I believe perfect food exists. And it is, unequivocally, the egg.
I have always loved eggs. Growing up, I learned how to scramble them with a flat wooden spatula, scraping back and forth, pushing the little pile of eggs to the middle of the pan, then around the pan a few times. My early scrambled eggs were pretty dry, it would be years before I learned to turn heat down and whisk the eggs into soft submission. I also learned how to fry an egg, flipping it with a spatula and being immensely proud if the yolk remained intact. My mom taught all of us to make omelets,
In our home, food preparation was a group effort. On school mornings, the first fully-clothed and ready for school kid into the kitchen in the mornings got to pick what was for breakfast. If I was the first one we’d have fried eggs or scrambled eggs, toast, juice and be on our way to school. If it was my older brother, we had cereal. This plan of my mother’s (to have five kids who could fend for themselves in the kitchen) worked pretty well, even when we all went to different schools and had breakfast at five different times.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve refined my tastes – or so I would like to believe. These days, I eat fried eggs on hamburgers (pretty classy and packs a protein punch) and am always looking for interesting fillings for deviled eggs. My favorite thus far is smoked salmon, fresh dill and crème fraiche. It is indulgent and naughty – and perfect for lazy afternoons.
My new favorite breakfast is Mark Bittman’s Baked (Shirred) Eggs. The recipe is simple, the results are delicious. This is really easy for people who have trouble getting out of the house without causing utter chaos. (I am one of those people.)
First, preheat your oven to 375. Do this after you’ve showered, but before you dry your hair. Spray the inside and sides (lightly) of two ramekins. If you like creamy eggs, pour a couple of teaspoons of cream into each ramekin. Break an egg into each cup and then set them on a baking sheet.
Go dry your hair.
Bake for 10-15 minutes. During this time, finish getting ready, but stay near the kitchen. If you like your eggs a little soft, take them out at about 11 minutes. Sprinkle each with a little salt and pepper and serve. I like to eat them with a spoon.
If you have leftover vegetables (I like spinach, especially), serve the eggs on top of your reheated veggies.
Julia Child’s recipe calls for the ramekins to be placed in a pan of hot water and baked for 10 minutes. Her method yields very custardy eggs – heating the cream in the ramekins first, then adding an egg to each once the cream is hot, pouring more cream and a pat of butter (really!) over the egg and baking for 7 minutes.
New Year’s Resolution Breakfast it is not. If it makes you feel better, have some whole grain toast and fruit on the side.