Paul Flynn: Eggs are at the heart of so much that is good about food

This everyday ingredient can be functional, but is also a crucial part of so many things that give us pleasure

Smoked mackerel, beetroot and dill tart. Photograph: Harry Weir

Smoked mackerel, beetroot and dill tart. Photograph: Harry Weir

 

Eggs are by far and away our number one purchase at home. Wait, sorry, that’s a lie. Eggs are our number one food purchase. I’m not really privy to the others. All I know that the DPD delivery man will probably be having Christmas dinner with us this year, as the women in our house have got to know him so well. 

They treat me like a mushroom, and I’m happier that way. There’s less fluctuation of my blood pressure. Sometimes I think if we had more children, we’d call them Zara and Asos, and the DPD man would be their godfather.

I revere eggs. They are the foundation of so many things that are good. They can be purely functional, but are also an integral part of so many things that give us pleasure.

This smoked mackerel tart is simpler than you might think. People are getting more ambitious with their cooking and are trying things they may never have done before. A lot of it is about having the time, I suppose, but I find that a little bit of success gives you confidence.

The flavours are lightly smoky and familiar to people who love this sort of thing. You can buy the pastry, of course, and precooked beetroot if you prefer. Personally, I always like a kick from horseradish, but you can add yours to taste.

The last time I had piperade was on my one and only trip to San Sebastián, a couple of years back. I don’t know why it took me so long to get there, but it will be one of my first ports of call when we get out of this mess. It was the last night of the trip, and the soft eggy delight of this classic featured on a tapas tour. It was mighty. That was a few hours before we met the rugby team from Perpignan. The rest I wouldn’t even tell to a guard.

The asparagus recipe relies on precisely boiled eggs. When crushed with a fork, the yolk becomes an unctuous creamy dressing that I just help along with some cream. It’s a lovely simple pairing that shows that when done correctly, things don’t need to be complicated.

Recipe: Smoked mackerel, beetroot and dill tart

Smoked mackerel, beetroot and dill tart. Photograph: Harry Weir
Smoked mackerel, beetroot and dill tart. Photograph: Harry Weir

Recipe: Smoky piperade with chorizo

Smoky piperade with chorizo. Photograph: Harry Weir
Smoky piperade with chorizo. Photograph: Harry Weir

Recipe: Buttered asparagus, crushed egg and chive dressing 

Buttered asparagus, crushed egg and chive dressing. Photograph: Harry Weir
Buttered asparagus, crushed egg and chive dressing. Photograph: Harry Weir
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