You can fry them, shir them, scramble or roll them up. Is there a more versatile food at your fingertips? It’s that incredible egg, long on the upswing after its battering on the health front.
But everyday eggs can be so, well, everyday, always pleasant and comforting, with a predictability and demeanor that might as well whisper, “It’s time to wake up.”
But when morning takes on grander importance, for those celebrations with guests around the table, the egg can be dressed up.
Consider the roulade, a curlicue of egg, cheese and vegetables. Made from a batter that cooks in a jellyroll pan, the eggs become nearly as firm as a crepe. Or think simple but dressed up, on the order of scrambled eggs on bruschetta. Then there’s the shirred egg, an everyday kind of dish that’s turned on its head when cooked with cream and lemon and anything else you might want to add.
Whatever the option, morning couldn’t taste better.
Serves 6 to 7
Note: This calls for a 10- by 15-inch jellyroll pan (a baking sheet with edges). If you have a different size, just shape the batter on the pan accordingly.
5 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons. flour
1 1/4 cups milk
4 eggs, separated
Freshly ground black pepper
Filling (see below)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the 10- by 15-inch jellyroll pan with parchment paper; either butter or spray it with cooking oil.
Melt butter in a medium saucepan. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Increase heat to high, whisk in the milk and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring often.
Transfer flour mixture to a large bowl. Whisk in the egg yolks one at a time. Season with pepper.
Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Stir a third of the whites into yolk mixture and fold in the rest.
Pour the batter onto the parchment paper and smooth it out. Bake for 15 minutes, or until firm to the touch.
Meanwhile, prepare any filling that needs to be warmed. Increase oven temperature to 375 degrees.
Cover the egg surface with another oiled or buttered piece of parchment. Invert onto the counter, and peel off the parchment on the top.
Sprinkle the egg surface with whatever filling is to be used. Starting on the long side of the egg surface, and using the parchment on the bottom to help, roll up the egg, jellyroll fashion.
Place the roulade back on the jellyroll pan, with parchment underneath, and return it to the oven. Bake until any cheese in the filling has melted, about 10 minutes. To serve, cut into ½-inch slices.
The filling must be prepared and hot (except for cheese) before it is placed on the cooked egg surface. Make sure any moisture in the vegetables is gone; heat in a saute pan to assure it.
Diced tomatoes or roasted red peppers and grated cheddar cheese; diced sauteed mushrooms and Gruyere cheese; cooked, chopped spinach (make sure it’s thoroughly dry) and Parmesan cheese; slices of prosciutto and any grated cheese; black beans and diced roasted red peppers; diced ham and grated cheddar cheese; smoked salmon (lox), whipped cream cheese (so it’s easy to spread), chives or capers; cooked and crumbled bacon or sausage
Grated cheese or fresh, minced herbs; salsa; green chile sauce; Hollandaise sauce
Adapted from Sara Moulton
BRUSCHETTA WITH EGGS AND LOBSTER
Note: Bruschetta is a traditional toasted bread topped with something tasty. If you cut the bread on the diagonal, you will get more surface. You can toast the bread an hour or so in advance, but the eggs and lobster need to be cooked right before serving. Each 5-ounce lobster tail will provide 4 ounces of meat.
1 baguette, cut in 16 (1/2-inch) slices
1 garlic clove, peeled
2 or more (5 ounces each) lobster tails (defrosted, if frozen)
14 eggs, beaten until yolks and whites are well-combined
4 ounces cream cheese, cut into small cubes (or Boursin cheese, see note)
Fresh chives, chopped
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
Truffle oil, optional
Toast bread in oven or in toaster. Rub one side of each slice with garlic (if you don’t like garlic, omit this). Butter and set aside.
Prepare the lobster: Do this before you start the eggs so there isn’t too much going on at the same time. To remove meat from shell, use kitchen shears to make two cuts along the underside of tail (the softer side) and break away the shell.
Once the meat is out of shell (before or after it is cooked), remove the black vein that runs along the tail (pull it out or make a cut along the meat, as you would to devein shrimp, and pull the vein out).
Choice of options for cooking lobster:
Remove meat from shell and saute whole in 2 tablespoons butter, basting it often, for about 5 to 8 minutes, until cooked through, then chop or slice for the eggs, or remove uncooked meat from shell and chop into chunks and saute in 2 tablespoons butter before adding to the eggs; or poach meat in the shell for about 3 minutes in water to which some white wine, carrot, celery, onion, chile flakes, fennel seed, mustard seed, peppercorns, bay leaf, thyme, kosher salt and lemon and oranges have been added. (Bring the water to a simmer before adding the tail.)
To prepare eggs: In each of two nonstick pans (or one large pan), melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add eggs and turn heat to medium-low. For the largest curds, cook eggs with little stirring, instead pushing cooked part aside with a spatula and allowing uncooked eggs to move into place. When almost done, add cream cheese and stir. Remove from heat. (Eggs will continue to cook.)
To serve: On each plate, overlap two slices of toasted bread. Divide eggs and place on toast. Top with lobster and sprinkle with chives, a little salt and pepper. Drizzle a bit of truffle oil over eggs, if using.
Substitutes for lobster:
Smoked salmon, topped with fresh dill instead of chives; cooked crabmeat; small or medium-size cooked shrimp; cooked whitefish
Adapted from Bar La Grassa in Minneapolis
SHIRRED LEMON EGGS
Note: Zest is the grated colored rind of citrus fruit. This recipe can easily be increased. Ramekins are individual baking dishes, about 3 to 4 inches in diameter.
Butter for the ramekins
4 tablespoons heavy cream, divided
1 teaspoon lemon zest (see Note)
3 tablespoons grated Gouda cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons minced herbs (dried fines herbs or fresh parsley, oregano, tarragon, marjoram or thyme)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter 2 ramekins well and pour 1 tablespoon cream in each. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest and 1 1/2 tablespoons cheese over the cream in each ramekin. Salt and pepper to taste.
Crack 1 egg into a cup and carefully pour it into a ramekin (this is to assure that the egg yolk doesn’t break or have a spot on it; if it does, use another egg); repeat with remaining egg into second ramekin.
Pour the remaining tablespoons of cream over the eggs. Scatter herbs over the top.
Bake for 12 to 16 minutes (about 15 minutes for the white to be cooked, but the yolk will still be soft and a bit runny).
Add lemon zest to the top of egg before it’s cooked.
Add salsa or Asian chile sauce over eggs when they come out of the oven.
Prosciutto-wrapped: Place a paper-thin slice of prosciutto in each ramekin (cut to assure it fits the dish without overhanging) and bake for 10 minutes. Continue with recipe, first warming cream before adding it to ramekin. Add egg and seasoning.
Ham (or prosciutto) and mushrooms: Finely chop ham, mushrooms and green onions. Toss with a little brie and place mixture in ramekins. Top with egg and additional cheese over egg and bake.
Florentine: Spread 1 tablespoon chopped cooked spinach on bottom of each ramekin. Top with egg and 1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
From “The Breakfast Book,” by Marion Cunningham