Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Jan 1, 2007 03:15 AM

Zuni Cafe Cookbook: Eggs/ Starchy Dishes

January 2007 Cookbook of the Month: the Zuni Cafe Cookbook by Judy Rodgers and Gerald Asher. Please post your full-length reviews of recipes from the sections on eggs and on starchy dishes here. Please mention the name of the recipe you are reviewing as well as any modifications you made to the recipe.

A reminder that the verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

Thanks for participating.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. o the Zuni Onion Panade!
    (it was blogged about with a recipe here:


    Now I make this gem every couple of months, usually with chard, onions, and gruyere
    my earlier lovefest on the subject here:

    over the xmas holiday I made it with chard/onions/gruyere but moistened the bread with truffle oil, the cheap stuff from Trader Joe's. The recipe calls for an olive oil conditioning of the bread; the truffle oil is a flavored olive oil. LOVED IT. Blended really well into the overall unctious silky yum of this dish.

    Great way to deploy a loaf of stale good bread, and perhaps a hunk of cheese leftover from a party or eyes-too-big shopping expedition. I've never served it as a side dish, only as the main event with a green salad for a light-ish yet rich satisfying supper.

    I tend to use a lesser amount when it comes to the stock. I like a crunchy top and a wet underside, as opposed to wet all the way through.

    6 Replies
    1. re: pitu

      I made this a few days ago and was surprised by how much I loved it. I loved how velvety it was (perfect description from the author) and I thought it was extremely interesting how the gruyere became incorporated into the dish. There was no discernable cheesy gooiness. Instead, the gruyere lent the flavor as well as the creamy texture.

      I used the 4 cups of stock. Like Rubee (below), I used a larger pot. There was no way that this was fitting in a 2 quart dish (not that I had one). I probably had more stock than needed, but I had a difficult time judging where the stock was. I also left it in the oven a bit longer so that it wasn't as gloppy.

      Maybe it's my warped way of thinking, but is this really that unhealthy? I mean, it's a huge dish, with a lot of veggies (onions and chard), not a lot of oil, starch or cheese.

      Picture of panade:

      Picture of it on plate (with radicchio salad):

      1. re: beetlebug

        I made this for the first time last night. I don't have anything really new to add, yes, it's surprisingly delicious. I used a sourdough whole wheat walnut bread, a mixture of chard, kale, radichio, and spinach. I used 1/2 2% cheddar and 1/2 expensive aged Gouda that hurt me to throw in a casserole, but that was the extent of my cheese drawer.

        Beetlebug, I agree, I don't see it as unhealthy. There's no butter, no egg yolks, no cream. You're not using a fatty bread and you get a chance to eat leafy greens which I have a hard time getting enough of. (I don't think lettuce counts) Even if I had used 100% full-fat cheese, I don't think 6 oz is all THAT awful given the size of the finished dish. However, all that bread is certainly caloric, if not unhealthy, and I feel larger this morning than I did yesterday ;-)

        1. re: danna

          Due to all the posts on this subject, I also made the pannade last night. wow. The whole time I was stewing the onions and wilting the chard I kept saying, making the house start to smell incredible, I kept saying to my wife and daughter things like, oh my god, it's a pannade, and, this is going to best the best pannade you've ever had (we've never had one before), so that by the time it came out of the oven piping hot everyone was drooling.

          I'm a little surprised this dish isn't illegal in some parts.

          I guess when you think about it, it's not like eating a chocolate cake, but it somehow feels much more decadent.

          1. re: ronla

            Yeah, I'd rather have panade over chocolate cake anyday!

            1. re: Carb Lover

              ha! me too! such rich, luscious, decadent food.

              the original recipe calls for fontina, but says that you can sub gruyere, which i've always done. last time i made this, i used a combination of gruyere and fontina. i really missed the nuttiness of the gruyere, and found that i didn't like the smell or taste of the fontina at all. anyone else have that experience?

        2. re: beetlebug

          I made the panade last night. What a luxurious dish. I will make this again for special occasions. I used a 3.5-quart dish to bake it in, and I'm glad I did. It was the perfect size. I couldn't find a 2-quart dish, thank goodness. Because my dish was rather large, I didn't need a sheet under the dish during baking.

      2. Chard and Onion Panade with Fontina (p.227)

        I made this last night, for the first time. Unfortunately, I loved it. I say unfortunately because I can no longer fit into any of my clothes and my husband won't help me eat the leftovers because he's decided he doesn't like Swiss chard. ;) I agree totally with Pitu, and "unctious silky yum" is a perfect description.

        The prep takes some time to do with the various steps, but they are all simple - cube and toss the bread with olive oil, cook low and slow 1-1/2 pounds of thinly sliced sweet onions, and then wilt 1-inch ribbons of Swiss chard. Layer all these ingredients with shredded cheese. I used Fontina Val D'Aosta as she recommends (from Whole Foods). I used all 4 cups of broth since I used a larger pot (an oval Creuset) and couldn't judge the way she suggests. I didn't want it too soupy so just left it a litte longer in the oven uncovered (about half an hour) which resulted in a moist silky layers with a chewy cheesy crust. Perfection.


        48 Replies
        1. re: Rubee

          Gah. I made that panade last year and loved it, but am trying to avoid for the sake of my waistline, but all these pictures are SO enticing.

          1. re: Rubee

            Oh me, oh my, that looks incredible!! It's about time that I finally make this! Thanks for the motivation.

            1. re: Rubee

              Add me to the chorus of that looks like cheesy perfection. I am definitely going to give that a try very soon.

              Now let me pay you back with the eggs fried in breadcrumbs recipe. This recipe actually became kind of a "problem" for me because I was making it so often. You basically fry breadcrumbs to make them crispy and then fry an egg on top off that. Finish her off with some thyme and a good little red vinegar and you're in business. I love it because essentially you're making the eggs and toast together.

              My other favorite egg recipe is the omelet one when she mixes crouton into the cooking egg. I think it's called Madeline's omelet? Again, the whole toast in the egg thing is going on and the result is "problematic." This one has now become my every weekend (and sometimes even a weeknight dinner) meal. Plunked on top of a big green salad? All is right with the world.

              1. re: Abbylovi

                Thanks to you, Abby, I've made those eggs fried in breadcrumbs twice this week, once with fresh thyme and a little sherry vinegar, and today with just the breadcrumbs. Something about the combination of an oozy over-easy egg with the crispy breadcrumbs is addicting. No pic yet, but I'll have plenty more opportunities the rest of the month ;)

                1. re: Rubee

                  I just made the bread crumb crusted fried eggs, and they were fantastic, but I had a hard time cooking the top of the eggs enough without having the bread crumbs fry too much and burn. I was using fine store-bought breadcrumbs, which might be part of the problem. Has anybody else had this issue? Ideas? I'll try lower heat and more patience next time.

                  1. re: rose water

                    The fine store-bought crumbs is definitely it, because I had the opposite problem with the first batch - I didn't process them fine enough, and they didn't brown enough. Check out p. 506 where she goes into more details - mentioning "fluffy, soft crumbs" and "you'll need to make them in a food processor". I do remember reading in someone's blog that they used store-bought panko crumbs with good results.

                    1. re: rose water

                      I agree with Rubee. Definitely make your own breadcrumbs because they'll not only taste better but the larger size adds to the dish. I find that adding enough olive oil also helps.

                      Glad you guys liked it!

                    2. re: Rubee

                      I had these eggs for lunch today and they were great. The thing that sent it over the top for me, was the addition of the warm balsamic to offset the crunch of the bread crumbs. The combo was fabulous.

                      No pics because slightly brown and white eggs on on white plate - too much whiteness for the picture.

                      1. re: beetlebug

                        I made them this weekend using panko. I'll definitely repeat -- maybe adding some herbs to the breadcrumbs and just a touch of butter.

                        1. re: Amuse Bouches

                          You read my mind. I was thinking that panko would be an excellent substitute. But since I had stale bread, I thought I would try it the "original way."

                      2. re: Rubee

                        Fried Eggs in Bread Crumbs (p. 179)

                        Thanks to Abbylovi, these have become a regular breakfast dish for us. Finally took a picture. I grind cubes of day-old bread in the food processor to make fresh bread crumbs, and keep them in a Ziploc in the freezer. For breakfast, I just use a couple of Tb to make these eggs. Sometimes I use the fresh herbs with vinegar, sometimes just the bread crumbs and olive oil. Love 'em both ways.

                        1. re: Rubee

                          Whoa, looks like you've really nailed this dish! Glad that you like it as much as I do. A couple years ago, this was my every-weekend breakfast...maybe I'll have it for dinner tonight.

                          1. re: Rubee

                            Made these Zuni eggs again today for breakfast - so simple, but so good.

                            1. re: Rubee

                              Resurrecting an oldie but goodie I haven't made in a while. This time I used sherry vinegar and lots of fresh thyme.

                              1. re: Rubee

                                Gorgeous picture, as usual. We've missed you and your posts.

                                1. re: Rubee

                                  This remains one of my favorite dishes of all time. I love it as a Sunday Night Supper. Lord, these are incredible.

                                  1. re: Tom P

                                    These eggs also taste great with stir fried kale.

                                    1. re: beetlebug

                                      mixed in with the bread crumbs, or as an accompaniment?

                                      1. re: rose water

                                        Accompaniment. I stir fry the greens with a bit of garlic. Lay it all on a plate. Fry the eggs and place them on top. This way, the egg yolk will run into the greens and the bread crumbs make a nice textural crunch in contrast with the eggs. The whole thing is just lovely. Esp in the summer with the variety of greens.

                                        1. re: beetlebug

                                          to resurrect your comment from YEARS Zuni egg variation has become a staple in our home. i've started frying up bread crumbs and kale together, and frying an egg on top. my five year old, who totally eats greens when they're nice and oily and salty, and marketed right, loves "green eggs"

                                          1. re: rose water

                                            Ok, love this idea and will try soon. This egg and bread crumb dish remains one of my favorite recipes of all time.

                                            1. re: rose water

                                              Thank you for this. I LOVE this idea! I have a bunch of kale in my fridge right now, along with farm eggs and half of a stale baguette that needs to become crostini and crumbs. Can you say serendipity?

                                2. re: Rubee

                                  Fried eggs in Bread crumbs (p. 179)
                                  Made this for the first time this morning - with fresh thyme and sherry vinegar. Delicious!

                                3. re: Rubee

                                  Oh Abby and Rubee!
                                  help me! I so long to try this but since my Nana passed on have been afraid of trying any eggs other than scrambled. (i have a fear of the white goo that doesn't seem to set)
                                  i'd really love to try the breadcrumb one - but do tell, do you spread the breadcrumbs out and then flip it? Is it a 'poke'y kind of egg?

                                  1. re: lollya

                                    I'm not a fan of runny whites either, so I cook these eggs over-easy. Here's what I do:

                                    I scoop 3-4 spoonfuls of bread crumbs into a bowl (for two eggs). Add a pinch of salt and mix in some EVOO "to just oversaturate them". I let them cook, stirring, over medium heat in a pan until they are crunchy and light-brown. I crack two eggs on top and then move some of the toasted crumbs to the side so I can spoon some on top of the eggs. Let them cook until the whites are just set, then flip, and let it cook for about 10 seconds. If you want, you can cook them longer to be sure the egg white is completely cooked and the yolk is not so runny.

                                    1. re: Rubee

                                      Rubee! Thank you oh so v. much!
                                      I can't wait!

                              2. re: Rubee

                                Anyone know if challah would work instead of peasant bread?

                                1. re: Abbylovi

                                  sure it would, but it's already pretty rich without an eggy bread

                                2. re: Rubee

                                  Panfried Panade (p.230).

                                  This is Judy Rodgers' answer to what to do with leftovers - pressing a scoop or wedge of cold panade gently to make a patty and frying in olive oil. I used a biscuit cutter to cut a circle of panade, and browned it in a non-stick pan - it was already so rich, I really didn't need to use any oil. She suggests serving with a poached egg or salad. For me, I thought it made a great snack as is.


                                  1. re: Rubee

                                    I made this using my leftover panade leftovers. I also didn't use any oil, but my fried panade didn't hold the shape like Rubee's. I suspect it is because my panade was more moist, and I did need the oil on the bottom as there was sticking. It tasted really good, but it was the same taste as the original panade. No crispiness, despite my 3+ minutes per side (per instructions). Next time, I need to flatten it a lot more and let it brown for a significantly longer time.

                                  2. re: Rubee

                                    Rubee, thank you so much for that gorgeous picture. I've never done part two with this, but you've really tempted me.

                                    I will warn that it's really important to watch the broth you use in the panade recipe. I used somewhat salty store-bought stuff one time, and it got really concentrated with baking. It was still delicious, and it didn't stop us from enjoying it, but we ended up needing a lot of water to wash it down!

                                    1. re: rose water

                                      I like how the recipe tells you to taste for salt, every ingredient at every stage -- totally important!

                                      1. re: pitu

                                        I totally agree. Sounds simple, but I realized that I don't always taste at every stage, just one or twice in the process.

                                    2. re: Rubee

                                      I made this a few months ago, and I thought the amount of broth she called for was way too much (I used a 2-quart pot). Or maybe I should have squashed more bread in? Did you end up using all your bread? My ended up this soupy, gloppy mess, and pan-frying the leftovers just made it soak up more oil. I was really sad, I had been looking forward to eating this so much, so any advice would be greatly appreciated.

                                      1. re: AppleSister

                                        I used all the broth and all the bread, but left it in the oven much longer after I uncovered it (I think the recipe says 15-20 minutes?). I thought it was still a little too soupy for me, so I ended up baking uncovered for about 35 minutes, until I thought it was less 'wet' and was a bit firmer when I touched the center. It worked out great because I liked the crunchy, well-browned edges that the longer time in the oven resulted in. It pan-fried easy too, I was able to just cut the chilled panade into a patty. I didn't use any oil, just a non-stick pan, as I found the cheese released enough oil when I heated it up. I would suggest that the next time maybe using a cup less (3 instead of 4) - I think she mentions that using all 4 cups can result in a softer panade such as yours, like risotto.

                                        1. re: Rubee

                                          I took a stab at this and also found that I had to leave it uncovered for much longer than suggested, though I had used almost all the broth. I felt like the various elements of the panade stayed more distinct than I was expecting (and than the pictures posted so far here seem to suggest.) Maybe it just wasn't cooked long enough. The flavor was rich and wonderful, but it was hard to judge the level of cooking by color, as suggested in the book, because there were so many different colors going on.

                                      2. re: Rubee

                                        Panfried Panade redux (p. 230)

                                        I found out that the leftover panade freezes suprisingly well, though had to blot the moisture a bit before shaping for the last panade 'cake'. This time I served it with a skillet-poached egg from the new Bon Appetit book - I'll link to the recipe on Epi. It was a delicious way to use two Zuni elements - the panade, and more of the salsa verde (p. 294). I actually added a little bit of left-over sage oil to the salsa verde also (the recipe calls for brushing the inside of ramekins - I used teacups - with an herb oil, and poaching in a skillet). Unfortunately, the pic I took of the yolk oozing over everything was too blurry. The panade was just as tasty as the first time.

                                        Skillet Poached Egg recipe

                                        Click for pic:

                                        1. re: Rubee

                                          gorgeous, drool-inducing, thank you.

                                          do you have suggestions on how to form/maintain such a lovely panade cake? the time that i tried to fry up the leftovers, i found that it glopped all over the place, stuck to the pan, and generally refused to cooperate. the end result was a tasty reheated panade, but not a thing of beauty like yours.

                                          1. re: rose water

                                            Rubee's does look wonderful once again! Sounds like your panade was on the loose and wet side. I intentionally made my panade to be firm, following the instructions to keep the liquid level about an inch below the top. I didn't have any problems scooping out a patty and frying in a pan, and I didn't add any oil for frying since there seemed to be enough in the panade itself. For yours, perhaps hand-packing it and then frying in enough oil (like a crab cake) would help.

                                            This was my first time making the panade, and it was as delicious as I anticipated. The slow caramelized onions were so melting and all the ingredients oozed together into one unctuous carb lover's dream. I accidentally bought red chard instead of green, so the red color "bled" a little and made it look strangely like a dessert, but it still tasted good. The browned crispy edges on top were gold!


                                            1. re: Carb Lover

                                              I think it looks beautiful with the red chard - and delicious!

                                              Rose Water, like CL, I intentionally tried to make mine firm too, even though I didn't put the one cup less of broth as is suggested (I will next time). I basically just kept baking uncovered until I thought it was the firmness I wanted when I touched it in the center. I took it out every 10 or so minutes to test, and ended up 35+ minutes instead of the 15-20 the book mentions. It never became too browned for me, just the edges got crispier.

                                              1. re: Rubee

                                                Thanks, CL and Rubee. You're right, the crisp top parts are incredible. Drier next time...

                                                1. re: rose water

                                                  That is a gorgeous mosaic!! It looks so beautiful fresh and puffy from the oven...

                                                  1. re: Carb Lover

                                                    Wow, thanks! That means a lot coming from the master of gorgeous food photography, though I'll say Rubee has been vying for your position in these Zuni threads ;)

                                                    It's purely an aesthetic issue, but I found that when I made the panade in pyrex it was puffier than when I made it in the dutch oven. Comparably luscious taste and texture either way though.

                                                    1. re: rose water

                                                      Wow, these pictures make me want to bake up some more panade - gorgeous!

                                                      CL is my inspiration on picture-taking, the student will never surpass the master. ; )

                                          2. re: Rubee

                                            Just posted this as a link to another thread - and realized this is some of the batch of pics that were lost when CNET made changes -

                                            Reposting pic -

                                          3. re: Rubee

                                            Perfection is right. I have nothing to add but that I made the panade last night and it WAS velvety and delicious. I made it with about 2/3rd Fontina Val D'Aosta and 1/3 some kind of nutty gruyere or something left in the fridge. I also went with 4 cups of stock but let it go about 35 min. with the lid off (used my 5 quart Le Crueset).

                                            mmm-mmm good! I want more right now.

                                          4. OMG, that sounds so good. I have a new-found love for swiss chard. It is like it makes things taste more savory or something. I will make this soon!

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: Becca Porter

                                              I've been putting MORE chard in the recipe than she recommends,
                                              to buy myself off the carb load
                                              the recipe is totally elastic
                                              you could use spinach too, for chard haters, and I used lacinato kale once, which is great if it's really fresh and tender.

                                              I've made it with fontina and gruyere, and totally prefer the gruyere. I'm a bit curious to try it with an aged farmhouse cheddar, which would totally change the character.

                                              I grate the cheese on a superfine microplane, so it's super snowy and incorporates smoothly.

                                              1. re: pitu

                                                Hmm, I glad to hear that kale might work. I bought everything I need for it, but my stores are out of chard. I do have kale, I might try it.

                                            2. Pasta alla Carbonara (pg. 210)

                                              I started with this recipe as a relatively unintimidating way to get into this book and I'm so glad I did. It was definitely the best carbonara I've ever made. The fresh ricotta makes all the difference. The whole thing is given a richer more interesting texture by the light little curds. Keeping Rodgers's discussion of not really knowing exactly what she's going to make until she gets to the market in mind, I switched out the bacon for pancetta, recommended by the guy at the Italian market which made my kitchen smell very very good.
                                              This is one of those dishes that just has a few ingredients and showcases each one so well. Start with good fresh ingredients as she mentions more than a few times in the book, and the dish will be good and fresh.
                                              The only tricky thing is the timing. Just make sure not to drop the pasta in too early or the bacon won't be ready in time. I drained the pasta when it was still a little underdone so that by the time I finished folding in the eggricotta and cheese it was perfectly al dente. This is now my carbonara recipe.

                                              9 Replies
                                              1. re: BKchompchomp

                                                I made the carbonara last night - as others have said, it was outstanding. I took a bit of time shelling the peas and getting my mise en place 100% set up before I actually started cooking (I'm trying to train myself into this habit especially when trying new recipes), but then it all went together really easily.

                                                I had been cleaning up the container-plant "garden" out front earlier in the day and found to my surprise that there was a good bit of parsley doing just fine in the herb pot, which made an excellent garnish. (Here in Boston we're having a freakishly mild winter, with only a handful of nights below freezing to date - my daffodils are actually sprouting!)

                                                1. re: BKchompchomp

                                                  We made this Carbonara tonight and truthfully it was not a dish that I would call a favorite. For once, since I've been cooking along with the COTM group, I did not deviate from the original recipe. Oh wait.... no fresh peas so I did use frozen Petit Pois..... but that's all, I promise. All the other ingredients were perfect. Even the bacon... and the cheese. We used bucati from Trader Joe's which is Very similar to the bucatini which is one of the pastas recommended. It was fine and tasty but there was something missing. Don't know what - and I'll probably make it again just to see if there's a difference.

                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                    Does the recipe have ricotta in it?

                                                    1. re: MMRuth

                                                      Yes, MM, a small amount. I don't remember now exactly how huch, but I want to say 1/2 cup??? When I asked DH he said he liked it very much especially the bacon and the cheese!. In the past I've used pancetta to start, and no peas and certainly no ricotta.

                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                        Yes - the ricotta would turn me off in this instance. I think Goin has a recipe for a version of carbonara with peas and pea shoots that is fantastic.

                                                        1. re: MMRuth

                                                          Thanks..... I'll look for the Goin recipe and see if that might be more appealing. But I think with the pea shoots it may be more seasonal for Spring.....We'll see.

                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                            Yes - I do think it's more suited for spring though, if I recall correctly, I made it in very early spring with frozen peas and w/o the pea shoots the first time and it was still excellent.

                                                            1. re: MMRuth

                                                              Thank you MM. I'll re-read the recipe and see if I missed a direction or two....

                                                  2. re: BKchompchomp

                                                    I liked this recipe using bacon, frozen peas, and spaghetti. I thought I might add one point about cookware. I used a reasonably well seasoned carbon steel pan, but still ended up with a difficult to clean mess in the pan. I think that a teflon pan would be ideal for this dish.

                                                  3. Made the chard and onion panade tonight for dinner. The 4 of us wolfed the whole thing down and could have easily eaten another half recipe. What a comforting, delicious and savory dish it is.

                                                    Served it with the Zuni Caesar Salad which was also great. Had used all my rustic, Levain-type bread in the panade and had to make the croutons of sweet baguette.

                                                    Dessert was the sliced oranges drizzled with honey steeped with a bit of rosemary and dates stuffed with mascarpone, pistachios and pomegranate seeds. Wow for both.
                                                    It's funny, a friend lent the book to me a while back and I only cooked one thing from it in the 2 weeks I had it. Now, I can't wait to try other stuff. Fabulous.

                                                    Will post the salad and dessert on approp. threads, too.