Big Little Recipes

Oh Look! It's Your New Favorite Egg Recipe

June  1, 2021

A Big Little Recipe has the smallest-possible ingredient list and big everything else: flavor, creativity, wow factor. That means five ingredients or fewer—not including water, salt, black pepper, and certain fats (like oil and butter), since we're guessing you have those covered. This week, guest columnist, James Beard Award–winning chef, certified cobbler Genius, and co-owner of several Seattle restaurants, Renee Erickson, is serving up a recipe from her second cookbook, Getaway: Food & Drink to Transport You.

It’s kind of amazing that I never get tired of eggs—even after years of brunch service—but I don’t.

So many of my home meals are centered on eggs. Scrambles with lots of butter and whatever produce is in season. Or the reverse—a plate of veggies, like the asparagus that is so good right now, with herby sauce gribiche, made with boiled eggs, on top.

But maybe nothing can beat the stark beauty of a not-too-hard cooked egg, the smooth whites offset by goldenrod yolks that get a little rumpled in the slicing. It’s like a perfect little sculpture.

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“I love the simplicity of this dish, yet the layers of flavors. I could almost taste the food by reading the description. I can't wait to try it. ”
— lauren

Eggs prepared this way can take on a lot of garnishes—from olives to crabs to anchovies. The key is not to put them on all at once, tempting as it might be. Sometimes you must have the confidence to stop adding things.

Photo by Mark Weinberg. Prop Stylist: Ali Slagle. Food Stylist: Sam Seneviratne.

I created this dish to frame the beauty of the eggs, but delicately. Sage is an herb I sometimes forget how much I like, and then it surprises me with its mellow persistence. I use it two ways here: First, a fresh mayonnaise made with sage-infused oil (also great on toast with sardines). And then, I place a fried sage leaf on top of each egg half, adding crackle and pungency to each bite.

In general, there is a lot of mayonnaise and aioli in my new book, Getaway: Food & Drink to Transport You. I just love it. I grew up with jarred mayonnaise in Dungeness crab salad, tuna salad, on roast beef sandwiches, and tomato sandwiches in the summer (my favorite ever).

I clued into homemade mayonnaise and aioli when I started working at the French-influenced Boat St. Cafe (which would later become the first restaurant I owned). I’ve whisked many a bowl of aioli by hand, but now I really like making it in a quart container with an immersion blender. It’s so easy, and you can just pop a lid on the leftovers for your next tomato sandwich.

As for the fried sage leaves, don’t skip them! They are like nine seconds of work but so gratifying—how they snap between your teeth. And the frying makes the sage taste a little sharper too.

It is so thrilling to start cooking for friends at home again. I knew I missed it, but I didn’t really realize how much. I made these eggs for my husband, Dan, and my friend Sara this week, using tiny eggs from a farm near my mom’s house.

I love putting down blobs of aioli to help hold each egg in place (and make sure there’s plenty of sauce everywhere). I set the backyard table with linen napkins and made a big salad of lettuces and mustard leaves from my garden—with some bread piled in a bowl and some Gavi poured into the nice glasses. Such a good lunch.

The neighborhood crow, Jackie, hopped around the fence tops and watched us eat, turning her head this way and that, her feathers gleaming in the sun. I was feeling hospitable, and gave her a bite of aioli dipper bread. She seemed glad for the company too.

Jackie, illustrated by Jeffry Mitchell.

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Written by: Renee Erickson


lauren June 2, 2021
I love the simplicity of this dish, yet the layers of flavors. I could almost taste the food by reading the description. I can't wait to try it.
Gina June 2, 2021
Sheppard, I haven't made this, but I don't see why you couldn't. You're going to be the one eating it.
Renee E. June 2, 2021
Yes! for sure, basil, tarragon, even thyme would be delicious.
Sheppard June 1, 2021
Could you substitute basil for the sage?