It started on TikTok, as so many viral trends do, and made its way onto other social media platforms. Pesto eggs. I'm not sure where I saw it referred to first, in these ouroboros times, when traditional media devours social media trends and vice versa. But the cooking eggs in pesto demonstration seems to go back to Boston-based TikTok user Amy Wilichowski. Her video has since had millions of views, and been shared widely.
Wilichowski is not the first person to have thought of combining eggs and pesto, but she’s the one whose video went viral, thus bringing the recipe to the wider world.
So what are pesto eggs? What do they taste like? Are they the new smashed avocado and eggs? Will people who want to buy things other than pesto eggs, such as property, be ridiculed and shamed by eating them for brunch in restaurants, where they will surely soon be on the menu?
You don’t need Amy Wilichowski (or me) to remind you how versatile eggs are. They are the dazzling acrobats of the diverse food circus, effortlessly transforming into different distinctive tastes, via boiling, poaching, frying, baking, scrambling.
Like many people, I am rarely without a bowl of eggs in my kitchen; the makings of a quick, delicious protein hit. My own preferences are eggs scrambled in a lot of melted butter, with plenty of either black pepper, or chilli flakes; and poached eggs, which never turn out the same as the last time.
The pesto eggs recipe is to substitute pesto (green in the video) to cook the eggs in on a pan. The oil in the pesto replaces butter or olive oil, or vegetable oil, or whatever base you cook your eggs in.
So yesterday morning I got out a pan, green pesto, took two eggs from my bowl and set about trying pesto eggs. Heated the pan. Spooned in a large spoon of pesto. Watched the oil and crushed pine nuts and Parmesan bits and basil and garlic glisten and glide around the surface. Tipped two eggs into it, both of which immediately slid to opposite sides of the pan, transported there by the pesto oil.
Even without tasting the pesto eggs, I could see why the video had been so appealing to so many. It’s photogenic. The contrasting colours of the vivid green, the bright yellow yolks, the clean white whites sing together.
It manages the difficult trio of looking healthy, and fresh, and appetising. Any food stylist will probably tell you that’s the magic they are trying to achieve when photographing a recipe in preparation. Eating with your two big eyes and all that jazz.
The pesto eggs came out of the pan and onto a slice of the Bretzel Bakery brown sourdough bread I routinely keep in my freezer. They tasted unctuous, in a good way.
I was already wondering about the right quantity of pesto to eggs. Had I used too much? Too little? Would they taste even better if I had flipped the eggs and let them cook in an oily pesto sandwich? Bottom line is, I would definitely try it again.
I realised then why the pesto egg recipe had gone so viral. Everyone who looks at it will probably want to adapt it in some way; make it their own. Fold the pesto through scrambled eggs. Bake eggs in pesto instead of butter. Experiment with pesto quantities when frying.
Once again, eggs prove what new tricks they can perform, in their endlessly inventive acrobatics; the trapeze artists of a vast food circus.