When I was a boy in the 1970s, eggs were condemned because they contained cholesterol. They were land mines studding the path to health; they caused heart attacks and misery. But somehow I never got the message. When I was 10, I discovered that a frittata was a simple, delicious after-school meal. And unlike those Pop-Tarts I’d been gobbling, the frittata made me feel good. We now know that eggs aren’t evil. In fact, they contain everything required to sustain life. They’re crammed with amino acids and vitamins. But we eat them the same boring ways. Time to scramble your routine.
01. Poached in Tomato Sauce
When making a spaghetti sauce like bolognese, crack some eggs (1 for each serving) into the simmering sauce and cover the pan with a lid. When the whites are set but the yolks are still runny, top each person’s plate of pasta with some sauce and an egg, and serve.
Put 1 tbsp of butter in an oven-proof bowl and nuke for 30 seconds. Crack in 2 eggs, grate some fresh parmigiano-reggiano on top, and bake at 160 degrees Celsius until the whites set; about 15 minutes. Vary the dish by adding other ingredients, such as cooked bacon or sausage, shredded cheddar, wilted spinach or roasted red capsicum.
03. Fried-Egg Sandwich
Melt butter in a medium-hot pan. Add 2 eggs, yolks broken. Cook until the whites set; 1 minute. Flip, then cook for 30 seconds. Eat on multigrain bread with mayo.
04. Hard-boiled, straight up
Add a layer of eggs to a pot. Cover with water. Boil, turn off the heat, and cover. Wait 15 minutes. Plunge eggs into an ice bath. Peel. Salt. Eat.
05. Aggressively fried
In a stainless-steel pan, heat half a centimetre of oil on high. When it smokes, add 2 eggs. Cover; cook till the edges crisp. Serve on an open-faced ham and cheese sandwich.
06. In the best egg salad
Chop 3-4 hard-boiled eggs. Add mayo, some chopped celery, minced red onion and 1 tbsp chopped tarragon. Serve on lettuce with a toasted baguette.
CHANGE-UP: Swap the tarragon for 1 tsp curry powder and a pinch of cayenne.
07. For dessert, as custard
Add 2 eggs to a measuring cup (note the volume). Add an equal amount of skim milk. Add 1/4 tsp vanilla, 1/2 tbsp sugar and a pinch of salt. Blend. Divide between 2 over-proof bowls, cover with foil and steam until firm for 15 minutes. Eat warm.
Michael Ruhlman is the author of numerous cookbooks, including Egg. His go-to tip: “Eggs always need to be seasoned with salt – don’t forget. And most times pepper is a good idea.”
08. For Hair on Your Chest
To make an incredible whiskey sour, combine 4 egg whites in a blender along with 240ml bourbon, 4 tbsp of lemon juice, 1 tbsp of lime juice and 4 tbsp of simple syrup (1 part water to 1 part sugar). Blend until frothy and serve over ice.
09. Frittata, any way you wish
Preheat the grill. In an oven-safe nonstick pan, cook your add-ins (potatoes, chorizo, spinach) until done. Add whisked eggs (2 per person). Grill until the top sets, 2-3 minutes. Upend onto a cutting board, slice and serve with avocado.
10. Lazy man's deviled eggs
Halve a hard-boiled egg, then top the halves with sour cream, smoked salmon and dill. Or try mayo, mustard and ground cayenne for a combo with heat.
11. Eggy cheese puffs
In a pot, boil 1 cup of lightly salted water and 1 stick of butter. Drop heat to medium, add 1 cup of flour and mix until pastelike. Remove from heat and beat in 4 eggs, one at a time. Stir in a little grated gruyere cheese. Add to a zip-top bag, snip off a corner, and pipe portions onto a baking sheet. Bake at 200 degrees Celsius until puffed; 30-40 minutes.
12. Perfectly poached
Bring a pan of water to a boil and turn the heat to low. Carefully crack an egg into a slotted spoon to let some of the white drain. Lower the egg into the water. When the white sets – 2-3 minutes – the egg is done. Add to chicken noodle soup, Caesar salad, or roasted asparagus.
13. Really fresh pasta
Combine eggs and flour (2 eggs per cup). Knead your dough until smooth and then roll it out thin. Cut it into strips and boil in salted water.
14. Scrambled in that fresh pasta
Mix 2 egg yolks and 2 tbsp of light cream. In a pan, cook 2 chopped bacon strips. Remove it from the heat, add the hot pasta, and toss with the egg.