You might be a wizard with the egg skillet, able to scramble and fry and poach with the best of them. But have you ever tried an egg on top of a pizza, or cooked inside of a baked potato? It turns out the egg is even more versatile than we thought, adding protein and a little culinary oomph to a variety of unexpected dishes. Here are just a few.
These days, pizza for breakfast means more than just a cold slice from the night before. Stoneburner in Seattle features a breakfast pizza topped with porchetta and sunny-side-up eggs, while New York’s Rossopomodoro offers an individual pie topped with buffalo mozzarella, pecorino, and two fried eggs for brunch. You could try recreating either of these recipes, or do as Smitten Kitchen advises: Roll out some dough, sprinkle mozzarella cheese, green onions, shallots, and some cooked bacon bits on top, and then crack an egg (or three) over everything and bake for 8 to 10 minutes.
Americans actually have a long and proud history of adding an egg to their libations. The Colonists enjoyed Sack Posset, a hot dessert-drink made with cream, nutmeg, wine, and eggs. In 19th and early 20th century New Orleans, a foamy drink called a Ramos Fizz (a riff on the gin fizz) was all the rage. Today, restaurants like FIG in Charleston are mixing egg whites in with a variety of sophisticated cocktails like the Chartreuse Fizz, made with rum, lime, egg white, and jasmine bitters [PDF].
Add a fried or sunny-side-up egg to a hamburger, and you’ve got instant brunch fare. Restaurants across the country have caught on and gotten pretty creative with their selections. L.A’s Plan Check serves up a cheeseburger with bacon, a runny egg, and hot sauce, while the Peached Tortilla in Austin offers a 6-ounce beef burger topped with fried egg, tempura onion strips, and Chinese BBQ sauce [PDF]. If you’re cooking at home, try making an egg-in-the-hole burger by hollowing out the hamburger patty and cooking the egg inside.
Although it may sound odd, adding a poached egg on top of spaghetti with marinara sauce (or even cooking it in with the sauce itself) is something chefs swear by. If you’re skeptical, or refuse to sully grandma’s time-honored marinara, try this highly rated recipe from Mark Bittman that mixes spaghetti noodles with a sauce of fried eggs, garlic, olive oil and cheese.
5. PULLED PORK
It seems downright dangerous to meddle with a southern favorite like this, but throwing in an egg can add indulgence without detracting from that tangy, meaty flavor. Try a fried egg as a sandwich topper, or do away with the bun entirely and wrap pork, sauce, and egg together in a tortilla. For a lighter take, try this recipe for pulled pork and egg lettuce wraps. And if you’re ever in Nashville, stop by Acme Feed & Seed for a pulled pork, egg and bean dish known simply as Damn Good.
Ramen fans are no stranger to dropping a hard-boiled egg in with their noodles and broth. And it turns out, an egg is a welcome addition to many other soups. Slide a poached egg on top of potato and kale soup and let the runny yolk create a creamy broth. Or if you’re up for a challenge, tackle this Martha Stewart recipe for homemade tomato soup with a poached egg. If French onion soup is your thing, try a fried egg on top next time.
Scrambled egg tacos are a Mexican tradition that’s easy to make at home. Use the eggs as the main protein along with cilantro, corn and salsa—or spread over top of chorizo or seasoned pork. Mario Batali has a recipe for eggs and black bean tacos that’s super cheap to make, while Martha Stewart recommends cooking salsa with the eggs for a spicy scramble.
According to a recent study, adding an egg to your salad can increase your body’s absorption of nutrients from the vegetables. How? Researchers believe lipids inside the yolk are key to upping the intake, and that fats found in salad dressing can further increase absorption. Spinach and frisée salads are ideal for poached or fried eggs. The same goes for an asparagus salad. And then of course there’s always the tried-and-true hardboiled egg on the side.
9. BAKED POTATO
There are numerous ways to approach this one. You could make the ingenious breakfast hack known as an Idaho Sunrise by cooking an egg, cheese, and bacon inside a hollowed-out potato skin. Or, try the same ingredients atop a twice-baked potato. If you’re counting calories, a fried egg and some pepper should do the trick. There’s really no way to go wrong with a dish that’s made to be decked-out with toppings.