Crispy Eggs Fried in Bread Crumbs

June 15, 2020
16 Ratings
Photo by Ty Mecham. Prop Stylist: Veronica Olson. Food Stylist: Kate Buckens.
  • Serves 2
Author Notes

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

What You'll Need
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoons chile flakes, depending on your spice preference
  • 1 cup coarse fresh bread crumbs (see Author Notes)
  • 1/2 ounce Parmigiano Reggiano, finely grated or ground (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar (or freshly squeezed lemon juice)
  1. In a mortar or spice grinder, lightly crush the fennel seeds, black peppercorns, and chile flakes until they’re coarse, not a powder. Transfer the ground spices to a medium bowl. Add the bread crumbs, Parmigiano Reggiano, and salt and mix to combine.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Heather Akers
    Heather Akers
  • Jolie Hunt
    Jolie Hunt
  • Karen Leibowitz
    Karen Leibowitz
  • Andrew Pappas
    Andrew Pappas
  • thebubblygirl

17 Reviews

derra November 6, 2020
great recipe! some changes i made -
- substitute red wine vinegar with balsamic
- using garam masala instead of fennel
- frying on the pan with the lid on, no broiling
Hughej1 September 5, 2020
Fabulous way to eat eggs when you don’t have any bread! 1
Hughej1 September 5, 2020
Fabulous way to eat eggs when you don’t have any bread!
[email protected] August 10, 2020
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made this for supper. I buy baguettes and process them into coarse crumbs in the Vitamix and keep them In the freezer. What a great, fast, go to supper. I usually serve it with sliced tomatoes. Thank you, thank you!
Heather A. July 28, 2020
This was SO GOOD. I used panko bread crumbs instead because they were what we had, and they worked great!
Sugarloafer July 26, 2020
This is a game changer for Sunday brunch! I followed the recipe exactly, using fresh lemon juice to deglaze they pan and top the eggs. I served it with roasted heirloom cherry tomatoes and it was beautiful and delicious. Next time I’ll toss some chopped parsley on top to add color.
Great recipe! Thanks.
Jolie H. June 28, 2020
I made this today and it was spectacular. Followed to the letter.
Karen L. June 25, 2020
This recipe sounds AWESOME and I can't wait to make it. However, the eggs in the photo do not look like they were put under the broiler. If they were, wouldn't the tops of the yolks be white? Am I right to assume that the tops of the yolks would be white after broiled?
Ivonnemz June 21, 2020
Is the bread recommended fresh or a couple of days old.
Jude June 21, 2020
Very good! Thank you!
Andrew P. June 21, 2020
Ingredients list is incomplete. Where is the orange marmalade I always spread on buttered toast with sunny side up eggs?
NancyT June 21, 2020
Yesterday’s breakfast. Go wild, try something new!
Andrew P. June 25, 2020
My comment was meant in gentle humor to suggest I might miss the marmalade this recipe would have me forego. I try new things all the time, but usually not when doing so would ask me to give up something I love. You’re sweet!
thebubblygirl June 21, 2020
I’ve been making Parmesan-bottom eggs since finding that recipe here at F52. Now I’ll add some seasoned crumbs. Long live Zuni Cafe!
Peggy G. August 18, 2020
Where can I find the Recipe For Parmesan Bottom Eggs?
Das_Muller June 19, 2020
Just made this. Incredibly good and very easy! This will definitely be a part of our breakfast rotation. The fennel really sets it off.
MaxMom June 16, 2020
Thank you for updating this recipe. I found this recipe originally in one of the Best American recipes compilation editions and it led me to purchase the Zuni Cafe cookbook because I wanted to read more ideas from someone who could elevate such simple ingredients. That said, I used to flip the egg and occasionally a bread crumb would puncture the yolk. Popping it under the broiler is so much easier! What a great idea. Thank you so much for sharing it.