Renee Schettler Rossi at Leite’s Culinaria wrote All Hail the Mighty Egg, a sort of ode to the egg, by asking a wide swath of food people —chefs, cookbook authors, home cooks — their favorite ways to eat eggs. She started by naming a few possibilities…
…wild mushrooms sautéed in duck fat…
…a schmear of pureed aji Amarillo…
…cold leftover polenta crisped in a hot cast-iron skillet…
…a bowl of Captain Crunch…
…then she notated very specific, amazingly clever, sometimes very personal ways to eat eggs from the people she spoke to, all fueled by passion and hunger. (Until I read through the whole piece again, I’d forgotten that I gave my two-cents about eggs, which I always have even when my pantry seems bare. It’s below.)
I went culled about 50 of the ideas, including some doozies from Leite’s readers at the end. You’ll find the ideas in bold face.
‘My favorite is Judy’s eggs with crunchy breadcrumbs, which is kind of elegant in a very humble way.’
Adding buttery crisp breadcrumbs to your eggs lifts them from the ordinary but without straying from the basic ingredients. It’s only the form that changes, but that changes everything. Converting a slab of bread into rough little crumbs and then getting them crisp and delicious takes that tiny bit of extra care that transforms the ordinary into something that is, as Fran says, ‘kind of elegant.’ Add some asparagus and a glass of Sancerre and you have a fine little supper for any night of the week, one you could even share with others.”
One of the A16 restaurant’s staff favorites at the end of the night is an egg poached in whatever our zuppa or minestra for the day happens to be. We heat up the soup in a shallow sauté pan and gently poach the egg in its liquid. When it hits the bowl, the egg is essentially sunnyside-up. Right now, we’re featuring a zuppa from Puglia called cecamariti or “husband-blinder” zuppa. Basically, it’s served so piping-hot that it blinds the husband as he eats it. The soup has a variety of dried beans as well as fresh ceci beans in it, and it’s the perfect zuppa for adding an egg. (Editor’s Note: We found a recipe at Sweet Paul as a guide).
—Liza Shaw, chef and owner, A16 in San Francisco
“’The Great Equalizer.’ It has been said of many things, including education, death, and the three-point line. But what holds this title in my kitchen is none other than the humble egg, cracked into a hot, oil-slicked skillet, and fried. Unless you’re a sucker for cold pizza or day-old Chinese takeout, ‘leftovers’ is a word not typically associated with breakfast. But in the early-morning hours, these suppers make a stellar second appearance under the sunny canopy of a fried, runny-yolked egg
The fried egg works its magic without prejudice. I’d be hard pressed to finger a best of these egg-capped dinners reborn. The fried egg doesn’t play favorites, and neither do I. The sorriest heaps of leftover sautéed vegetables have made the fiercest comebacks; the merest of kitchen scraps have found their second winds, all thanks to the power of this equalizing ovum.”
—Excerpted from Sweet Amandine
I love a dab of fermented black bean chili sauce and sprigs of fresh cilantro!
—Tom Douglas, chef and owner of Dahlia Lounge, Etta’s, Lola, Palace Kitchen, and Serious Pie in Seattle
Eggs, sunnyside-up with toasted brioche.
—From the menu at Sunny Side Up Café in Sayreville, NJ
It’s a vast subject, of course. I live off of fried eggs, partly because I’m so busy, and they’re so quick. I tend to put eggs on things. What I put them on tends to be what’s around…leftovers… a few bit of mushrooms. I love eggs on cooked or raw greens, either as an instant breakfast or dinner, especially dandelion or arugula that’s dressed with good olive oil or sherry vinegar (recipe here.)
One of my all-time favorites is eggs on pasta with Parmigiano-Reggiano (recipe here). The Parmigiano is a very good intermediary as it fuses with the warm yolk to make a lovely sauce that’s sort of carbonara-ish. Eggs cooked in duck fat are really sensational. I’ll often add some minced rosemary or thyme to the pan and the herb makes a little fragrance around the egg, which can be nice. Roasted or sautéed onions are inexpensive and easy. And potato chips are swell, in lieu of toast, if you have nothing else. Although toast of, course, is always wonderful.
—Sally Schneider, creator of The Improvised Life and author of The Improvisational Cook
Our weekend brunch used to feature a wok-fried egg with pork belly, Pullman bread, and green mango salad. I wish we still had it on the menu, it was probably one of the best brunch-type dishes we offered. It was essentially eggs, bacon, and toast, but it had a little bit of spice from the sambal udang kering and a little sweetness from the salad. I would love for that dish to come back.
—Joe Tangnui, general manager of Fatty Crab, in New York City’s West Village and Upper West Side
On a hamburger. That’s definitely my favorite accompaniment. I was vegetarian for most of my young adult years, so I didn’t have eggs at all. Then in graduate school in Charlottesville, my favorite burger place had a burger with an egg on top. It had all the regular stuff—cheese, bacon, tomatoes, lettuce, mayo—just with an egg on top of all that. It just seemed right.
—George Weld, owner of egg in Brooklyn. It’s a casual little restaurant where diners can add a fried egg to their burger for $1.25
Other Egg Affinities: asparagus, bacon and pancetta, basil, bell peppers, especially green, bread, butter, capers, caviar, cheeses (Comte, Emmental, feta, Gruyère, Havarti, mozzarella, Parmesan, Roquefort), chervil, chives, chorizo, cream, cream cheese, créme frâiche, dill, garlic, ginkgo nuts, ham, herb, especially fines herbs (i.e., chervil, chives, parsley, tarragon), leeks, marjoram, mushrooms, olive oil, onions, parsley, pepper, potatoes, smoked salmon, salt, sausage, scallions, shallots, spinach, tarragon, thyme, tomatoes, and truffles.
—Excerpted from The Flavor Bible by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg
We note that CORN is not mentioned. And that is most likely because
EGGS GO WITH JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING!
A soft boiled egg, buttered toast sticks, and good sea salt make the perfect breakfast (along with strong coffee). Swap the toast sticks with asparagus, and it turns into a light dinner. Hard boiled and “pickled” in soy sauce and rice vinegar and I’ve got a nice afternoon snack. I could eat eggs at every meal, probably. —Leanne Abe
My favorite childhood comfort food was sunny-side up eggs on buttered toast, the yolk spread over the toast under the egg, dusted with salt and pepper and each slice cut into precisely 16 pieces. —Nancy
My favorite way to eat eggs is soft scrambled in butter, sometimes with a bit of cheese and then make a sandwich with some tomatoes and mayo.
A beautiful, runny egg yolk is nature’s best sauce over almost anything, though. Some of the best things to put an egg on are asparagus with a shaving of cheese, or over re-fried beans with salsa, chunks of avocado, grated cheese and plenty of hot sauce.—Joan
Shakshouka (an Israeli/Middle Eastern dish) with the whole eggs cooked in a very spicy tomato sauce and properly served in the small cast-iron skillet that it’s cooked in.(Editor’s Note. Check out Susan Dworski’s recipe here.) —Sue Epstein
This is my all time favorite…I am dreaming of it at this very moment. Take a biscuit cutter and cut out a circle in a slice of bread. Melt a pat or so of butter (or if you are really daring, a bit of duck fat) in a skillet, add the slice of bread, the circle cut out, and crack the egg in the hole in the bread. Fry until the golden brown and the egg sets. Flip once and serve with the cut out covering the egg and top with fresh herbs—fried bread and a fried egg—how can you go wrong? I think I must have this right now! —Beth Price, LC Recipe Testing Director
Very, very favorite—softly scrambled in clarified butter with a generous sprinkling of freshly-grated white truffle and a tiny pinch of minced chives and a few Maldon sea salt flakes.—Brenda C.
Three preparations spring to mind:
1) The all-time favorite comfort egg: fried egg and cheese on a roll, from the neighborhood diner.
2)Eggs for dinner: Fry up a couple of eggs Greek-style in a bit of olive oil, with sliced tomatoes and olives in the skillet at well. A pinch of oregano over all.
3) Shamelessly indulgent (and not fried), a New Year’s Day tradition with my husband: eggs soft-scrambled, with generous amounts of shaved black truffle folded in. If I remember correctly, Monet ate scrambled eggs this way. Not for the starving artist. —Allison Parker
When I go to eat eggs for myself, I like them with the yolk that is rare. I usually toast some bread and I like to dip it into the yolk. I have really great memories of eating eggs in Italy as a child, with the yolk really loose.
—Massi Boldrini, chef and owner of Riva Cucina in Berkeley
I love crispy-fried eggs with a splash of lemon. First, I gather the eggs from my chickens in the backyard. Then, using ultra-fresh eggs I cook them in a good dose of extra-virgin olive oil over medium-high to high heat. The eggs bubble and the edges curl and start to brown. I then squeeze a dash of lemon juice, cover and cook for another minute or until the whites are cooked through but the yolks are still soft and runny. Perfection: crispy egg whites with lacy brown edges with golden soft yolks. —Janice Cole
Oh, oh, oh….. And then there is leftover pork barbeque chopped cooked right into the top of an over-easy egg.
And, and, and….. crumble one cooked sausage into about 1/4 cup of black beans, add a little sauteed onion and eat it with fried eggs on a soft corn tortilla. Something about it reminds me very much of Brazilian feijoada. —Bill in Alabama
Read more at Leite’s Culinaria