The Best Style of Egg for Every Type of Sad Dinner (Ain’t No Shame)

The Best Style of Egg for Every Type of Sad Dinner (Ain't No Shame) photo
Credit: Peden + Munk

Real talk: You’re not going to whip up a gorgeous, Instagram-worthy, three-course dinner every night of the week. And neither are we. Most nights, we’re gonna heat up some leftover takeout rice, slice up some cold steak, or, yeah, just toast some bread. That’s perfectly fine. But if you want to take things to the next level (i.e. make your dinner a little less sad), all you have to do is put an egg on it. Or in it. Heck, any way you involve an egg is guaranteed success. You know this already.

But when should you scramble ‘em? When is a fried egg ideal? What foods really need a poached egg? George Weld, chef and owner of Egg, Brooklyn’s obsessive homage to the incredible, edible protein, has the answers. Here’s his guide for making even the saddest dinners better.

Three-Day Old Takeout Pizza: Baked
“You can dress up even crappy pizza by baking an egg onto the slice as you reheat it. Just cook until the white is set—that should give enough time to get the slice hot. It’d be especially good on a slice with spicy meats like soppressata or pepperoni.”

The Second Half of That Grain Bowl You Ordered for Lunch (Last) Tuesday: Medium-Boiled Egg
“This will look nice sliced open; that big gold coin of a yolk against the small grains of rice or farro—and it’ll break up into the grains and dress them as you eat.”

Shrimp Fried Rice. Put a (scrambled) egg on it. Photo: Gentl & Hyers

Congealed Fried Rice From Last Night’s Takeout Binge: Semi-Scrambled or Sunny-Side Up
“For fried rice, whisking the egg and throwing it in at the end of cooking—going the classic egg-and-fried-rice route—is still hard to beat. But if you fry the rice hard, so that it gets a little crunchy, laying a sunny side egg on top of the plate once you’ve cooked it would be a nice alternative.”

Toast Made From That Sorta (Definitely) Stale Loaf of Bread: Scrambled
“If you’re reduced to eating toast for dinner, I’d go with a scrambled egg. Scooping eggs onto your toast will give you something fun to do to distract yourself from your empty shelves. Also scrambled eggs on toast is really one of the best things on earth.”

BA’s Best Soft Scrambled Eggs. Best with toast. Photo: Alex Lau

Cold, Sliced Steak You Took Home In a Doggie Bag After Friday’s Tinder Date: Scrambled
“For steak, if you’re not worried about appearances, go for scrambled—the juices run together with the eggs, and you get it all in one perfect bite. As a bonus, you get the benefits of a fancy sauce like bérnaise without any of the trouble.”

Just a Giant Tray of Roasted Veggies: Mayo
“For roasted vegetables, go for homemade mayonnaise, maybe spiced up with some cayenne and heavy on lemon. It’s an egg preparation that people forget about, but it’s super easy and delicious and worth the 5 minutes it takes to make.”

Ludo Lefebvre’s Omelet. Only if you’re feeling fancy, though. Photo: Michael Graydon & Nikole Herriott

Green Salad (You’re Telling Yourself It’s Healthy, But Really, Lettuce Is the Only Thing In Your Fridge): Classic Rolled Omelet
“One of the best egg preparations for redeeming dinner is a rolled omelet. You get the Elizabeth David imprimatur for this one, and you could even show it to guests with no shame. I especially like it with a salad because it balances so nicely—the salad is bright, light, and crisp; the omelet is dense, rich, and tender. They make a nice kind of nutritional balance, as well.”

Sautéed Greens (You’re Telling Yourself It’s Healthy, But Really, Kale Is the Only Thing In Your Fridge): Poached
“Poach eggs as a side for sautéed greens—the eggs will seem more substantial that way, and you’ll get a great sauce where the juices from the greens and the yolk from the egg come together.”

One Big Skillet of Sautéed Button Mushrooms, Onions if You’re Lucky: Omelet or Scrambled
“For sautéed mushrooms go with either an omelet or scrambled eggs again, but as with the eggplant it’s key to try to get some crispy edges with mushrooms—an all-soft dinner is taking the sadness too far.”

Spicy Chicken Soup. Photo: Yossy Arefi

Canned Chicken Soup: Soft-Boiled or Poached
“I’d drop a soft- or medium-boiled egg into chicken soup, or else a poached egg—the yolk will thicken the broth, making it richer in texture and taste. But, that said, I’m never so sad that I’d eat chicken soup for dinner.”

Soft Taco Shells With…Salsa? I Think There’s Salsa In the Fridge?: No Eggs Allowed (Okay, Maybe Scrambled)
“I have to admit that I don’t think I’d ever have an egg on a taco. Evan [Egg restaurant’s head chef] is less of a taco purist than I am, but unless you’re talking about making a miniature breakfast burrito for dinner—in which case, scrambled egg with cheese and all manners of nonsense inside it is the way to go—save your eggs for breakfast. Also, of all the things on this list, tacos are the least inherently sad. If you’re ever sad about having tacos for dinner invite me over and my excitement will just wash your blues away.

Lone Sausage: Scrambled or Poached
“I have one other sad dinner that I resort to regularly, which is just a fat sausage and scrambled or poached eggs. I do try to throw a little salad on the side of this sad plate to keep it from being just tragic. I like a spicy sausage so that it doesn’t feel too much like breakfast-for-dinner…although at the end of the day, that’s not so bad, either.”

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