24 Recipes That Make the Most of Eggs

It can be difficult to get Quentin Compson — my 10-year-old, wire-haired rescue dog — to rise from her bed. But one guaranteed way is to boil an egg. The second I break open that shell, I know that I can look down at my feet and see her standing right there, tail wagging, waiting for a bite.

We have a system, in a way: I crack the hot egg against the counter and run it under the cold tap to cool it down, then  I peel it open with my fingers, eat the yolk over the sink and hand her the white. Every time I do this, I’m reminded of the children’s book “Elmer and the Dragon,” in which the protagonist eats tangerines and feeds the peels to his pet dragon. Quentin isn’t a dragon, but she’s full of fire whenever I peel an egg.

I don’t blame her. Have you ever eaten a perfectly boiled egg, unadorned save for a sprinkle of salt? Sometimes, when I’m especially hungry and harried,  I skip the salt — and might even prefer it that way. Because when you bite into a sublimely cooked egg, it’s the rich flavor of the still-warm yolk that lingers.

A magician in the kitchen, the egg can transform the most meager meals into extravagant feasts, or serve as midnight snackspeedy breakfast and weeknight wonder all at once. It can work across cultures, cuisines and courses, providing the filling to one of life’s greatest salad sandwiches, pomp to a hearty curry or shakshuka, and an airy structure to sweet creations like flansponge cake and Pavlova.

For many, an egg is just an egg. But what I’ve learned over the years — and what the recipes that follow showcase — is that an egg can be so much more: a blank canvas for flavor and sustenance, in both form and content, feeding us reliably like a dragon keeper’s leftover tangerine peels.

TIME: 5 minutes

The secret to creamier scrambled eggs might be sitting in your pantry right now. (It’s starch!) Borrowing a technique from Mandy Lee of the food blog Lady and Pups, J. Kenji López-Alt mixed starch (potato, tapioca or corn) and water for a slurry that, he said, “can physically impede the linking of proteins.” In the end, you get moist, tender eggs, even if you let them cook a little longer.

Recipe: Extra-Creamy Scrambled Eggs

TIME: 35 minutes

Vallery Lomas celebrates the spicy-sharp flavors of pimento cheese by cooking it into a frittata. First, cream cheese pieces are tucked into the freezer so that, by the time they’re added to the pan and the eggs are poured overtop and baked, you’re left with a little silkiness in each bite.

Recipe: Pimento Cheese Frittata

TIME: 50 minutes

Originating in North Africa, shakshuka is, as Melissa Clark writes, “at the apex of eggs-for-dinner recipes.” A breakfast dish in Israel, it is, at its core, a one-pan meal of tomatoes, red peppers, spices and yolky eggs that can be eaten any time of day. In this variation, which veers slightly from more traditional recipes, feta adds saline sharpness in flavor and, as it heats through, creamy softness in texture.

Recipe: Shakshuka With Feta

TIME: About 10 minutes

There’s nothing worse than peeling a stubborn boiled egg — that is, the kind where the shell has somehow fused together with the white, clinging on for dear life. J. Kenji López-Alt and a team of volunteers prepared and tasted more than 700 eggs to arrive at a better way: cooking them in an inch of water. Ideally, you want slightly older eggs, which peel faster than fresh, and to cook them straight from the fridge.

Recipe: Perfect Boiled Eggs

TIME: 1 hour

Nutrient-rich eggs serve as the base for many classic regional dishes in India, and this recipe from Tejal Rao is just one example. It stars boiled eggs gently stirred through an aromatic curry of alliums, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and fresh tomatoes. Tejal prefers halved 8-minute eggs, but in Andhra Pradesh, the eggs in this dish would be cooked firmer and left whole.

Recipe: Egg Curry

TIME: 30 minutes

“Does the passion that a cook brings to even a simple recipe like narjissiya — a dish made with sunny-side-up eggs — actually enhance its flavor?” the cookbook author Reem Kassis asks, writing about nafas. It’s “an energy some people possess that makes their meals not only good, but exceptional.” In her take on this dish, whose variations ranged from including meat and broad beans to chickpeas and yogurt, the vibrant flavors of spring (and the wild asparagus fields of the Levant) provide inspiration.

Recipe: Narjissiya With Asparagus, Halloumi and Sumac

TIME: 1½ hours, plus chilling

This caramel-laden Iberian flan is, as Julia Moskin wrote in 2016, “pure poetry made of eggs, sugar and milk.” The condensed and evaporated milks of New World flans, now common, are nowhere to be found in flan a la antigua (or old-fashioned flan), which leans into the rounded bitterness of cooked sugar and the rich, eggy flavor of six whole eggs plus two yolks. This recipe, adapted from Katie Button and Genevieve Ko’s, smartly calls for a blender for the smoothest texture.

Recipe: Flan de Leche

TIME: 10 minutes

Serving as both cooking medium and basting fat, olive oil, heated “until it ripples like the ocean,” is the secret to these ideal fried eggs from Ali Slagle. The oil is spooned over the whites at the end to cook them, yielding lacy-crisp edges and still-runny yolks. For maximum ease, feel free to scale it up or down accordingly.

Recipe: Olive Oil-Fried Egg

TIME: 20 minutes

Scrambled eggs bound by Monterey Jack and encased in warm flour tortillas with refried beans, avocado and cilantro make for a comforting on-the-go breakfast. Yewande Komolafe’s recommended rolling technique, in which smaller tortillas are left open-ended, yields bundles of sunshine that can be prepared ahead of time, frozen and reheated in the oven.

Recipe: Breakfast Burritos

TIME: 10 minutes

Gyeran bap is a lifesaving Korean pantry meal of fried eggs stirred into steamed white rice. In this version from Eric Kim, the eggs fry and puff slightly in a shallow bath of browned butter. Soy sauce, which reduces in the pan, seasons the rice, as does a final smattering of salty gim, or roasted seaweed. A dash of sesame oil lends comforting nuttiness, and runny yolks act as a makeshift sauce for the rice, slicking each grain with eggy gold.

Recipe: Gyeran Bap (Egg Rice)

TIME: 2 hours

The cookbook author Nigella Lawson developed this recipe for The New York Times back in 2003, accompanying a column titled “In a Tyranny of Children, the Cook Can Be King.” When “an excess of children has made you lose the will to live,” as she writes, you can make a Pavlova. Named for the prima ballerina Anna Pavlova, it could not be easier, nor could it better showcase the egg’s potential, as its whites whisk into a glossy meringue full of volume and majesty. All one has to do is top it with whipped cream and balsamic-doused strawberries, whose tart juiciness offers ripples of relief from the meringue’s crisp sweetness.

Recipe: Strawberry Pavlova

TIME: About 25 minutes

In this warming Italian soup, “tendrils of quickly cooked eggs,” as Samin Nosrat describes them, are seasoned with Parmesan, nutmeg and freshly ground black pepper. The delicate chicken broth, fortified with onions and a Parmesan rind, is an ideal lagoon for the cheesy eggs, which should be incorporated into the hot pot in a thin stream so as not to scramble them. Whisk constantly while doing so, then watch as the egg mixture spirals into a plantlike tangle.

Recipe: Stracciatella Alla Romana (Roman Egg Drop Soup)

TIME: 45 minutes

The egg salad sandwich is already grand. But the chefs Akira Akuto and Nick Montgomery of Konbi in Los Angeles may have perfected it. This version, inspired by the delicious packaged sandwiches at the Japanese chain Lawson, binds together a savory mixture of scallions, Kewpie mayonnaise, crème fraîche and rice vinegar with chopped hard-boiled eggs, and it fits them snugly between slices of soft Japanese milk bread. The particular joy of this sandwich lies in the extra egg hidden within, which, when sliced into, reveals a golden round like a sunset.

Recipe: Konbi’s Egg Salad Sandwich

TIME: 45 minutes

A hearty Mexican breakfast dish served after a hard morning’s work, huevos rancheros (or “ranch-style eggs”) are a simple but powerful way to dress everyday eggs. In this Kay Chun recipe, a homemade salsa is used three ways: simmered into the warm ranchero sauce that drapes the eggs; stirred through the refried beans for added vitality; and served atop for a tangy finish.

Recipe: Huevos Rancheros

TIME: 30 minutes

Egg mayo is as interesting as the story behind it: In France, the Association de Sauvegarde de l’Oeuf Mayonnaise, as its name suggests, safeguards it. A pure celebration of the egg and its many flavors, this recipe, adapted from the chef Priscilla Martell, stars eggs as both the main protein itself and the condiment — a gorgeous homemade mayonnaise — that drapes it.

Recipe: Egg Mayo

TIME: 15 minutes

You could make this rolled omelet in a classic Japanese tamagoyaki pan, a square dream of a kitchen appliance, but this recipe from Kiera Wright-Ruiz works just as well in a nonstick skillet. When made right, tamagoyaki is a feat of patience and wonder: First, a thin coating of egg is rolled onto itself to the edge of the pan like a sleeping bag; a second coating creates more layers around the first; and this process is repeated until you’re left with a tender, multilayered omelet that is at once mesmerizing to look at and satisfying to eat.

Recipe: Tamagoyaki

TIME: 10 minutes

Reminiscent of Chinese zheng shui dan, Japanese chawanmushi and Korean gyeran jjim, this streamlined recipe from Eric Kim cooks entirely in the microwave. The key to that wibble-wobble texture (think silken tofu) is using your microwave at around 500 watts — or half its power on a 1,000-watt machine. This lower heat lets the eggs and broth steam together gently until they bind into something ethereal, existing somewhere between liquid and solid.

Recipe: Microwave-Steamed Eggs

TIME: 50 minutes

Claire Saffitz’s recipe, which has similarities to chiffon and génoise cakes, and the oil-based sponge cakes often found in Asian bakeries, maximizes the potential of four eggs by first whipping up the whites into a fluffy meringue with stiff peaks, and then beating the yolks with sugar and emulsifying that mixture with oil. It’s the oil here that contributes to the cake’s final, airy-but-moist texture.

Recipe: Sponge Cake

TIME: 1 hour

Avgolemono, a delicate emulsion of eggs and lemon juice added at the very last moment, provides the velvety texture and vibrant flavor in this riff on a classic. In the United States, avgolemono soup is often plump with chicken and rice, but in this recipe, Melissa Clark uses chicken meatballs to achieve the same end.

Recipe: Youvarlakia Avgolemono (Lemony Greek Meatball Soup)

TIME: 25 minutes

“You probably think I do this for everybody,” Meryl Streep, as Rachel, says to Jack Nicholson’s Mark in the 1986 film “Heartburn,” after cooking up a late-night carbonara. We can’t all be Meryl Streep, but you can whip up a mean pasta with this foolproof recipe from Ian Fisher, which calls for pecorino and Parmesan, egg yolks and whole eggs, and olive oil-fried guanciale, which permeates the dish with its irresistible porkiness.

Recipe: Spaghetti Carbonara

TIME: 5 minutes

A Chinese American adaptation of jian bing, a breakfast dish served throughout Northern China and Taiwan, this Genevieve Ko recipe swaps the traditional thin pancake for flour tortillas, a store-bought ingredient prevalent in the home kitchens of Los Angeles, where she grew up. Condiments like pickled mustard greens, hoisin and chile paste add zing and verve to this quick dish.

Recipe: Scallion Egg Wrap

TIME: 15 minutes

Who better than Jacques Pépin to teach us how to make a classic French omelet? This one is cooked simply in a little oil and butter, with chopped fine herbs stirred throughout. Store-bought herbs work well here, but, of course, if you have a lush garden from which to pluck them, all the better. The key to a primrose surface and soft-set interior lies in continuously agitating the eggs while they set into small curds, one hand stirring with a fork and the other shaking the pan.

Recipe: Fines Herbes Omelet

TIME: 20 minutes

Francis Lam, a former New York Times Magazine columnist, closed his run with this dish. Scouring the internet for recipes, he found a longing for connection through food among the comments: People, he wrote, “coming to someone else’s recipes to connect them to where they came from while being rooted in where they are.” These eggs dragged through sweet-tart tomatoes might be simple, but, for Francis, a son of Chinese immigrants, they’re full of nostalgia.

Recipe: Stir-Fried Tomatoes and Eggs

TIME: 45 minutes, plus chilling and freezing

In this lemony tart, from the pastry chef Dolester Miles, egg yolks add richness to the filling and the crust. For the Swiss meringue on top, egg whites are cooked in a double boiler with sugar, then whipped into a billowy cloud that maintains its lift, even once blasted with a kitchen torch.

Recipe: Dolester Miles’s Lemon Meringue Tart

Produced by Krysten Chambrot, Kim Gougenheim, Rebecca Halleck and Tanya Sichynsky. Special thanks to Mary Jane Callister and Wayne Kamidoi.

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