Eggstra! Eggstra! New cookbooks to egg you onFree from the cholesterol cloud that almost made them taboo, eggs are back in favor. Well-known food writer and cookbook author Marie Simmons celebrates the re-emergence of these essential, malleable, valuable ovals, symbols of spring and life, with The Good Egg: More Than 200 Fresh Approaches From Soup to Desserts (Houghton Mifflin, $27, 0395909910). Between those kickoffs and finales, you'll find egg-ceptional innovations: the artfully scrambled and fried; the original omelettes and fragrant frittatas; the beguilingly baked and perfectly poached; the seductively stuffed; the unstandard salads; the stews and the braises; the sauce that reaps praises; the steaming hot pastas coated with comfort; the stratas and custards and cutting-edge quiches. Simmons has created novel twists for her favorite dishes scrambled eggs, mu shu pork style, served on a bed of hot rice, Earl Grey (yes, the tea!), and creme brulee. She's included memorable morsels from her global travel lamb stew with artichokes and avgolemono sauce, thickened with eggs and flavored with lemons, brik, a Tunisian treasure made by frying filo packets filled with egg, onion, and cilantro. I've admired and used Simmons's previous books, especially Fresh ∧ Fast, and this new addition only eggs-tends my admiration.
Gayle Pirie and John Clark's small, charmingly designed and illustrated Country Egg, City Egg has more than five dozen recipes for new egg classics that will turn the gloomiest day sunny-side up in no time. While working as eggs-perts (OK I'll stop before I'm eggs-iled) preparing brunch menus at the Zuni Cafe in San Francisco, this pair of chef/consultants came up with wonderful egg dishes simple and sophisticated, with farmhouse freshness and uptown pizzazz that serve as the focal points for lovely little meals a bracing brunch, a luscious lunch, a light dinner, or a midnight winner. A nifty gift that won't lay an egg.
Sybil Pratt has been cooking up this column for more than five years.