My personal Breakfast of Champions is a fried egg on a handful of raw greens – say arugula, dandelion, baby spinach, watercress or even mesclun – lightly dressed with extra-virgin olive oil and a few drops of sherry vinegar, salt and pepper, maybe some snipped chives. It is a play on a classic rustic Italian dish: steamed asparagus with a fried egg and some grated Parmigiano. The operating principle is that when you break the soft-cooked yolk, it spills onto the vegetable like a sauce; vegetable and protein, marry, with little fuss, in a single delicious dish.
I love that idea so much that I tried putting a fried egg on all manner of cooked vegetables – roasted sliced onions or peppers, crushed boiled new potatoes, piles of sautéed escarole or wild mushrooms– until it seemed the natural course of things to throw a fried egg on a plate of spaghetti, which, when mixed with Parmigiano, simulated a Carbonara. It is the ultimate lazy person’s supper.
The idea of a breakfast version came from my belief in the energizing power of raw greens coupled with the need for an easily-made and delectable breakfast for myself when I’m moving fast. “Why not throw the fried egg on raw greens,” I wondered “and marry the asparagus-fried-egg gist and with the dandelion-salad-topped-with-a-soft cooked- quail-egg that appears on restaurant menus here and there?”
For me, it is a perfect breakfast, born of a formula that works for any meal, any time of day:
a savory base (cooked vegetables or pasta; if raw greens, dress them with extra virgin olive oil, a few drops of sherry vinegar, salt and pepper)
+ grated or shaved Parmigiano (grated for cooked stuff; on raw greens, use shaved or none at all)
+ a sunny side-up fried egg