Coast Cooking

Egg-cellent ideas for egg dishes beyond breakfast

A hamburger topped with a fried egg adds a richness to the burger.
A hamburger topped with a fried egg adds a richness to the burger. Special to the Sun Herald

Eggs are versatile and delicious.

“Larousse Gastronomique” (the French go-to encyclopedia of all things food) offers about 50 suggestions for ways to use eggs, and “The Silver Spoon” cookbook lists about 70.

The basics

The French distinguish these basic categories for eggs: En cocotte (cooked in individual dishes), boiled, shirred, fried, hard boiled, omelets, poached, scrambled and soft-boiled.

Italians add medium cooked, crepes and the frittata.

Fancy ‘S-Egg-gestions’

▪ Mashed potato “nests” platted, baked golden brown, then filled with a heavy cream-fortified scrambled egg.

▪ A frittata filled with eggplant, bell peppers, Parmesan, butter and fontina cheese.

▪ Scrambled eggs served with smoked salmon, chicken livers or shrimp in a cream sauce.

Simple ‘S-Egg-gestions’

For best results use fresh eggs from the farmer’s market or a friend who has some chickens.

Frittatas and Omelets: The difference between these two preparations is that the omelet is mostly cooked, a filling is added in the center and the omelet is then folded closed. The filling of a frittata is mixed into the eggs and cooked as one.

Basic Omelet: Lightly beat 6-8 eggs, season with just a pinch of salt and 2-3 tablespoons of cream. Butter a nonstick pan, heat to high, pour in the eggs, stirring with a fork, drawing the eggs from the edge toward the center. As soon as the eggs are set, not too firm, slide off the pan onto a plate and fold over. Overcooking an omelet ruins it. The eggs should be firm, but moist.

When filling an omelet follow the directions above, but 2 minutes before the eggs are set, add the filling that you have chosen. Try these combinations. Ham, spinach and a good melting cheese, such as a white cheddar. Shrimp and green onions. Browned pork sausage, diced tomato and lettuce that has been steamed briefly. Try a combination of cheeses, like Parmesan, Emmental, mozzarella and Fontina.

Holstein Burger

When the Germans add a fried or poached egg to a schnitzel or other escalope, they call it Holstein. So, I see nothing wrong with the idea of adding an egg to the top of a burger (or steak for that matter) and giving it the same name. Perhaps other restaurants have taken on the idea, but where I see it most often is in one of the Bacchus restaurants.

Combine half and half ground pork and beef (total 1 pound), season with freshly ground black pepper and red pepper flakes. Soak 1 cup (dry) day-old bread crumbs in water or milk, squeeze out excess milk, then mix all the ingredients together. Form into patties, grill over an open fire until medium well done. Place between a bun, garnish with all the tomato and lettuce you like and at the end of the process add an over-easy fried egg.

Ham and Egg Sandwich

No one I know makes a better ham and egg sandwich than chef/owner Paul Montalto of In and Out Breakfast in Biloxi.

He makes a lot of magic happen in his kitchen, but for a delicious breakfast, this is tops.

2 eggs per sandwich

2-3 tablespoons heavy cream if you like

4-6 thin slices of ham

1 soft bun

Salt and pepper

Combine the eggs, cream and seasoning. The trick to this super thick breakfast sandwich is to whisk the eggs until peaks form (use a hand whisk or an electric mixer). Follow the directions for the basic omelet above, just be sure to use high heat and get it done as quickly as possible. Slide the omelet onto the bun, add the ham (it should be warm) and serve at once.