Kitchen Exhibitionist
The Culinary Quests of a Food Enthusiast Stuck in the Sticks

Glorified Simplicity – Fried Eggs with Crunchy Bread Crumbs

I admire recipes that take a basic concept and elevate it to a new height with a few simple flourishes. This is one of those.

The textures in this dish are wonderful! Jumbo Japanese bread crumbs, pan-toasted till just golden, envelop basic fried eggs, precluding the need for toast. The crispy crumbs and the crunchy crystals of coarse salt contrast marvelously with the creamy egg yolks and tender egg whites. The flavors of the olive oil and the (optional) last-minute tincture of red wine vinegar are unusual but delicious touches. This recipe is an interesting twist on the typical fried eggs breakfast but it also makes a nice lunch or a simple supper on top of simply dressed greens.

The original recipe for this dish came from The Zuni Cafe Cookbook by Judy Rodgers, by way of The Best American Recipes 2003 – 2004. Chef Rodgers uses homemade bread crumbs made from ciabatta or other chewy peasant bread. Instead, I use panko, the coarse Japanese breadcrumbs available in Asian grocery stores and the ethnic section of most regular grocery stores. Panko is a cupboard staple for me, which streamlines the preparation of this dish to mere minutes and makes it even crunchier.

Fried Eggs with Crunchy Bread Crumbs
Adapted from The Zuni Cafe Cookbook by Judy Rodgers

Serves 1

3 tablespoons panko bread crumbs
coarse salt, such as fleur de sel or kosher salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar (optional)

Sprinkle the bread crumbs with salt to taste in a small bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and stir to coat evenly.

Place the crumbs in a 6- or 8-inch omelet pan or nonstick skillet over medium heat. Let the crumbs warm through, and then swirl the pan as they begin drying out – they will make a quiet, staticky sound. Stir once or twice.

When the crumbs begin to turn color, quickly add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Stir and flatten the crumbs evenly in the center of the pan. Crack the eggs directlyonto the crumbs and cook to your preference.

I like to make these over easy so that both sides of the eggs wear a crunchy crumb cloak. After the bottoms of the eggs have begun to set, I flip them and cook for just seconds on the other side. Any loose crumbs in the pan will adhere to the just-flipped side of the eggs.

With a wide spatula, lift each egg from the pan and gently flip it back, onto a warm plate. Scrape any crumbs remaining in the skillet over the eggs. Immediately add the vinegar to the hot pan, swirling it once. Pour the sizzling vinegar over the eggs and serve immediately.

I sometimes make the vinegar optional, especially if I’m serving this to someone else for breakfast. The fumes of hot vinegar are not appetizing to everyone in the morning.

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Anonymous Tom said...
This looks delicious. If dinner weren't already started, we would try this tonight.