Ode to a runny yolk

So… I’m a bit of an egg addict. I love their versatility, their simplicity, their affordability (even the highest quality eggs cost less than 50 cents apiece- a bargain if you ask me) but most of all I love their delicious runny yolks. It’s a bit of a fetish. I think it’s  a shame that so many of us choose to throw their yolks away (egg white omelette-not for me). Not only are the yolks delicious, but they are also incredibly nutrient-dense. I could go on about the nutritional qualities of eggs, but I won’t. I’d rather talk about eating them in a few different delicious ways that you may not have thought of.

I was watching an episode of “Essential Pepin” (huge fan of good ol’ Jacques) when he was making a basic tomato soup. I was only mildly interested when he was pouring the soup into a bowl until… he took a gently soft-boiled egg, and gingerly placed it right in the middle of the soup.


The yolk runs into the soup making it extra rich. This screams for a chunk of bread for dippin.

What a simple way to completely up the ante. Adding a perfectly cooked egg to a simple tomato soup takes it from a bit of a run-of-the-mill snack, to a pretty special lunch or light supper. Add a chunk of crusty garlic-rubbed bread and you’re in business. I made this for a girlfriend the next evening, and it was perfect.

This got me thinking. What other foods can be magically transformed by simply throwing an egg in it? I was talking about it with a Portuguese co-worker of mine, and she told me that they crack eggs on top of sautéed peas and onions. After a few minutes with the lid on, the eggs are gently steamed to perfection. Baked eggs in creamed spinach is a classic, as well as the brunch favourite “Eggs in Hell” where eggs are gently poached in a fiery hot tomato sauce. The possibilities are endless.

Frozen peas, an onion and an egg transformed into something quite special.

Give these ideas a try for dinner. And send along your ideas for egg-topped entrées!

Basic Tomato Soup

  • 1 onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 stick celery
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 can whole tomatoes (400g or so)
  • 1 can water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt, pepper, and honey to taste.
  • A knob of butter

Roughly chop the onion, carrot, celery and saute in olive oil with peeled cloves of garlic (no need to chop)- 3-5mins

Add the tomatoes, water, bay leaf, salt and pepper and simmer until veggies are quite soft (15-25mins)

Remove bay leaf, and puree with hand blender until smooth.

Adjust consistancy with water, adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, and finish with a knob of butter or a drizzle of olive oil, or both.

Perfect Soft-Boiled eggs

  1. Using a cold egg from the fridge, place the egg into a pot, and cover with cold water.
  2. Bring to a boil on high heat.
  3. Turn burner OFF, and cover with a lid.
  4. Set timer for 4 minutes.

After 4 minutes, dump out the hot water and fill the pot with cold water from the tap. Wait a minute or two until egg is cool enough to handle, then peel.

*It is true that very fresh eggs are hard to peel. As eggs age, they sort of dry out a bit and the skin (shell membrane) starts to separate from the shell making it much easier to peel! 


2 thoughts on “Ode to a runny yolk

  1. Eggs are the one thing I miss as a vegan of 2.5 years- the thing I’m constantly thinking about starting to eat again! Just a couple of weeks ago, I actually ‘broke’ for the first time, for a florentine benny, and it was everything I’d dreamed it would be. I love photos of dishes with a perfectly poached egg on top- on hashes & warm salads- I call it egg porn. Might have to adapt my diet to this craving and be a vEGGan…

  2. I have been waiting for you to post this recipe and I made it up today. It is terrific, though I am sure you and Jacques meant to put in some white wine, right? Just an oversight, so I fixed it:-)

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