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Food Porn: Put an egg on it!

Pizza?  For breakfast? Yes.  Check and mate.

Pizza? For breakfast? Yes. Check and mate.

As you might have guessed from my previous stories and photos here, I love eggs.  There were my musings on the Scotch egg at the Irish House, and of course my addition of a fried egg on top of homemade Korean bokumbap.  Those, combined with Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram photos, led one of my friends to ask: "Dude...what's your deal with eggs?"

Thinking about my friend's quip, he's right.  In retrospect, roughly half of my food photos involve eggs of some sort.  There are a couple of reasons for this.  First, from a purely aesthetic standpoint, a nicely cooked egg is a thing of beauty, something that reliably tends to photograph well.  Second, they're cheap.  If you're low on scratch, you can always take pleasure in knowing that a dozen fresh eggs aren't going to send you to the poorhouse.  Third, eggs are amazing.  They're like nature's perfect protein, a compact little bundle of nutrients that nourish the taste buds, the body, and the soul.  And don't believe the hype that eggs are bad for you because they contain cholesterol.  That's all a bunch of pseudosceintific hooey, and false to boot.  Eggs are a miracle.  They love you.  And, as I  said, I love them.  Here are a couple of facts:

Along with milk, eggs contain the highest biological value (or gold standard) for protein. One egg has only 75 calories but 7 grams of high-quality protein, 5 grams of fat, and 1.6 grams of saturated fat, along with iron, vitamins, minerals, and carotenoids.  The egg is a powerhouse of disease-fighting nutrients like lutein and zeaxanthin. These carotenoids may reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in older adults. And brain development and memory may be enhanced by the choline content of eggs.

So, essentially, eggs will make you smart and keep you from going blind, in addition to being awesome in pretty much every other way.  Kind of hard to beat that.

Another interesting tidbit about eggs is that they are simultaneously both easy and incredibly difficult to cook.  The first thing I ever accomplished in the kitchen was a plate of scrambled eggs. Pretty much anyone with arms can do it, and I'm sure there's at least one armless person out there who cooks up a mean scramble with his feet.  Fried eggs are the same way: crack an egg into a hot, buttered skillet, wait a bit, and presto: breakfast.  Or lunch, or dinner, or brunch, supper, linner, afternoon tea, second breakfast, et cetera.

That said, cooking eggs perfectly can be a lifelong pursuit.  A true test for many chefs is how an apprentice prepares eggs.  Achieving a perfect, fluffy, yellow omelet without any burned, brown rubbery parts or watery, undercooked bits?  It's a task that requires a significant amount of skill, practice, and calculated patience.

Then there are poached eggs.  I've learned how to do a quick poached egg in the microwave, just to throw into a bowl of ramen noodles, but it's far from perfection.  When I want to really do the egg justice (and the egg always deserves justice), I poach them using instructions from world-famous chef Thomas Keller.  His method involves letting the egg sit in a vinegar bath, the creation of a whirling vortex of simmering water, delicate stirring with the handle of a wooden spoon, and an absolutely unfaltering sense of timing.  I've been using this recipe for many months, and while I still don't have it down perfectly, I'm getting there.  I will not stop until I do.

With the number of eggs that I enjoy, you might think it impossible for me to be astounded an amazed by a new egg preparation.  Au contraire, my frere: I present to you, the breakfast pizza, as executed by Chef Jeff Baron at his Mid-City restaurant, Pizzicare.  Naturally, I've eaten pizza for breakfast before -- I did go to college in America -- but that usually consists of a cold, leftover slice from the night before.  It's a pretty satisfying thing, but no where near as satisfying as a hot pie topped with cheese, bacon, ham, onions, peppers, mushrooms, and, naturally, a sunny-side-up egg.  What a thing of marvelous beauty!  I could write odes about this breakfast pizza.

But I'd rather just go ahead and eat it.

How do you like your eggs?


Native New Orleans food writer Scott Gold, author of The Shameless Carnivore, has written for Gourmet, The New Orleans Advocate, Gambit, ThrillistEdible Brooklyn, Tasting Table, The Faster Times, and other publications. His Food Porn Friday column for NolaVie offers a weekly mouth-watering photo essay designed to start culinary conversations in the Big Easy. Find him on Twitter @scottgold.