Coarse, spiced, seeded breadcrumbs are thrown into hot olive oil. Eggs are cracked on top and slid under the broiler. The reveal is a golden, crunchy crust on the bottom of the egg whites, with gooey yolks on top. No need for toast here. Maybe a little splash of vinegar. It’s a truly simple, amazing dish that shows off pantry staples and humble technique.
I've adapted this version from Judy Rodgers’ original work, published in The Zuni Café Cookbook. It’s a Zuni classic ingrained into my cooking fabric from years of brunch service—until COVID-19, I worked at the Zuni Cafe as a sous chef.
Adding ground Parmigiano Reggiano and pantry staple spices like chile flakes and fennel seeds give the crumbs a flavor not unlike spicy Italian sausage. (If you don’t have Parm, Pecorino Romano works as well.)
For the bread crumbs, choose a rustic French style bread, like a country loaf with medium-sized crumb that’s in between dense and holey. Peel the outside crust, tear into small (1- to 2-inch pieces) and pulse, in batches, in a food processor until evenly sized.
Serve these eggs with a simple salad like frisee with pickled shallots. I usually have this for breakfast or lunch, so coffee is a natural pair, but a light beer like hefeweizen or even sparkling wine will feel right. —Christian Reynoso
coarse bread crumbs (see Author Notes)
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoons
chile flakes, depending on your spice preference
In a mortar or spice grinder, lightly crush the fennel seed, chile flakes, and black pepper until they’re coarse, not a powder. If you’re using a spice grinder, pulse the spices gently. Transfer the ground spices to a medium bowl, add the bread crumbs and grated Parmigiano Reggiano, and mix to combine.
Turn on the broiler to high. Heat the olive oil in a 9-inch sauté pan over medium heat. Once it’s hot, add the seasoned bread crumbs in a single layer. Swish them around with a wooden spoon to coat with the oil.
Once the crumbs are sizzling and starting to turn a shade darker, crack the eggs into the hot pan. Fry the bread crumbs and eggs until the whites are almost set, then transfer the pan under the broiler. Broil, watching closely and checking frequently, until the egg yolks are as gooey or firm as you’d like.
Use a spatula to transfer the eggs to serving plates (no worries if they get a little messy along the way). Add the vinegar or lemon juice to the emptied sauté pan, swirl to heat, then pour over the eggs. Serve immediately with flaky salt, if you want.