This egg recipe might not just change how you think about cooking eggs, but most other ingredients, too. The amounts below are just a suggestion, but the technique is very flexible if you realize you've eyeballed wrong: If the pan looks dry before your ingredients are cooked through, just add more cream, or a splash of water or stock. If it looks too liquidy, pour off some of the cream or turn up the heat. (Just be careful not to burn it, which is the only way to ruin these.)
After you taste these eggs, try cooking more things in cream, and flavoring the cream with herbs, spices, garlic, citrus zest... Aki and Alex have written about carrots and smashed potatoes on Ideas in Food, but I've also tried kale (stems first) and a few baby eggplants I didn’t know what else to do with. They were soft-creamy and brown-buttery-crisp, every time. Talbot also rattled off still more ideas for ingredients to cream-caramelize—everything from meats (like pork chops seared in smoked paprika cream, burgers, sausages, hot dogs, ragus, dumpling fillings) to fish (with mustard, soy sauce, or miso) to fruits (apples with star anise and cinnamon). Adapted from H. Alexander Talbot and Aki Kamozawa at Ideas in Food. —Genius Recipes
Choose a nonstick skillet with a lid that’s large enough to hold the number of eggs you’d like to cook, without leaving lots of extra room (an 8-inch skillet fits 2 large eggs nicely). If you don’t have a lid that fits your pan, a baking sheet or another skillet will work well.
Without heating the pan, pour enough heavy cream into the bottom of the skillet to make a thin layer (this will depend on the size of the pan, but for an 8-inch skillet, a few tablespoons is enough). Sprinkle the cream with salt to taste and add the eggs.
Now turn the heat to medium-high to start cooking the eggs. The cream will boil, steam, and eventually separate into liquid butterfat and butter solids. If you are using a gas stove, the cream will likely caramelize at the edges; electric or induction will likely only caramelize the bottom.
When the egg whites are almost set and the cream has mostly become butter and butter solids, remove the pan from the heat and cover it for a minute to finish setting the whites, specifically in the center of the pan.
Remove the eggs from the pan and serve up breakfast. The bottoms should be caramelized, the whites tender and cream-coated, the yolk firm but runny. Now you have a new way to cook delicious eggs and a path to explore adding flavors.
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 Creative Director Kristen Miglore.