IN ANOTHER LIFE, THIS DISH is what saved Prosatio Silban from being the main ingredient in someone else’s meal(1); in this life, it’s what ballasts me at table long enough to read the Sunday morning papers. Random Eggs assumes that the cook knows how to simultaneously brown a variety of different ingredients in a single pan; i.e., the denser the longer. (If you don’t know how, this is a good way to learn.)
Leisurely Eggs (Serves at least two, or one who won’t eat again until dinner)
First, arrange some nice background audio (Django Reinhart, say, or NPR’s “Weekend Edition”). Then add to a large medium-hot pan in the following order, and as art and experience dictates to balance facility with substance:
- Olive oil and/or butter (one keeps the other from smoking)
- Potato (diced)
- Onion (likewise)
- Sausage (sliced. I like chicken-apple and chicken-artichoke. Add this first to forego the olive oil/butter)
- Mushrooms (sliced or quartered)
- Olives (kalamata or pimentoed, sliced or quartered. Stuffed with garlic is also good)
- Artichoke hearts
- Green onions (chopped)
- Black pepper
- Anything else as palate and physics suggests.
Meanwhile, scramble at least two eggs with a complementary cheese or cheeses (I prefer either sharp cheddar or the “Italian blend” of fontina, asiago, mozzarella and Parmesan).
When everything smells and looks right, pour in the egg/cheese scramble and lower the heat. Stir briskly for less than a minute (to coat; you don’t want a frittata, although those are also tasty); just before the eggs are cooked to your liking, turn all onto a plate and garnish with rye toast (or sourdough or whole-wheat or English muffins) and coffee. Lots and lots of coffee(2) — tea or milk won’t stand up to the flavors — and don’t forget the newspaper!
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(1) From the yet-unpublished “Light Breakfast”:
The dish could be thrown together in any fashion, and indeed looked that way on the plate no matter how talented its maker, but was also a time-honored test of skill. A bad cook would toss everything into the pan and hope for the best (including a forgiving palate); a good cook could use as many ingredients as obtainable in such order as to bring out the purest and most complementary flavor of each. So well-known was this principle and so beloved its application that Uulians frequently cited it as suitorial standard (“She’s beautiful, son, but how Leisurely are her Eggs?”).
(20 Actually, seltzer will clear the palate and aerate the esophagus. I like to have both, with sometimes maybe a glass tomato juice to honor the practice of the grandparents who taught me the importance of a leisurely Sunday breakfast. (But I have no idea why they were into the tomato juice.)