This is a recipe I’ve wanted to try for ages because I found the flavour combination so intriguing, but never got round to because it seemed more complicated than it actually is — and I’m rarely in the mood for anything complicated in the morning. I made it for breakfast yesterday, though (and again today), and kicked myself for not trying it sooner.
I admit I was also wary of yogurt and a fried egg sharing the same plate — but let me assure you, it tastes like never wanting to eat eggs any other way, ever again. Just read the last sentence of the recipe and tell me it doesn’t get your juices going: ‘Spoon the warm sage butter over the eggs and serve at once.’
Spoon the warm sage butter over the eggs... I just want to say it over and over again.
Granted, this recipe is a little more effort than straight-up fried eggs, but your reward is a distinctive breakfast that will leave you with a glow of happiness (and a dopey grin). In fact, it was a real struggle not to make this again for dinner as well... I just can’t stop daydreaming about it: at 9am with some fresh ciabatta; at 1pm with toasted tortillas and a salad, perhaps; or at 7pm with fried polenta and roasted tomatoes. [Insert Homer Simpson drooling noises here.]
The key is to use really thick, creamy, good quality Greek-style yoghurt — nothing too thin or sour (please don’t even bother if you are going ‘low-fat’) — and very fresh eggs. Gyngell gives this rather useless (and weirdly pornographic) advice about how to tell whether your eggs are fresh: ‘Very fresh eggs have bright, shiny yolks that sit proudly on top of bouncy, thick whites as you crack them into the pan. Thin, runny whites are an indication that the eggs are less than fresh.’ I mean, by the time you’ve cracked them into the pan and discover they might be ‘less than fresh’, what are you going to do? Bin them? I dunno, Skye — I don’t think you thought that one through.
But back to the good stuff.
Say it with me now: ‘Spoon the warm ... sage ... butter...’
Fried egg with burnt sage butter, chilli and garlicky yoghurt
(From Skye Gyngell’s My Favourite Ingredients)
240ml good quality Greek-style yoghurt (thick and only mildly sharp)
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
50ml extra virgin olive oil
80g unsalted butter
8 sage leaves
4 very fresh organic free-range eggs
1 red chilli, very finely sliced into rings (seeds left in)
1. Pour the yoghurt into a bowl with the garlic, a good pinch of salt and the olive oil. Stir well to combine and add a little more salt if necessary. Set aside to allow the flavours to adjust to each other while you brown the butter.
2. Place the putter in a non-stick pan along with the sage leaves over a medium heat. Cook, stirring gently, until the butter begins to separate firstly, and then brown. The sediment at the bottom will taste nutty and delicious. You can strain it to remove the sediment if you like, but I prefer to leave it in. Set aside in a warm place while you cook the eggs.
3. Place one large (or two) non-stick frying pan(s) over a medium heat. Add a teaspoon of the browned butter, without the nutty sediment, to each pan. When hot, crack the eggs into the pans and add the sliced chilli. Cook until the whites are firm and the yolks are soft. I like to spoon the hot butter over the whites to encourage the eggs to cook more quickly and to flavour them.
4. To serve, divide the garlicky yoghurt among four plates, carefully lay the eggs on top and scatter over the chilli. Spoon the warm sage butter over the eggs and serve at once.