Here are a dozen of my favorite egg recipes, including soups, souffles, latkes, and more, plus pickled eggs, salted eggs, and a super easy boiled eggs method. Now that the days are longer (and chickens are happier), the farmers markets are brimming with eggs. So it’s time to get cracking.
Chinese Salted Raw Eggs (Xiandan): Place ¾ cup sea salt in a large bowl and pour 3 cups boiling water over it, stirring until dissolved. Allow water to cool to room temperature. Add 2 dried red chiles (or star anise) and 2 teaspoons black (or Sichuan) peppercorns to a sterilized wide-mouth, 1-quart canning jar with a screw-top lid. Gently place 1 dozen eggs (or as many as will fit) into the jar. Duck eggs are traditional, but chicken eggs work just fine. Add 2 tablespoons white (or rice) wine to the jar and pour in salted water to completely cover eggs. Add a yogurt or other lid that fits inside the jar, add some wadded-up waxed or parchment paper (do not use aluminum foil), but take care not to press too hard and crack the egg shells. The goal is to keep eggs submerged in the brine. Screw on the jar lid. Place jar in the refrigerator. After 4 to 5 weeks, crack 1 egg into a bowl. The yolk should be dark orange and firm, while the white will appear unchanged. If eggs haven’t cured completely, leave them in the brine and test again every 3 to 7 days. Depending on the size of the egg, thickness of shell, eggs can take 8-12 weeks to cure completely. When eggs are cured, remove from brine, place in a covered container, and refrigerate up to 3 weeks. To use the brine again, strain it through a fine mesh sieve, transfer to a sterilized jar (along with any unused brine), cover, and refrigerate; bring brine to a boil again before using for your next batch of xiandan. Use Xiandan in the same way you would fresh eggs: hard-cooked, fried, scrambled, or in baked goods.
Easy boiled eggs: Making hard-cooked eggs successfully is a challenge. I developed this technique few year ago. I like it because you put the eggs on and set the timer immediately—no waiting for the watched pot to come to a boil! Place 6-8 eggs, or as many as will fit in one layer in a 1½- to 2-quart saucepan. Cover with cold water by at least 1 inch. Put pan on medium-high heat. Set timer for 23 minutes. When the timer goes off, drain water and cover again with cold tap water. If you're planning to peel the eggs immediately (for example, to make deviled eggs or egg salad) crack the shells by tapping them with a spoon or rapping on a hard surface. Let stand in cold water for 30 minutes. Transfer eggs from cold water to a bowl and refrigerate up to one week.
Spiced Pickled Hard-cooked Eggs: Hard-cook and peel 1 dozen eggs. Place a 1 quart canning jar in a large pot, cover with cold water by at least one inch, bring to a boil over high heat, and boil for 10 minutes to sterilize. Turn off heat and let stand in the hot water until ready to use. In a small (1-2 quart) saucepan, add 1½ cups cider vinegar, ½ cup water, 6 thin slices onion, ½ cup table or pickling salt, 1 teaspoon pickling spice, and 1 peeled clove garlic. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the still warm jar from the saucepan and drain any water. Pack the peeled eggs loosely into the warm jar. Strain the hot pickling liquid over the eggs to cover completely. Refrigerate the jar; when the liquid is col, cover the jar and continue to store eggs in the refrigerator. Pickled eggs are best when allowed to age 4 weeks. Use within 4 months.
Portuguese-inspired Kale and Potato Soup: In a large pot over medium-high heat, heat 3 tablespoons oil and saute 1 cup chopped onion about 2 minutes, or until it begins to brown lightly. Add 1 bunch or 4-6 cups roughly chopped kale and continue to cook, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes, or until greens let off a lot of steam and shrink 50-75%. Stir in 8 cups water, 1 pound peeled and diced potatoes, one 15-ounce can black beans, 1 cup diced ham (optional) and ½ teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat slightly, partially cover, and simmer 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Taste and add additional salt. Serve with a hard-cooked egg cut in half, and a dash of hot chile sauce. Makes 6 generous servings.
Asian-style Egg Soup: In a medium (2 quart) saucepan over high heat, bring 2 cups chicken stock to a boil. While stock is heating, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, pour in the eggs and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Turn heat to medium low and cook until eggs 2-3 minutes, or until almost completely set. Turn off the heat. Using a pancake turner, flip the omelet and rest a minute on the other side. Cut the egg into 2 inch by 1/4 inch pieces. When the stock comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium. Add 1 tablespoon Japanese (dark) soy sauce, and 1 minced clove garlic. Optionally, you may also add: ½ teaspoon minced fresh ginger root, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, or ½ teaspoon crushed red chili flakes. Heat soup until warmed through. Serve garnished with sliced green onions and egg strips. Makes 2 servings.
Easy Baked Vegetable Souffle: In a small (1 quart) saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Whisk in 2 tablespoons flour and cook 2 minutes. Whisk in 1 cup milk, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 2 minutes. Stir in ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Press a piece of parchment or wax paper over the top of the sauce to prevent a skin from forming. Cool to room temperature. Beat 2 eggs and stir into the cooled white sauce until well blended. Stir in 2 cups cold, cooked and chopped vegetables (corn, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.). Spoon mixture into well buttered casserole or baking dish—fill no more than ¾ full. Bake at 350°F for 30-40 minutes, or until set.
Root vegetable latkes: In a medium bowl, toss ½ pound each shredded carrots and parsnips, with ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ cup grated or very finely chopped onion, ¼ cup flour, and ¼ teaspoon paprika or crushed red chile (if you like a little heat). Beat 4 eggs, pour over carrot-parsnip mixture, and toss until well combined. Heat oil over medium in a large skillet; fry latkes 1-2 minutes per side, turning once, until they are light golden brown.
Spanish Potato Tortilla (similar to a frittata). Generously butter a 1½ to 2 quart baking or casserole dish. Place 2 cups cubed or shredded cooked potato over the butter. Sprinkle with 2-3 sliced green onions. Whisk together 4 eggs, ½ cup plain yogurt or sour cream, ½ teaspoon salt and several grinding of black pepper. Pour eggs mixture over the potatoes and onions. Bake in a preheated 325° oven for 30-35 minutes, or until eggs are set and the center is firm when pressed lightly.
Pizza with Peppers, Mushrooms, or Spinach, and Egg: Pat or roll pizza dough into a 10- or 12-inch circle and place on a lightly oiled baking sheet or pizza pan sprinkled with cornmeal. Spread dough sparingly with 2-3 tablespoons of tomato sauce, sprinkle with a pinch of dried oregano, salt, and black pepper. Now strew with ½ cup thinly cut fresh or canned roasted red pepper strips, ½ pound thinly sliced fresh or sautéed mushrooms, or 3 cups steamed chopped fresh spinach, and ¼ cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese. Bake on the lowest rack in a preheated oven at 450° for 8 minutes. Remove pizza from oven and gently crack 1 egg into the center. Return pizza to oven and continue to bake for another 6 minutes, or until egg is softly set and crust is golden
Baked Scotch Eggs: Hard-cook 6 eggs, cool, peel and roll egg in flour. Shape 12 ounces breakfast or hot Italian sausage into 6 patties. Top each patty with a floured egg. Moisten hands with cold water and wrap sausage around each egg, sealing completely. Beat 1 egg in small bowl and place ¾ cup breadcrumbs in another bowl. Roll each sausage oval in the beaten egg, then roll in bread crumbs. Place crumb-coated sausage on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake in a reheated oven at 400°F for 25-35 minutes, or until sausage is thoroughly cooked. Serve warm or cold.
Mexican Chilaquiles with Eggs: Heat oil or lard in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Fry 4 corn tortillas cut into strips until crisped, 1-2 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a plate. Add ½ cup chopped onion and 1-2 cloves minced garlic to the pan and sauté briefly, 1-2 minutes. Add 2 cups tomato or tomatillo sauce. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Add the fried tortilla strips and stir until the mixture is well combined. Let the mixture continue to cook until heated through. Serve over scrambled or fried eggs and garnish with cheese (preferably queso fresco or substitute feta), sliced green onions, and fresh cilantro leaves.
Mediterranean-style Eggs Baked in Tomato-Pepper Sauce (Shakshuka): In a large covered skillet or saute pan over medium heat, cook 2 cups tomato or marinara sauce, 2 cups canned (drained) or fresh roasted red pepper strips, 4 cloves chopped garlic, 1 tablespoon paprika, 1 teaspoon ground cumin seed. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the sauce thickens. Taste and season with salt. Make a half-dozen indentations in the sauce and crack an egg into each hole. Cover and simmer 4-5 minutes, or until the whites are gently set and the yolks are still wobbly—but watch closely; the eggs go from very soft to overcooked quickly. Serve the eggs and sauce with yogurt or feta cheese and sliced green onions or freshly chopped parsley. Serve with warm pita bread or thick crusty toast.