Roger Vergé's Fried Eggs with Wine Vinegar

By • December 31, 2013 19 Comments

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Author Notes: It might not sound as welcome at 9am as butter or maple, but a measured shot of vinegar is surprisingly perfect at breakfast (just think about hot sauce -- we don't reach for it because it's like ketchup, but because it's like vinegar.) The richness of egg yolk is tempered and shined up best by sitting next to a tart, cleansing foe -- the balance of soft and sharp acting like a good vinaigrette. Adapted slightly from Roger Vergé's Cuisine of the Sun (Macmillan, 1979)Genius Recipes

Serves 2

  • 4 large brown eggs (6 if you enjoy them as much as Verge does)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons good wine vinegar
  • Salt, pepper
  1. Break 2 or 3 eggs, according to your appetite, into a bowl, taking care not to break the yolks. Heat half the butter in a 6-inch frying pan, and when it turns golden, slip in the eggs very carefully. Cook, puncturing any air bubbles which form in the egg whites with a fork. Don't worry if the eggs go crisp and golden round the edge. When they are cooked the way you like them, season with salt and freshly ground pepper and slide onto a heated plate. Pour 2 tablespoons of wine vinegar into the pan. Allow to reduce by half and pour over the eggs.
  2. Wipe out the pan with a cloth or paper towel and repeat the process with the remaining butter, eggs, and vinegar.
  3. From Vergé: This is a controversial recipe. Some people swear that the butter should not be allowed to colour; others cook the whites first on their own and then slide the yolks on top (having first salted the whites to prevent the yolks from being marked). Each way has its point, but in this book I have given the recipe I make for myself and my friends. Fried eggs cooked in this way are, incidentally, among the most irresistible of all dishes. Many is the time that I have suddenly had a longing for three fried eggs -- usually after midnight, when I am among friends, and guests who have finished dinner and are mulling away the evening with a liqueur. The sight of the eggs cooking is too much for them all, and they always end up by joining me. I know few dishes so powerful!
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Comments (19) Questions (0)

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about 1 month ago Sharon

Thanks for notifying us of Monsieur Vergé's passing. I discovered him, along with many other great French chefs, when I first subscribed to Gourmet magazine as a teen, way back in the early 70s. He was one of my many mentors. Very lovely obituary of a life well lived.

4798a9c2-4c90-45e5-a5be-81bcb1f69c5c.junechamp

about 1 month ago ChefJune

June is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Roger Vergé was way more than the author of this recipe -- good as it is. He pioneered what was then (back in the 80's/early 90's) a more spritely Provencal cuisine. Sadly he passed away on Sunday (6/7/15). I hope you'll become more familiar with his philosophy of cooking. Sadly you won't have the opportunity to meet him. Obit here: http://www.nytimes.com...#

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3 months ago Sharon

I do a sort of Italian version of this I learned from Lidia Bastianich. She said a friend of hers prepared this for her once. She poured a generous amount of olive oil into a skillet, added the eggs and let them cook EVER so slowly until set. She then shook some branches of dried oregano over the skillet, sprinkling the tiny leaves lightly over the eggs. I finish with a few grinds of coarse salt & pepper. This was an UNBELIEVABLY delicious dish! However, I thought it cried out for a bit of acid, so I splashed it with a red wine vinegar reduction, as does Roger Vergé. Bingo! That sent it all the way to heaven! I eat this with toasted ciabatta bread to mop up the olive oil and vinegar. This tastes great any time of the day or night. So simple, yet so delicious. You MUST try it.

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3 months ago Vicky

So good, the red wine vinegar just works!

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3 months ago Vicky

I forgot this personal add-on; I cut a slice of rye bread in four sections. I drillze olive oil, salt and pepper both sides and toast until crouton crunchy. I place the croutons on the plate and pour the eggs and vinegar over. A full meal in minutes and you feel like you are in a French Bistro.

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5 months ago Karen Brooks

This takes fried eggs to a new, great, level! And so easy.

411b9491-5435-48bc-8b2a-0e4071d01c4c.moon

7 months ago Threemoons

This is crazy brilliant. It is also the reason that I will bring out one of my new stocking-stuffer gifts, a Fred Flare Skull Fried Egg Mold:

http://smile.amazon.com...

I think that's what's for dinner tonight...

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over 1 year ago David

Wow! What a great little snack that is! (Made it after my kids ate most of the pizza tonight, leaving me still a bit hungry.) Only caveat, is that I used a new Trader Joe's Pomegranate Vinegar, which was good, but a little thin. Next time I'll use a more robust vinegar.

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over 1 year ago kschurms

I've been making these for breakfast for the past week now--and I don't plan on stopping anytime soon. Absolutely delicious!

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over 1 year ago Tom Salamone

I don't quite understand the comment about first cooking the whites alone then sliding on the yolks and the salting of the whites to keep from marking the yolks. Anyone? Thanks.

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over 1 year ago Olivia

What happened to the other half the butter? "Heat half of the butter in the frying pan" there's no follow up instruction on what happens to the rest. Does it go in with the vinegar? Is it used to finish the dish?

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over 1 year ago Double Helping

Use the first half for the first two eggs and then second half for the next two

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over 1 year ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Thanks Double Helping -- I just hopefully clarified that in step 2, as well: "repeat the process with the remaining butter, eggs, and vinegar."

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over 1 year ago Olivia

Thanks! I made this and it was delicious.

067c5015-cab9-4402-95db-7c94c958e11b.linda_and_lisa

over 1 year ago Double Helping

Super easy and tasty. I used red wine vinegar.

4798a9c2-4c90-45e5-a5be-81bcb1f69c5c.junechamp

over 1 year ago ChefJune

June is a trusted source on General Cooking.

WOW! I've had that book for at least 2 decades and never noticed this recipe. Now I'll be making it for breakfast /brunch tomorrow! Go figure!!

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over 1 year ago ballentx

Nice with aged balsamic vinegar

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over 1 year ago Frank Ball

I read about this years ago -- and have been doing it this way ever sense. Inspired!

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over 1 year ago Becky Winkler

I just tried this with some sherry vinegar and it was DELICIOUS!