Inspired by the Portlandia put-a bird-on-it-sketch in which Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein insist that putting a bird image on anything, and I mean anything, makes it design savvy and market-worthy, this post revolves around a similar concept. If a bird is your go-to design punch in a pinch, then I say that eggs might be the culinary counterpart to that admittedly warped but really funny comedy riff. The eggs, however, can actually be taken seriously. No, seriously. Put an egg on it.
Try putting an egg on things and they might be the cohesive element in a pile of mismatched ingredients that make a meal. The other day I saw a recipe for poached eggs and leftover pasta. I love Pasta Carbonarra – eggs, cream and Parmesan stirred into steaming hot pasta forming this luscious creamy sauce that coats every single noodle, heaven – but the idea of plopping a poached or fried egg on to a pile of pasta got me thinking what I would or wouldn’t put an egg on. If I hadn’t grown up eating vinegar-dressed, steamed spinach with hard-boiled eggs I couldn’t have imagined what a good combination it is. Putting eggs on things might be the time to be a revolutionary in the kitchen. Your call.
Start with a pile of whatever, steamed greens, potatoes, toast, salad, farro, rice, pasta, any combination of roasted vegetables, tomato sauce, tomato soup . . . whatever it is get it all ready beforehand because the eggs cook quickly, which is part of their appeal. After that, try to get the cooking of the egg about right. Over or under cooking can wreck a good egg in a heartbeat, not an exaggeration. Developing some egg cooking skill might not be at the top of anyone’s bucket list, but it’s worthy of some attention. Nicely cooked, they’re tender and delectable, comfort food at its best. Overcooked, not so much.
So it’s worth it to put some effort into cooking eggs just so, whatever that is for you. For me it’s just barely done whether it’s a quiche, scrambled, poached, steamed or hard boiled. It means having a plan and being attentive – setting a timer? – for just those few minutes while eggs are cooking.
3 Ways to Put An Egg On It: Steamed, Baked, or Hard Boiled
Recipe for Steamed Eggs
Equipment: a small or large sauté or frying pan, depending on the number of eggs you’re cooking, with a lid that fits
Ingredients: eggs/ butter/ salt and pepper/ water
Directions: Melt 1 teaspoon of butter per egg into a skillet/ When butter sizzles add egg (or eggs), salt & pepper/ Add 1 tablespoon of water to pan and place lid on/ Steam for 1 – 2 minutes for cooked whites, but soft yolk, longer if you’d like a harder yolk/ Take a quick peak mid-way to help determine timing/ Number of eggs in the pan affects cooking time, faster for one or two eggs than for three or four/ Remove from pan and put the eggs on anything you like. Almost anything.
There are classics for putting fried, steamed, poached, or baked eggs on things: toast, potatoes, steamed spinach – or any green – lightly dressed with olive oil and vinegar, leftover rice, grated cheese, salad, hotcakes, waffles, soup, baked beans . . . you name it you can probably put an egg on it or in it.
Recipe for Baked Eggs in Tomato Sauce
Equipment: Casserole dish or individual ramekins
Ingredients: 2 C tomato sauce, or enough to generously cover the bottom of a casserole or individual ramekins/ 4 eggs/ 2 – 4 T grated Parmesan cheese, salt & pepper. Any cheese would work.
Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees/ Spread tomato sauce in the bottom of baking dish/ Break eggs one at a time into a small dish and then gently transfer into casserole which has been spread with the sauce/ Sprinkle eggs with salt & pepper to taste, and grated Parmesan/ Bake for 8 – 10 minutes in preheated oven, checking occasionally/ Eggs are done when they suit your own taste for runny or set/ Serve with almost anything.
Put a bird on it or put an egg on it, either way your design and culinary tastes are on track.