When breakfast takes 8 years

As long as we’re confessing kitchen failures, I’ll admit to something sad: I can’t fry eggs. Either I don’t cook the white enough, the yolk ends up solid, or sometimes I wind up with a pathetic combination of the two. But because I make really excellent scrambled eggs, I’ve never let this particular deficiency get me too down.

There is one recipe, however, that frustratingly highlights this failure: Spaghetti with fried eggs. I first came across it  in my first Mark Bittman cookbook, a gift from my mom not too long after I first started living on my own. The book was great – short recipes, few ingredients, and they didn’t turn out vast quantities of food. This recipe seemed particularly useful, since it only needed three ingredients I always had on hand, took 10 minutes and I could easily throw in a vegetable if so inclined.

If only I could fry eggs. I tried it out a few times, but, well, it just never worked for me

I can’t remember the last time I did a proper shop, so all I could find to eat were eggs and an array of just about every carb but bread, I decided to try again. I put a small serving of pasta on to boil (I prefer shapes to the spaghetti family), and a couple of minutes before it was ready I turned on the flame under a frying pan with a healthy splash of olive oil. One of the many things that always goes wrong for me in the egg-frying department is the white seems to spread out to cover much of the pan. While very annoying in typical breakfast scenarios, it was kind of perfect this time because you don’t really want big clumps of cooked egg white in your pasta.

I drained the pasta when it reached my preferred level of doneness, and in a crucial step I suspect I may have skipped over in past, tossed it in some olive oil. When the egg was done – yolk runny, white just about cooked – tipped it out of the pan onto my pasta, and tossed it all together, breaking up the egg as I went along. The heat of the pasta finished cooking the white, and the lovely runny yolk coated the pasta, making a silky sauce.

I finished the dish with salt, pepper and a splash of tabasco. It was great!

Maybe I’ll be able to poach eggs by 2017…



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