I’ve learned that I can transform any leftovers into a completely acceptable breakfast if I do but just one thing: Put an egg on it. Leftover noodles? Put an egg on it. Leftover stir-fry rice? Put an egg on it. Leftover pizza? Put a fried egg on that shit, too. See? But I wondered if I wasn’t missing a glorious egg-topped food I hadn’t considered. And since I recently acquired some snazzy egg-cooking skills, I turned to culinary experts for further inspiration.
Korean short ribs
My favorite dish to add an egg to is our Korean short ribs. The yolk works perfectly with the rich smokiness of the beef and the spice of the gochujang and kimchi.
—EJ Miller, chef at International Smoke, Houston
I came up with this one in summer 2004 on a wilderness expedition in the Pocono Mountains. It’s a chicken egg taco out of the box that is reminiscent of being a kid and making that off-the-wall sandwich because you didn’t know any better: You take a soft shell taco. Throw it in the oven for a few minutes, just to take the chill off. You take some nice braised chicken, shredded and seasoned with love, and layer it into the taco. Then, you take your fried egg and lay that on top of the chicken. Then you take your Cheetos, crush them up and layer a generous sprinkling. Finally a little melted cheddar cheese sauce to finish.
—Daniel Fleming, executive chef at Primal Cut, New York City
Pad Thai is one of our more popular dishes, and topping it with a fried egg is a great addition. The richness of the yolk compliments the spiciness of the sauce. Alternatively, for brunch, I love to put a couple of poached eggs on our kale salad. The richness of the warm yolk together with the subtle saltiness of the Grana Padano is simple but very satisfying.
—Robert McCormick, brand chef at True Food Kitchen, Phoenix
I love a fried egg on a bologna sandwich… so much so that I put one on the menu at Main Street Meats. Our version has house bologna, white cheddar, pickles, chow-chow, and a fried egg.
—Erik Niel, chef at Main Street Meats, Chattanooga, Tennessee
My favorite thing would be to have a poached egg atop one of our Prime ribeye steaks, maybe topped with some arugula salad. The creaminess of the egg, the tartness of the salad and the richness of the steak is the perfect combo.
—Nick Yebba Jr., executive chef at Teresa’s Prime in North Reading, Massachusetts
Breaded chicken cutlets
We have a chicken breast coated with panko crust on the menu, served with heirloom carrots, summer broccoli, and caper brown butter sauce. I had a guest keep adding an egg, and I finally tried it myself. Oh yeah, it’s good.
—Sarah Stegner, co-owner and chef at Prairie Grass Cafe, Chicago
I can guarantee that the best way to eat eggs is with blood sausage and shoe-string potatoes with a sunny-side-up egg on top, sprinkled with a good sea salt over the yolk. To make sure the dish is perfect, the egg needs to be slightly done with runny yolk.
—Fernando Navas, corporate chef at Gerber Group, New York City
Avocado toast, sort of
A really delicious and random snack I frequently have is mashed avocado with sauerkraut and a fried/poached egg. It’s creamy, hearty, and sour all together. I highly recommend it.
—Brian Nasajon, owner and executive chef at Beaker & Gray and Mason Eatery, Miami
Shrimp and grits
Cody and I can eat this dish for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And since we raise crawfish on our farm, it’s such an easy dish for us to put together. We make the roux for the étouffée, add the crawfish, then spoon the étouffée over grits and top it with a poached egg. The combination of flavors are really great because you get the rich flavor from the étouffée, creamy texture from the grits, and the egg just ties it all together.
—Samantha and Cody Carroll, chefs/owners, Sac-a-Lait, New Orleans
I always put a fried egg on grilled cheese. If you have really good Italian bread with a crunchy crust, the egg will hold up in the sandwich. It’s the perfect breakfast or even midday snack.
—Ryan Poli, executive chef at The Catbird Seat, Nashville, Tennessee
One of my favorite things to put an egg on is a sweet, custardy French toast with a little basil pesto, Taleggio cheese, and mortadella. When theses savory flavors come together, along with the sweetness of the French toast, it can make a magical combination, not to mention the built-in sauce that comes from that perfectly runny yolk.
—Joe Giacomino, Co-Executive Chef at Grey Ghost Detroit, Detroit
Hear me out. I love me a fat, bursting-at-the-seams omelet with bacon, mushrooms, sautéed onions, and pepper jack cheese. To me this dish is 97 percent perfect. What’s keeping it from a full score is that often the omelet is overcooked to the point of rubbered flaccidity. So what’s my unnecessary and self-indulgent hack? I turn a three-egg omelet... into four. The fourth egg comes via adding a sunny side-up fried egg atop this omelet, which I then puncture and allow the yolk magma to flow over the mound—allowing for a rich, meaty, luscious omelet. This brings it up to a 100.
—Kevin Pang, The Takeout editor-in-chief