When you're out of smoked paprika or not in the mood, there are as many variations as your spice drawer and your imagination will allow. I tried a series of colorful and delicious renditions on our shoot day—turmeric, then za'atar, then chile flakes—and we couldn't decide our favorite. I could also see this being a lovely way to use up fresh herbs like sage or thyme, or alliums like garlic or shallots or ramps. You don't have to worry much about any of them burning in the sizzling oil, because before you know it, the egg is done, and so is your breakfast. If you'd like to lighten up the richness of the oil, stir in a little vinegar or lemon juice at the end. Adapted slightly from Canal House Cooking Volume No. 5: The Good Life by Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton. —Genius Recipes
Heat olive oil in a heavy medium skillet over medium-high heat until quite warm. Add pimentón and tip the skillet to swirl it around so it dissolves into the oil. Crack eggs into the skillet and reduce the heat if it gets a little too hot. Fry the eggs, basting them with the olive oil with a spoon, until the whites are firm and the yolks remain soft. Season with salt. Serve the eggs with the oil spooned on top.
Note: You can scale this recipe up or down, but even if you want to fry one egg, you'll still want enough oil in the pan to spoon over the egg easily.
Genius recipes surprise us and make us rethink cooking tropes. They're handed down by luminaries of the food world and become their legacy. They get us talking and change the way we cook. And, once we've folded them into our repertoires, they make us feel pretty genius too. Watch for new Genius Recipes every Wednesday morning on our blog, dug up by Food52's Senior Editor Kristen Miglore.