In college, regardless of major or interests, we’re all forced, at one point or another, to read books that we find boring. If you’re a humanities major, like myself, you might find that you have so much required reading that leisure reading becomes a chore. It’s not until spring break, usually, that it seems even somewhat practical to read anything other than assigned texts. So, once that glorious vacation time arrives, I like to begin my re-immersion into the concept of “reading for pleasure” with an old favorite: something familiar and unfailingly entertaining.
Well, eggs are kind of like a good book: one that you’ve read more times than you can count and that never disappoints. Eggs are simple and reliable.
Growing up, over easy was my favorite way to eat eggs. I taught myself how to make them when I was thirteen because I decided I should be able to eat them whenever I wanted. I liked to poke the top so the yolk would burst onto the crispy whites and, once those were gone, I would use a piece of toast to sop up the excess runny yellow left on my plate.
I still enjoy the nostalgia of eating my eggs this way, but since middle school my palate has become a bit more refined and I rarely have time for eggs in the morning. In fact, eggs have become more of a lunch or dinner item in my mind, which is why a fresh salad with a fried egg on top seems like the best thing to munch on as I work my way through Everything is Illuminated for the umpteenth time and avoid anything written on a syllabus.
Sometimes, when I’m feeling extra fancy, I’ll even replace the fried egg with a poached one – a technique that I decided I taught myself in high school in order to add some sophistication to my culinary skills. However, when eating poached eggs I think I’d also require some classic literature – Persuasion or something of that sort – so, for now, we’ll stick with the fried egg. I think it’s fair to say that the plain fact that you’re enjoying an egg over a warmed salad is just the right amount of elegance for a hungry college student.
Chrysanthe is a senior at Smith College who shares an off-campus apartment with her best friend. To unwind, she enjoys long walks, bad television, good beer, and most of all a gin and tonic.
Fried Egg over Wilted Spinach
about 2 tablespoons olive oil
½ red onion, sliced
½ cup sliced mushrooms (any variety)
2-3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
about 1 cup baby spinach
1 large egg
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of parsley (fresh or dried)
First pour enough olive oil into a saute pan until evenly coated, and turn the burner onto medium. Add your sliced red onion to the pan first and then the sliced mushrooms. When the onion has begun to become translucent and the mushrooms, browned, add the balsamic vinegar to the pan and stir.
Once thoroughly cooked, turn the heat off and put the fresh baby spinach in a bowl or on a plate (you can add more if you prefer). Scoop your sauteed onion and mushrooms on top of the fresh spinach. Pour any excess balsamic into the bowl as well (this is your dressing).
While your spinach is being warmed and wilted by the sauteed vegetables, return to your pan and gently crack an egg into it and season lightly with salt and pepper (you may want to add more olive oil to prevent sticking). Fry the egg until the white is set (about a minute) and then flip gently to cook the other side for another minute or so. If the yolk breaks a bit, don’t sweat it; eggs over easy can be tricky at first, but the more often you make them, the more natural egg-flipping will become.
With the egg finished frying, carefully remove it from the pan with a spatula and top your salad with it. Add more salt and pepper to taste along with a sprinkling of parsley to brighten up the flavors and enjoy!
If you prefer a harder yolk, you may adjust the amount of time that you cook your egg accordingly, however I like to use the runny yolk as an addition to my balsamic dressing. That’s the beauty of eggs, though: you really can have them your way.