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Jan 22, 2011 09:46 PM

Innovative Egg Dishes?: Fried, Scrambled, Baked?

I'm not talking omelets here- whose fillings are limitless. I'm talking just simple eggs with innovative treatment. I do 3 unusual things:

** Tunisian Chechouka- minced garlic and chopped tomatoes sauteed in evoo til thick like concasse. Add eggs and scramble just til set. Serve w/ plain yoghurt.

** Over-easy eggs doused/drizzled in pan w/ quality balsamic vinegar a few minutes before they're ready to serve.(this is me replicating the amazing eggs at Foreign Cinema in San Fran.)

** Ramekin of mashed sweet potatoes topped by cooked bacon strips, whole eggs, S and P, and lastly, shredded x sharp cheddar cheese, all baked til eggs are medium cooked.(This is my adaptation of a dish served at David's Pot Belly in Providence R.I. in 1969.)

How 'bout you? I'd love some new things to try! Thanks much.

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  1. - Israeli shakshuka (similar to Tunisian *Chakchouka*)
    - Wuhan pocket eggs:
    - curried eggs with tomato chutney

    1. This is somewhat similar in seasoning to ghg's shakshuka, but contains lentils. I saute a largish onion in olive oil, add a few smashed cloves of garlic, ground cumin and smoked paprika to taste, and a cup of lentils, preferably red but brown is fine, a can of good quality diced tomatoes in juice or a lb of diced fresh garden tomatoes in the season, and a few cups of chicken or vegetable stock. While the lentils are cooking, saute diced zucchini and eggplant in olive oil until tender and nicely colored, season well, and add to the lentils after about a half hour, when the lentile are approaching doneness. Simmer until the vegetables are almost tender, adjust the seasoning, slide in your cracked eggs and let them poach in the stew, which should be a fairly thick consistency, but not so thick that the eggs can't sink into the lentils and poach. Add a little more stock if necessary. Garnish with chopped parsley or cilantro and serve with garlic rubbed grilled bread or warm pita bread. The fun timing of this dish is to get the lentils tender, the vegetables just done but not mushy, and the eggs poached to your liking.

      A little Harissa in this stew doesn't hurt at all. You can top with with plain yogurt or feta, like the shakshuka or Chakchouka recipes.

      I call this eggs with lentils and tomatoes.

      When I was growing up, my dad made pizza dough EVERY Sunday night, for a thicker crust Neapolitan style pizza. The next morning he'd stretch the extra leftover dough, top it with a little olive oil, browned sausage meat and shredded mozzarella, sometimes throw on a few pepper strips, bake it off for a few minutes, crack a few eggs on it and pop it back into a hot oven to bake until the eggs were set but the yolks were still runny. My father wasn't much of a cook but he had his moments of simple genius, and the egg idea most likely came from his mother. I never thought the breakfast egg pizza was anything special, beyond delicious, until I moved to NYC and saw egg pizzas on pizza joint menus. Now I do this with pancetta or smoked bacon and a mix of cheeses, rather than just mozz, and an herb added at the end, either basil, sage or thyme.

      4 Replies
      1. re: bushwickgirl

        what a fun experience/ memory of your dad.
        bwg, did you riff on a recipe for that unusual lentil dish, or come up w/ that entirely on your own? so intriguing!

        1. re: opinionatedchef

          I believe it's Middle Eastern in origin, and it may have come to me from a vegetarian coobook, but I've been making it for years, so the source is lost to me.

          My dad made pizza, tapioca pudding, potato pancakes and regular pancakes on Sunday morning, and did a little outdoor grilling, that was the extent of his culinary skills. He thoroughly enjoyed the little he did though.

          I sitll remember him sweeping the kitchen floor every night after dinner, while my mom washed the dishes.

          1. re: bushwickgirl

            well, i think it's so cool that he got to get creative with that pizza dough!

            1. re: opinionatedchef

              He was first generation Italian American, my grandparents were from Rome and Naples, that's where the pizzza thing originated. Hard to say where the interest in tapioca and potato pancakes came from ...

      2. Few egg dishes are, IMO, as elegant as a properly prepared Tamago (Tomago). It's quite simple, there are many video examples on the Internet. But you've got to be careful because some of them demonstrate the basic technique but disrespect the importance of elegance in the dish.
        You don't need the special rectangular pan that is traditionally used in Japan. Any good quality non-stick pan will do quite nicely.
        First, beat the eggs gently (two eggs is enough to start with) to combine yolks and whites. Heat your pan on low heat and lightly oil the bottom. When the pan is just hot enough to accept a thin layer of egg without sizzling so that the egg begins to cook very slowly, pour just enough egg into the pan so that when you swirl the pan the egg covers the bottom.
        Allow to cook until nearly done but not brown. Raise one side of the egg and begin to roll it back onto itself. Don't "fold" it back, roll it into an obvious tubular shape. The egg should not be brown but light bright yellow in color.
        When the egg is completely rolled, move it to one extreme side of the pan, pour another layer of egg into the pan and allow it to run under the first roll. When that layer is done, but not brown, roll the first rolled product back onto the new layer to increase the size of the roll. Repeat this routine until you have a roll the size you wish to serve.
        If using a round skillet, remove the finished rolled egg and use a sharp knife to cut off and square up the ends. I would also do that if using a rectangular pan as it makes for a nicer presentation.
        Cut the Tamago into pieces that are about as long as the roll is wide (use angular cuts) and serve with caviar, smoked salmon (thinly sliced) sashimi, thinly sliced pork loin pieces or anything else that suits your fancy. I have sprinkled with grated cheese before but I think that detracts from the overall elegance of the dish.
        You can use fresh parsley to decorate the plate if you need more color.
        When done correctly, this dish will bring many compliments from your guests.

        2 Replies
        1. re: todao

          todao, nihon jin des ka?
          don't japanese chefs often add sugar or tamari to the egg base? arigato.

          when i do finally try to make this, i think i would like to put sheets of nori and /or a thin layer of tobiko or a thin layer of tobiko mixed with a tiny bit of mayo/soy sauce/wasabi mixture --down on top of the second cooked egg layer, before folding back the first egg layer on top of it and then roling up to complete the final roll. it's certainly not traditional; i just think it might add some nice color and textural contrast. do you?

          you serve this room temp, yes?

          1. re: opinionatedchef

            Sai kōkyū no onega, opinionatedchef; Anata wa kangei sa rete
            I would, as you pointed out, serve these at or very near room temperature but never cold.
            Yes, some methods for preparing Tamago combine the egg with various other ingredients before introducing it to the fry pan. I just believe that so much of its potential elegance is lost when it's made that way - I can't bring myself to mix other ingredients into the egg. Likewise with folding any other ingredients between the layers. When other ingredients are placed between the layers the potential beauty of the profile of the cut roll is somehow lost. Definitely an OC character flaw on my part.
            I would, however, be agreeable to using dipping sauces, including perhaps a wasabi based sauce, on the side. The tobiko would certainly work in place of the caviar; and I suspect it might be somewhat less expensive. I wonder about nori and how I might use it. Not as part of the tamago but as a side; perhaps a nori soup with bits of pork, water chesnuts, etc. but without eggs. Egg in the soup would tend to detract from the tamago. But I'd want to find a diminutive serving piece into which a very small portion of the soup might be served so that it didn't dominate the setting.
            When I was in the far east I was honored to experience both the simple and the elegant culinary creations of the Japanese culture and, in either environment, simplicity seemed to always dominate each item served during the meals.
            What ever you try; best of luck to you.

        2. One of my favorites is atop a grilled romaine salad. Cut a head of romaine in half, spray the cut side with olive oil, grill. Broil or grill some grape tomatos and shallots (or red onion). Poach an egg. Serve the romaine half with the tomatoes, shallots, shaved pecorino or romano, top wih the poached egg. You can also add some fried pancetta. When you cut into the egg, the yolk forms the "dressing" for the salad. Delish...

          2 Replies
          1. re: ludmilasdaughter

            what a fascinating idea. i'd like to throw that romaine mixture into a hot pan w/ a little balsamic, before topping w/ the egg. yumm!

            and for a decomposed grilled caesar, serve it all on parmesan bruschetta/ toast!

            1. re: opinionatedchef

              That's funny. My husband actually loves it when I add just a bit of ceasar dressing to the mix. A little balsamic or lemon would be gret as well, and I may just have to give the parmesan bruschetta/toast a whirl too!

            1. re: blue room

              wow! fascinating! have you tried them yet and what did you think?