come. One of their picks this year was egg yolks. In their words, “these golden gems add richness and indulgence in a surprising fashion to a wide range of lunch and dinner menus. Taking on the different tastes and styles of each dish, yolks add excitement, protein and exceptional flavor.”1 In fact, some are even calling 2017 “the year of the egg yolk”.
So what’s so magical about egg yolk? We went to the experts to find out.
Many food writers and critics are predicting that egg yolks will be a hot ingredient in 2017—why do yolks deserve to be the hero on a menu?
Chef Craig Flinn (Executive Chef, Chives Canadian Bistro): I think the consumer is learning to appreciate the humility of the egg but also its incredible complexity. As an ingredient or standalone start on a plate, the visual appeal and buttery flavour delivers. People who truly love the exquisite nature of well-prepared food can really appreciate how wonderful a runny egg yolk can be. And they remain inexpensive and healthy.
Wendi Hiebert (food specialist and professional home economist): Egg yolks offer so many benefits to a menu—rich flavour, creamy mouthfeel, smooth texture, deepened colour, versatile functionality, and nutritional value in the way of vitamins, minerals and beneficial fats. The attributes of the egg yolk naturally give it a starring role on its own or in combination with the egg white.
What are some unexpected ways that chefs can incorporate egg yolks into their creations?
Bonnie Cohen (Director of Marketing and Nutrition at Egg Farmers of Canada): Cured egg yolk shaved on top of pasta, soups, or salads! It can be made in advance and stored for 1 month.
Chef Marysol Foucault (chef and owner of Edgar): Egg yolks add richness and depth. They can add texture. If smoked or cured, they add a little mystery!
Have there been other recent food trends involving eggs?
Chef Craig: The street food craze has certainly embraced the egg; from breakfast hot pots, burritos, tacos, sushi, wood-fired pizzas, and burgers, eggs are a star in many dishes. There is comfort in eating an egg dish; an instant reminder of childhood breakfasts and camping trips, and creative chefs know how to tap into those emotions.
Wendi: One of my favourite recent egg trends was the “put an egg on it” craze where eggs found their way on top of salads, soups, burgers, sandwiches, pizzas, pasta, oatmeal, and more. But why not, since almost anything tastes better topped with a gently fried or lightly poached egg!
Ethan Adeland (Managing Director, Partnerships & Marketing, Food Bloggers of Canada): I’m not sure if it’s a trend, but I’ve seen a lot of talk about egg salad lately as if people have recently discovered it. I’ve been eating it since I was about 4 years old when my grandma made hers with lots of mayonnaise and a dash of paprika… so good!
What are some of the most iconic dishes where the egg yolk plays hero?
Chef Marysol: As we look into other cuisines, we notice that eggs are not simply used as binders, they can have a starring role. We tend to forget that they are protein, and can be the main attraction.
Ethan: A perfectly cooked 6 minute egg in a bowl of ramen looks great and tastes even better. When I think of an egg yolk hero, I think fondly of Eggs Benedict.
What is your personal favourite way to prepare an egg yolk?
Bonnie: My personal favourite is soft poaching an egg and letting the yolk drip all over my eggs benedict—no hollandaise sauce needed!
Ethan: Sunny side up eggs with buttered toast cut on the diagonal. Perfect for dipping.
Wendi: I still remember the first time I tasted sabayon, that light, ethereal dessert sauce made with egg yolks, wine and sugar and often served over fruit or cake. I had to know what it was and how to make it and was glad to learn it wasn’t a complicated recipe… although it does require some diligence with one’s whisk!
Chef Marysol: My heart belongs to pasta carbonara, I am a pretty classic girl.
Chef Craig: I will take either a pickled or fresh hard-cooked yolk and freeze it, then shave it over beef tartare or smoked salmon using a microplane tool. It falls like delicate golden snow and melts in your mouth like frozen butter. That’s the restaurant side of me. At home, my favourite egg yolk dish is simply soft-cooked, served with toast soldiers for dipping into the centre. You really can’t beat it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.