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Author Notes: Many of us are familiar with Judy Rodgers and her Zuni Cafe Cookbook. Though I have to be honest when I say that I primarily use it for armchair reading and cooking daydreaming, one recipe from the book that gets a regular work-out in my house is her Fried Eggs in Breadcrumbs. They are great as a snack or on top of most anything as a meal, in particular on a bouncy spring salad.
I put this salad together one day after coming home from the farmers market with a fresh, soft sheep's cheese; obviously you could easily substitute goat cheese or really any cheese that you love. Sometimes I'll include some herbs in the bread crumbs, and you can use any vinegar you like - I prefer it with sherry vinegar.
Judy Rodgers indicates fresh bread crumbs here, which I'll whiz up in the mini food processor if I have some bread sitting on the counter. More often then not, though, I'll use some from my freezer - whenever I have a knob of bread left, I throw it in my food processor and then freeze it in a ziptop freezer bag so I that I ALWAYS have breadcrumbs ready for this recipe. I've used crumbs from regular sandwich bread, artisan loaves, and whole grain and seeded breads all with delicious results. Just be sure that the bread isn't stale, otherwise the breadcrumbs won't properly crisp up. —Treble723
For the eggs
- 3 tablespoons fresh bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 eggs (take these out of the fridge a little early to take the chill off)
- 1 - 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
For the salad
- sundried tomatoes packed in olive oil
- 1 - 2 ounces soft, fresh sheep or goat cheese
- mixed baby greens, washed and dried
- Salt and pepper
- In a small bowl, mix the bread crumbs with a pinch of salt and the olive oil. They should be, in Judy's words, "saturated" with oil.
- Preheat a small pan and add the bread crumbs. Stir occasionally over medium low heat (they should sizzle slightly as they start to cook) until they begin to dry out and just start to color. Judy suggests adding a little more oil here before adding the eggs, however I've found that if my crumbs are properly saturated, they don't need the extra oil.
- Break the eggs over the top of the bread crumbs, then cover and allow to cook to desired doneness. I think this is best over easy when the yolks are still runny.
- In a bowl, combine the greens, as many sundried tomatoes as you like (sliced up if whole), and pinches of soft cheese all over the salad. I usually drizzle over a little of the tomato oil as well, and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper.
- When the eggs are done, slide them on top of the salad, and then quickly add vinegar to the pan. Swirl several times until the vinegar just starts to reduce (it should sizzle when it hits the pan) and is heated through, and then drizzle it over the eggs and salad. I'd turn on the fan on or open a window for this step :).