Fried eggs are for a family meal from one member to the other. Food has etiquette…
Sometimes all you want for dinner is something warm and comforting and quick. Unfortunately, I often find that those are the nights that there is nothing in the house but a few eggs and maybe some cheese. The pantry is empty of pasta and there isn’t even a can of soup in sight.
However, from now on, I won’t worry. With a few eggs and cheese, I can make an elegant egg dish which will satisfy my eyes and my stomach. Today, I finished reading White Truffles in Winter.
A word of warning: this is not a book to read while you are hungry or before grocery shopping. It is a fictionalized version of the life and kitchen of the great Auguste Escoffier. Suddenly, the idea of foie gras sounded tasty. I was salivating over butter-soaked truffles and langoustine, lobster’s little cousins. Many of the dishes were time-consuming and full of expensive ingredients. While they sounds delicious, I don’t feel quite going through the effort to make veal stock and Peach Melba as it was made originally, encased in spun gold leaf on an ice swan.
The simple, homely dish made by Madame Escoffier, his wife, to feed her enormous family was what truly caught my eye. Oeuf Sur Le Plat, not a complicated dish. It means eggs on a plate in English, which sounds much less appealing. She instructs her cook thusly:
Place melted butter in the bottom of three dishes, enough to cover, and then crack the eggs into a bowl and gently, very gently, pour them in. Do not break the yolk. […] Pour a tablespoon of cream over each and cook. Then shave the truffles over them. […] Eggs, cream, butter, cheese – the aroma quickly made its way into the dining room.
Fried eggs are treated with reverence in the text and so I tried to be aware when I was preparing them. I still over cooked them but it was worth the effort all the same.
Serving size 1 person
1 tbsp butter
salt and pepper
1 tbsp cream
grated hard cheese such as aged cheddar or parmesan
Take a small, oven-proof dish about 4″ and melt butter in it until the broiler. Make sure that the dish and the butter are very hot. Break one egg into a bowl and slide into hot dish. Repeat with second egg. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
Place under broil for 30 seconds to 1 minute or until whites begin to set. Remove from under broiler. Top eggs with cream and cheese. Return to broiler. Watch very carefully! Once the white is set, carefully remove from the oven and serve immediately.