The egg is so elemental that it's become our standard gauge for measuring kitchen capabilities. A college student might confess that all he knows how to make for dinner is scrambled eggs. Or a nation might fret that 40 percent of its schoolgirls "can't even boil an egg." For eaters who care about the future of home cooking, these are clear signs of trouble.
But equating eggs with rudimentary skills does a disservice to the egg, which can be among the most glorious ingredients in the pantry when correctly handled. An example is daily on display at Marche, Daisley Gordon's newish Pike Place restaurant, where the omelet of organic hen eggs is a rich wonder of creaminess and plush.
It takes courage to serve a dish as seemingly simple as an omelet, stripped of all the geegaws that restaurants typically trot out to engage attention-challenged guests. But a beautifully-made omelet doesn't need truffle oil or bacon bits (for more on the mystique of the perfect omelet, check out Francis Lam's classic Gourmet essay on his attempt to master its preparation.) As at Marche, just a tuft of accompanying fresh greens will do.
Conceptually, eggs are among the odder foods in the human diet. Whether or not it's ethically defensible, there's plenty of wild precedent for gnawing on animal flesh. But hijacking reproductive matter from laying birds' nests is a more elaborate, more bizarre maneuver. At Marche, though, it all makes sense.