Don't fear the egg

The beauty of an egg is its simplicity–simplicity embodied in its elegant shape and intelligent design. Inside the egg, there is a delicate liquid dance of light and dark—a golden orb of yolk suspended in a viscous, protective fluid. Combined, these elements are powerful enough to support a life. In the hands of skilled chef, the egg is the center point of a meal or the central ingredient behind rich sauces or a delicate soufflé.

Up until recently, I feared the egg.

My fear wasn’t based on science, agricultural politics, or some kind of bizarre food phobia. No, my fear was based on the power of one single cooked egg to confirm (or disprove, in my case) my level of skill in the kitchen.

If I can conquer all sorts of culinary challenges, my thought process would go, how is it an EGG can thwart me?

It an embarrassing thing for a food writer to admit, being afraid of cooking eggs. I mean, after years of cooking, brining, roasting, fish gutting and baking, I should have long ago gotten over this fear of an egg-centered breakfast. Granted, I kept my fear in the closet for years after mastering egg poaching, just so I could continue on living like a perfectly normal, food-obsessed woman in the kitchen. And now, after years of quiet observing and coaching (Thanks husband!), I am now happy to report I can now cook scrambled and sunny-side up eggs as well as fluffy omelets without breaking into a sort of culinary panic attack.

But for anyone like me that still may secretly fear they might undo any culinary status they’ve built up with friends and family by making a terrible egg dish, I offer the following fool proof dish that will wow any breakfast guest. This, by the way, also makes a great lunch when the cabinets and fridge are nearly bare. Oh, and feel free to increase the recipe, depending on how many guests you plan to impress!

Serves one

One monkey dish (small, 5 to 6” cassarole dish with “ears”)
One egg (or two if you like)
1 piece of bread from a rustic loaf (or baguette), cut to fit the dish
1 handful of a good cheese (fontina, perrano, or any medium bodied cheese), cubed
1 generous sprinkling of freshly grated parmesean (1/3 cup)
a healthy pinch of chopped sweet onion (or green onion, or chives)
a touch of olive oil (1 teaspoon)
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to piping hot 500 degrees. Put the piece of bread into the dish. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Surround the bread with the cheese cubes and parmesean. Add a healthy pinch of sweet onion around the bread. Crack the egg and lay it on top of the bread. Season with salt and pepper. Grate a tiny bit more parmesan over the egg. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 7 minutes, or until done.

Be very careful taking the baking dish from the oven! Place a folded cloth napkin on your plate before serving. For bacon lovers, a piece of fried bacon on top would be a perfect way to garnish the dish!


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Food Woolf Written by:

Brooke Burton is an Los Angeles-based restaurant professional and hospitality expert. She is a freelance food writer, speaker, and co-author of The Food Blog Code of Ethics.


  1. Andreea
    May 16

    this is a great idea. thank you for posting it. i see a breakfast like this coming up soon 🙂

  2. Syd
    May 16

    Simple and beautiful.

    Never heard of a monkey dish, so of course that made me giggle.

  3. Anonymous
    May 16

    I’ll surely try this :3

  4. Jerry
    May 16

    Great idea, all I need is biscuits and grits

  5. michelle @ TNS
    May 16

    this is kinda like my favorite way to eat eggs – en cocotte, which nixes the bread and adds a little heavy cream.

    that would have been a perfect breakfast for this dreary, rainy day.

  6. RecipeGirl
    May 16

    Looks like a nice new way to utilize eggs for breakfast. Same old stuff gets boring!

  7. Kate
    May 16

    Lovely! Is the napkin on the plate for esthetics, or, to keep the hot dish from sliding about as you eat the egg?

  8. Cindy. Lo.
    May 16

    Hahaa the egg is so cute!

  9. Hillary
    May 16

    I will not fear the egg because that is exactly how I like it!

  10. Brooke Burton
    May 16

    Kate, the napkin on the plate keeps the monkey dish (or casserole dish) from slipping off and burning you!

    Happy cooking!

  11. White On Rice Couple
    May 21

    I can understand what you’re going through. Cooking eggs can be tricky and everyone likes their eggs all so differently.
    When I cook egg breakfasts for friends, I’m always afraid of cooking the scrambles, sunny side up’s or omelets to be too runny? too rubbery? too burnt? I get nervous and always ask a ton of questions before I make the egg dish. How do you like your eggs? Is this too mushy? Is it too crispy? I wear myself out just thinking about it.
    I’ll have to try your food proof dish! It sounds like I’ll have all my problems solved with this!

  12. Anonymous
    June 19

    I love, love, love this recipe- thank you!!

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