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The egg, a mystery of nature and a culinary gem

Wiki Spanish Food editorial team

Eggs are a basic ingredient in cooking, they have a high nutritional value and, gastronomically, are extremely versatile. They contain a large number of easily digestible proteins, and are rich in fatty acids and certain minerals and vitamins. But eggs are much more than a food: they are a part of numerous rituals and popular expressions in mythology and art. They themselves are a work of nature and mystery. Their structure affords them a suggestive beauty, and they fulfil an essential function in the cycle of life.

For many cultures, the egg symbolizes the creation and perfection of the universe. The singularity of its appearance and harmony has forever intrigued aesthetes, mathematicians, and even architects. The Roman Empire and ancient cultures viewed it as a symbol of life.

The egg, which is considered the most basic ingredient in cooking, is an excellent component of any recipe as it forms the foundation of a quick meal. In current-day gastronomy, it offers an alternative, as it can be prepared in a thousand and one different ways.

When choosing eggs, the only truly valid criteria is freshness, although it's always a good idea to check the date they were laid. Size and color do not have any notable impact on quality. The former is simply related to the type of hen that laid it, and with regard to the latter, a larger egg generally has a smaller yolk, which is also considered a nutritious component.

They can be prepared in countless and creative ways, with the result that new and exciting recipes are constantly are being created.

The frequent use of eggs is common in Spain and has given rise to myriad recipes, some of which have gone on to become Spanish cuisine's most famous dishes. They can be used in the following basic dishes: soft-boiled, al plato (cooked on the plate itself), fried, cooked, poached, on the grill, stuffed, scrambled, mollet, and shirred, in addition to the various types of omelet (Spanish, French, with tuna, spinach, eggplant, ham and cheese, salmon, mussels, etc.), in which it is a key ingredient.

They are also used in countless broths and soups and are an integral part of some of Spain's most famous sauces, such as mayonnaise and alioli, and also Hollandaise sauce.

Eggs are a vital component in all kinds of sweets, and are used in sponge cakes, creams, flan, meringue, mousse, custard, soufflés, yemas (egg yolk sweets), and tocinillos de cielo (a dessert made with caramelized egg yolk and sugar). An endless parade of possibilities to sweeten the spirit.

Egg recipes can be found in practically all restaurants in Madrid. Some of them have garnered considerable prestige, driving the success of the restaurant.

ADDRESSES

CASA LUCIO. Cava Baja, 35. Tel.: 913 653 252

CLUB ALLARD. Ferraz, 2 Tel.: 915 590 939

LAGRIMAS NEGRAS. Avd. de América, 41. Tel.: 917 445 405

DASSA BASSA. Villalar, 7. Tel.: 915 767 397.

EL FAISAN DE ORO. Extramuros, 4. Alalpardo Tel.: 916 202 645.

CASA BOTIN. Cuchilleros, 17. Tel.: 913664 217

LA ANCHA. Príncipe de Vergara, 204. Tel.: 915 638 977

ESTADO PURO. Cánovas del Castillo, 4. Tel.: 913 302 400

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11/12/2014