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A Chef’s Irresistible Breakfast Eggs

Neal Fraser of Grace Restaurant in Los Angeles, who named his BLD Restaurant (short for "Breakfast Lunch Dinner"), goes way beyond the usual scrambled, poached and fried by slow-cooking or baking eggs to make them deliciously soft and creamy. Here are five of his creative—and easy—egg dishes. They're perfect for breakfast, but just as satisfying for a light lunch or dinner.

1. Ultimate Soft-Boiled Egg

Fraser takes soft-boiled eggs to a luxurious extreme, elaborating on a technique used in sous-vide cooking (in which food is vacuum-sealed and then submerged and gently simmered in low-temperature water). He cooks eggs slowly and gently—for an hour-and-a-half at 140°—using an immersion circulator. The home cook can get similar results by cooking eggs in a heavy saucepan, in water to cover, over low heat; a candy thermometer set in the pan can help monitor the water temperature. Fraser serves the eggs in their shells, slicing off the tops and garnishing them with shaved black or white truffles (his favorite) or chopped smoked salmon, chives and mascarpone.

2. Hearty Baked Eggs

Fraser layers broccoli rabe and sweet-and-smoky Spanish piquillo peppers in a shallow enameled cast-iron casserole, then cracks eggs on top and bakes them in the oven. For a tasty alternative, he layers chopped herbs, bacon, spinach and diced cooked potatoes in the casserole. He bakes the eggs at 400° for about 10 minutes, until they are set, then spoons warm hollandaise sauce on top.

3. Beyond the Breakfast Sandwich

To reinvent the standard diner combo of eggs, bacon and toast, Fraser uses top-quality ingredients and varies the flavor combinations. He is partial to chewy sourdough bread, which he spreads with garlicky aioli and tops with a tower of Nueske’s thick-cut bacon, imported Gruyère cheese and a fried free-range organic egg.

4. Toad-in-the-Hole

Classic recipes for this British dish involve baking sausages in Yorkshire pudding batter; Fraser makes a simplified version using only bread and eggs. He hollows out the center of a piece of bread (his choice is rich, buttery brioche), places it in a pan coated with clarified butter, and fries an egg in the middle. When cooked, the soft, runny egg is ringed by delicately crunchy fried bread. Sausage links make a terrific side.

5. Breakfast Fried Rice

In Asia, rice is often topped with an egg for breakfast, a dish Fraser first tasted in Asian-influenced Hawaiian restaurants. At BLD, he scrambles an egg into cooked rice, adding finely chopped seasonal vegetables for flavor and color. The home cook can add an array of other ingredients—fresh herbs from the garden, aromatics like ginger and garlic, even leftover vegetables.

Published January 2008
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