I absolutely love me a good breakfast. Lunch is usually an afterthought and dinner can swing between exciting or exhausting, but breakfast is filled with promise and sunshine and possibility. You can go sweet or savory, light or loaded, hot, cold, brothy, crispy, squishy, syrupy. It’s limitless.
Here is a semi-virtuous (a full serving of leafy greens!) option for when you have a little extra time in the morning. Kale is blended so it’s lush and creamy without a whole lot of dairy. Cream cheese provides the just-right amount of richness without the need to make a béchamel or cook down a river of heavy cream. Blending greens is rather common in Central and Eastern Europe. I first ate it in Serbia many years ago and have loved it ever since. There’s a comfort in its smoothness.
The recipe calls for kale but you can just as easily use Swiss chard or spinach instead. And while frozen greens can’t be beat for convenience, if you have a stash of fresh, simply ensure it comes to about 20 ounces after cleaning and trimming—then you can proceed with the recipe as-is.
The eggs are fried with a frilly golden skirt, bedazzled with sesame seeds for a toasty crunch. Figure one or two per person, depending on how hungry or hungover or in need of cheering up you are.
And that ginger-garlic crisp! The star of the show. What we’re really here for. It wakes the entire dish up, like one of those Batman-style eye masks straight from the freezer. I usually make three or four times the amount called for below and keep the crispies in a little bowl on the counter, ready to add to everything from a plate of thickly sliced tomatoes to fried rice to roast chicken to popcorn. It’s that good. —Shilpa Uskokovic
- Prep time 25 minutes
- Cook time 25 minutes
- Serves 4
- Creamed greens
unsalted butter, cubed
large yellow onion, diced
large garlic cloves, sliced
serrano (or other hot chile), roughly chopped
(10-ounce) packages frozen kale, unthawed
Fine sea salt
cold cream cheese, cubed
Zest and juice from 1/2 lemon
Freshly ground black pepper
any milk, if needed
- Fried eggs with ginger-garlic crisp
large garlic cloves
fresh ginger (both in length and width)
neutral oil (like sunflower or avocado)
untoasted sesame seeds (white or a mix of black and white)
4 to 8
Flaky sea salt
scallions (green parts only), thinly sliced
- Make the creamed greens: Melt the butter in a 9-inch skillet over medium-low heat. Add the diced onion, garlic, and serrano and cook till the onion is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add the frozen kale and water to the pan, along with 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Cover with a lid and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, till the kale is soft and fully thawed, about 10 minutes.
- Whilst the kale is cooking, make the ginger-garlic crisp. Using a mandolin and lots of care, thinly slice the garlic (to about the thickness of a penny). Slice the ginger into coins the same thickness as the garlic, then cut into thin strips. (If you have a steady hand and a sharp knife that will do too, in a pinch.)
- Transfer the cooked kale mixture and any residual liquid to a food processor (a blender works too). Add the cream cheese, lemon zest and juice and process briefly till the cream cheese melts and the mixture is mostly smooth. Season to taste with more salt and loads of black pepper. (If it seems too thick, feel free to add a splash or two of any milk.)
- Dump the sliced ginger and garlic into a cold 8-inch nonstick skillet along with the oil. Cook over low heat, swirling the pan on occasion, till the garlic just turns a pale golden brown. Watch the bubbles of oil—as the water evaporates from the ginger and garlic, the bubbles will become large and languid, an indication that it’s close to being done. Pour the ginger-garlic crisp into a strainer set over a small bowl to arrest the cooking.
- Fry the eggs: Use the same nonstick skillet from making the ginger-garlic crisp (no need to wash it out). Heat the pan over medium-high heat and, if you need to grease the pan, you can use the strained oil from the crisp. Sprinkle the sesame seeds where the eggs will land. Crack the eggs over the seeds, season with salt, and cook to your desired doneness. (Depending on how many eggs you’re cooking, you might need to do this in batches.)
- Spoon the creamed kale into 4 bowls and slide the eggs onto each serving. Scatter the ginger-garlic crisp and sliced scallions over the eggs. Serve with hot sauce.