D’Arcy Butler readily admits to being a big lover of eggs.
“They are one of my favourite foods,” said the commercial cooking instructor at the Bay St. George Campus of the College of the North Atlantic in Newfoundland.
“I usually eat an egg in some form pretty much every day.”
While he has never seen the series of television commercials debunking the myth that eggs as the main part of a meal are “weird,” he is certainly a strong believer in the contents of the catchy presentations. He estimates most of the eggs he consumes are part of his main meal.
He presents a strong case for the egg as the main dish. Leading the list is the fact they are not only a valuable source of protein, but they are relatively inexpensive compared to other protein alternatives. And with food prices now a major driver in rising inflation rates, Butler said that is becoming more and more of a consideration with cost-conscious consumers.
Then there is the fact eggs are versatile and can be a good way to help use up some of the leftovers in your fridge.
“There aren’t many foods eggs can’t be used with,” he says, adding that the beauty of it is you can flavour your eggs to individual tastes.
“I personally love egg wraps, and the combinations are almost endless,” he said. “Like an egg burrito with a Mexican twist. Adding a salad pretty much makes it an evening meal.”
Even egg dishes that have been traditionally breakfast fare like french toast are now often seen as a choice for mealtime.
“It is quick and easy to prepare after you get home from work and I have never met a kid that doesn’t like it. Plus, it is a great way to get rid of your stale bread,” he adds.
“It is quick and easy to prepare after you get home from work and I have never met a kid that doesn’t like it.”
— D’Arcy Butler
Eggs are also popular with Chef Craig Flinn. The Nova Scotia chef is actually a “longstanding and proud” Egg Farmers of Canada chef ambassador. “Eggs are such a versatile ingredient that, when combined with other regional ingredients, helps me create a variety of recipes that can be enjoyed throughout the year,” he says.
Flinn is also a firm believer in buying local.
“Being in the kitchen and cooking with my five-year-old son, exposing him to these fantastic ingredients is something I take a lot of joy in each week,” he adds.
“Living in Nova Scotia also helps, as the region is abundant with incredible fresh foods and outstanding farmers who produce high-quality ingredients.”
The Halifax chef points out that eggs are a favourite of many, no matter what time of the day they’re served.
“Eggs have always been a go-to ingredient that I rely on professionally and in my own home kitchen. While I’m no longer cracking eggs in my commercial kitchen, they continue to be a key ingredient in my home kitchen and (are a) preferred food,” he says.
“In fact, one of my children’s favourite foods is a just-cooked omelet for breakfast or dinner.”
East Coasters love their eggs
During his culinary career, Flinn has witnessed significant growth in the consumption of eggs outside the traditional breakfast period.
“I’m continually amazed by the amount of eggs Canadians consume each year; Canada’s egg farmers across the country produce over nine billion eggs each year for Canadians—now that’s a lot of eggs,” he says.
He agrees with Butler about the nutritional value of eggs, noting, “They are packed with protein, healthy fats, and essential nutrients. Eggs are also a quick, easy, and tasty way to help meet your protein needs, with two large eggs containing 13 grams of protein.”
The general manager of Egg Farmers of Prince Edward Island, Michael Cummiskey, said data compiled by the national egg farmers’ organization shows the message is getting through. Cummiskey noted the ads have proven to catch people’s attention with their humourous themes and people tend to remember them.
He said another positive sign is the growing number of restaurants that feature egg dishes on their menu, often aimed outside the traditional breakfast period. He also notes several fast-food chains are offering all-day breakfast options that feature eggs.
To supplement the national campaign, Cummiskey said the provincial organization is doing a television campaign of its own featuring producers and suppliers telling their favourite ways to eat eggs.
“We have been getting really positive feedback,” he said. “People are definitely responding to the message there are plenty of ways to eat eggs and they are all delicious and nutritious.”
Here is one of D’Arcy Butler’s favourite egg recipes that can be made at home:
Eggs and bacon frittata
- 500 g medium-large potatoes such as Yukon Gold
- 100g bacon (he loves slab bacon cut into nice bits)
- 6 eggs
- 60g grated mozzarella
- 1tsp chopped parsley
- Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Wash potatoes well. You can opt to leave the skins on (as Butler does) or peel them if you prefer.
- Place potatoes in a pot of cold salted and bring to a simmer. Allow to cook until just tender but make sure not to overcook your potatoes.
- Cube your bacon into small pieces. If using regular sliced bacon, cut it into pieces about two centimetres or one inch in length. Place in an oven-safe skillet and cook until just done.
- In the meantime, in a large bowl, whisk the eggs until well combined, add in chopped parsley, and season with salt and pepper.
- Drain the potatoes well and slice them about 0.5 cms or one-quarter-inch thick.
- Remove the bacon from the pan and set aside.
- Leave the bacon fat in the bottom of the pan and place the sliced potatoes into the skillet, arranging them to create gaps and pockets that the egg mixture can flow into. Sprinkle the bacon bits over the top of the potatoes. Pour the egg mixture over the top and sprinkle the grated cheese over the top.
- Place the skillet in the preheated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the eggs have cooked.
- When the frittata is fully cooked, remove it from the pan and slide it gently onto a serving plate to serve.