Stay on-trend by trying a new way with eggs, whether that’s a fancy brunch, remake of a retro classic or delicious global dish.
Eggs are big right now. Whether it’s a hot trend in brunch, meticulously-plated, ultra-likeable eggs on Instagram (always remember to hashtag #putaneggonit, people) or a new restaurant dedicated solely to the fine art of the oeuf (see Bad Egg, The Good Egg – yes, they coexist in the same city – and Yolk London), staying on top of egg trends is ever more challenging. They’re always a big hit on bbcgoodfood.com, too – two of our most popular pages are our boiled egg infographic and poached egg video. But dippy eggs and toast soldiers have made way for more unusual serving methods. Discover 10 contemporary ways of dishing up everybody’s favourite breakfast ingredient with super-cool twists.
10 modern ways to serve eggs
Sri Lankan-style egg hoppers – thin pancakes made from fermented rice flour, cooked over a kind of upturned wok to create a bowl shape – hit the UK eating out scene last summer. By autumn a restaurant dedicated to them opened (the very appropriately-named Hoppers) and we’ve been trying our hand at making our own since. Food writer Rosie Birkett has created a recipe for us using a standard household wok. She swirls the hopper batter up the sides of the wok, then cracks an egg in the middle, as per the Asian tradition. In Sri Lanka, the hoppers are usually served at breakfast but Rosie’s recipe comes with fried chicken, making it worthy of a sharing supper for pals.
We often look to our friends across the Atlantic for foodie inspiration, and when we heard that American restaurants are serving super Seventies devilled eggs, we were flooded with happy visions of cocktail dresses, Abigail’s Party and serving platters with doilies. But the modern devilled egg is a bit posher than your standard buffet offering. Our 2016 version is filled with chicken liver pâté (which we’re pleased to report is piped in, in true retro style) and served with an ultra chic (and ultra trendy) shard of chicken crackling on the side. Now all we need is a glass of Babycham and a slice of Black Forest gâteau for afters.
Sous vide eggs
Sous vide cooking at home became popular a few years back, although the water bath method has long been used by restaurant chefs. Now the term has entered common parlance, it was only a matter of time before people starting sous vide’ing unconventional items. Enter the sous vide egg, or in laypersons terms, a poached egg that’s cooked over a long period on a very low heat. The result is a unique texture with a kind of semi-set white. The good news is that you can now buy sous vide attachments that clip onto the side of a pan, meaning you can experiment with sous vide cooking without having to buy a gigantic water bath for your kitchen.
Taiwanese-influenced restaurant Bao London might be best known for its fluffy steamed buns and long queues, but another thing it's famed for is its blood pudding topped with a shiny whole egg yolk. But golden yolks aren’t just made for dipping – they also add a silky richness to dishes. No better way is this demonstrated than in a traditional, vibrant yellow saffron risotto. The egg yolk is stirred in right at the end, a technique that can be applied to other Italian dishes. Spaghetti carbonara, for instance, can be made without egg whites, using yolk only to give it an extra luxe finish.
We’re massive fans of eggs Benedict and rank it as one of the finest breakfast inventions of all time. But just when we thought the mighty combination of English muffin, hollandaise, egg and ham couldn’t be beaten, we came across extra special Benedicts. Tom Kerridge’s lobster muffins are so luxurious it’s almost obscene, while sky-high restaurant Duck & Waffle serve an ox cheek Benedict that we think is best enjoyed with a stiff cocktail.
Poaching eggs in tomato sauce is a rather clever concept that’s best demonstrated by shakshuka. This breakfast dish – thought to originate in Tunisia – also contains peppers, onions and spices, although it exists in many iterations across the Middle East. We like it with a dollop of thick, creamy yogurt and some tasty flatbreads for dunking. Turkish menemen is a similar dish, but the eggs are scrambled through the tomato mix.
Asian food just keeps mushrooming in popularity in the UK, and brunch-friendly congee – a rice porridge topped with spring onions, herbs and other flavourings – is super modish. Our version is made even cooler by the addition of a soy egg. The method for making them is simple. Hard boil your eggs before submerging them in a soy, sugar and water bath for a few hours. The egg will gain a light soy colouration on the outside, and the umami flavour for which soy is so cherished. You can serve soy eggs on ramen, stir-fries, rice noodle salads, curries – you name it.
The only brunch item trendier than a trendy egg is avocado, whether it’s served on toast, in ribbons, cubed in a salad or with bells on. But if you’ve ever wondered what to do with that little nook you get after you’ve removed the stone, wonder no more – it’s the perfect house for a cracked egg. You might need to remove a bit of extra flesh to stop the egg spilling over the side, but once you’ve nestled it in its soft and silky bed, bake it in the oven until the white is firm. Serve with fresh, chopped coriander, hot sriracha sauce and bread for scooping.
Eggs and chilli are perfect partners – there’s something about the heat of the chilli with the creaminess of the egg – and if we’re not dousing our avocado & poached egg with hot sauce like sriracha, peppery Mexican chilli sauce or Korean gochujang sauce, we’re adding fresh, sliced chilli to our brunches. Our cornbread with ‘devilled’ eggs and avocado ticks several trend boxes in one fell swoop.
Words can't describe our enduring love for soft boiled eggs and buttery toast, but once you’ve souped up your soldiers you might never look back. Our 10 fancy dippers include toast with anchovy butter, rarebits, candied bacon and chorizo soldiers. Just make sure you achieve the perfect boil courtesy of our aforementioned infographic and you’ll be skipping your way into the day after one of the finest breakfasts money can buy…
How do you like your eggs in the morning? Does all this talk of slow-cooking leave you cold, or do you welcome avant garde eggs with open arms? If you fall into the former category, we have more traditional egg recipes that might be more to your liking...