Make Ahead

Use the Good China Eggs, Homage to Richard Olney

May 15, 2011
3 Ratings
  • Serves As many as you need to serve, but I've scaled it to one
Author Notes

One of my favorite dinners is breakfast. The first few months after my son left for college, my daughter and I played with many variations on the theme. There is a comfort factor to breakfast outside its usual context that I suspect we truly needed because we were so far outside our usual context.

This is a variation I come back to often. For one thing, it comprises staples always on hand. It can be changed up and never suffer: no tomatoes, use mushrooms, or peppers; no basil, use parsley, rosemary, whatever. Not only is it an economy of ingredients, but also of preparation and of washing up. At the end of a complicated day, the last may be its greatest blessing.

And it's easy to eat. You can go outside, balance the plate in your lap, and hold a book. And it goes with whatever wine you have to hand.

Richard Olney. I'm not going to go all Julie and Julia here, but his dictum of simple, magnificent, pleasurable is nowhere more perfect than in his description of how to scramble an egg. If you've not read it, it's well worth hunting down. Brace yourself; it is one of the most sensuous pieces of writing ever. - boulangere


Test Kitchen Notes

I dusted off a china plate and got out one of my silver forks in preparation for these eggs. Boulangere's recipe is so easy to follow; she explains everything step by step, it's like having a private tutor. I had some beautiful heirloom cherry tomatoes and used herbs from my garden, basil, parsley and chives. After cooking the tomatoes and herbs, I fried some bread which soaked up the juices in the pan—so delicious! Then I started the eggs. I moved them around the pan, oh so gently, with a wooden spoon as Boulangere, who had to have channeled Olney, described. I have to admit I have been guilty of overcooking my scrambled eggs and promise I will never do it again. I poured a glass of whatever I had laying around and sat down to enjoy this delicious and satisfying meal that cost next to nothing. These eggs were downright sexy. —sdebrango

What You'll Need
  • 3 eggs, whisked
  • 2 tomatoes
  • Fresh herbs, chopped
  • Sea or kosher salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Heavy cream
  • A couple of slices of baguette
  1. Heat your favorite skillet over medium-high heat with a generous splash of olive oil. Add the tomatoes, herb(s) of choice, and a dash of salt. Sauté, stirring minimally, until tomatoes soften and even caramelize a bit. Scoop them out of the pan; don't pour them out because now you'll drop your slices of baguette into the pan and grill them in those lovely juices and olive oil. Sprinkle them with a bit of salt and brown nicely on both sides.
  2. Turn the heat way down. Wait a minute or two. Add a bit more olive oil if need be. Now add your eggs. Season with some salt and pepper. With a wooden (Richard insists) spoon, move the eggs around gently and minimally. They are done when still soft and shiny. Now add your splash of cream. This will (a) stop them from (over)cooking, and (b) gild the lily. Pour onto a pretty plate.
  3. Take a glass of whatever is open, sit in your favorite spot, and take a book along. I find that when I read while I eat, I eat much more slowly. Otherwise I tend to go at it like it's a job. Save a couple of bites of that wonderful bread to mop the plate when you're finished. Let the day's jangles go quiet.
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  • Midge
  • krusher
  • boulangere
  • lorigoldsby
  • Burnt Offerings
    Burnt Offerings

37 Reviews

Midge July 8, 2012
Revisited this tonight. SO yum.
boulangere July 8, 2012
Quelle coincidence! I had them just a couple of nights ago, too. So glad you like it.
krusher March 14, 2012
Brilliant. Simply elegantly channelled Olney. Thanks.
boulangere March 14, 2012
Thank you very much ;0))
boulangere June 3, 2011
sdebrango, you are something else! Thank you profoundly. Glad you dusted off the good china.
lorigoldsby May 26, 2011
Congrats on your EP candidancy...had this for breakfast...totally worth hand washing the good china, in fact, since I've not put them away yet, I may have this for dinner as well.
boulangere May 26, 2011
The good china never sees the light of day often enough.
Midge May 18, 2011
This was dinner last night, even used the china (and a silver fork!). A total treat!
boulangere May 18, 2011
Oh, good, good, good!
boulangere May 20, 2011
You know, I was so caught up wondering if I should include a silver fork in the list of ingredients that I overlooked the baguette slices. Fortunately, Burnt Offerings reads much more closely than I do.
Burnt O. May 18, 2011
Pssst - you left the baguette out of the recipe!
boulangere May 18, 2011
Yikes! Thank you!
BlueKaleRoad May 17, 2011
Breakfast for dinner is the best...I'll try this tonight. Love your title, too!
boulangere May 17, 2011
Thank you, and do enjoy!
BlueKaleRoad May 19, 2011
It was a hit! Thank you for sharing. :)
boulangere May 19, 2011
Oh, so glad you liked it!
wssmom May 17, 2011
Love the title. Love the head note. LOVE the recipe!
boulangere May 17, 2011
Thank you, thank you!
LydiaPW May 16, 2011
boulangere May 17, 2011
Do you remember that summer as clearly as I do?
pauljoseph May 16, 2011
will try this recipe any suggestion for fresh herb Is curry leaves OK?
boulangere May 17, 2011
Fantastic, pauljoseph.
fiveandspice May 16, 2011
Love, love, love breakfast for dinner and this preparation for eggs. Plus, I'm always looking for an excuse to break our the good china!
boulangere May 16, 2011
Oh yes, the good china never sees enough daylight.
gingerroot May 16, 2011
My two children request breakfast for dinner at least once a week. Comforting and easy, it is always a dinnertime favorite. Your version looks delicious (beautiful photo!).
boulangere May 16, 2011
Thank you so much.
cookinginvictoria May 16, 2011
This looks delicious and oh so comforting. I really like Richard Olney's writing, and your homage to him is lovely. I am a big fan of breakfast for dinner too, especially eggs. In fact I prefer eating eggs in the afternoon or evening when my senses are on full alert, rather than in the morning hours when I often find that my mind and body are still not quite awake yet.
boulangere May 16, 2011
Oh, love the *full alert* with regard to senses and eggs.
boulangere May 16, 2011
Always happy to meet another Richard Olney fan.
Sagegreen May 15, 2011
Love the photo as much as the comfort of the recipe!
boulangere May 15, 2011
Seriously, the mop-up at the end may be my favorite part.
Midge May 15, 2011
You're so right; there's something about breakfast-for-dinner that's comforting. I used to think of it as such a big treat when I was a kid.
boulangere May 15, 2011
Oh, me too. Still do.
Midge May 16, 2011
plus wine goes so much better with eggs than coffee ;) I will try your lovely method soon!
boulangere May 16, 2011
Oh, most definitely.
inpatskitchen May 15, 2011
Yum! Love breakfast for dinner!!
boulangere May 15, 2011
I still get a glow when son or daughter call and mention that they made waffles for dinner the night before.