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!
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!