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Four ways with eggs that go beyond breakfast

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Back when I lived alone, before I was married, I ate eggs for dinner several nights a week – usually scrambled, sometimes poached, always salted to the nines. It was among my happiest habits for one.

That time is long gone, but the eggs remain: I eat them nearly every day in one form or another, for breakfast, lunch or dinner. They are cuisine-crossing, genre-hopping staples, as reliably delicious a food as exists on this earth.

In honour of that delicious ingredient, I’ve got eggs-for-dinner ideas for you below (it could’ve been 50; I really love eggs).

Huevos rancheros

Eggs “rancher’s style” is a traditional, hearty Mexican breakfast typically enjoyed after a hard morning’s work. But it also makes for a satisfying and comforting weeknight dinner. The simple yet flavourful homemade salsa comes together quickly and is smartly used in three ways: a quick simmer transforms the salsa into the warm ranchero sauce; it adds a zesty flavour that shines through in the smoky refried beans; and it gives a final fresh finish as a tangy topping. Any leftover ranchero sauce and refried beans make for great dips the next day.

By: Kay Chun

Serves: 4

Total time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

900g ripe tomatoes, diced

40g finely chopped white onion (from ½ medium onion)

2 tbsp lemon juice

1 small jalapeño, stemmed and minced

2 tsp salt, plus more for seasoning

½ tsp grated garlic

60ml neutral oil, such as safflower or canola

2 (425g) tins black beans

¾ tsp ground cumin

¼ tsp smoked paprika

8 large eggs

2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves, plus more for serving

8 (15cm) warmed corn tortillas

Sliced avocado and crumbled queso fresco, for serving

Method:

1. In a medium saucepan, combine tomatoes, onion, lemon juice, jalapeño, 2 teaspoons salt and ¼ teaspoon of the garlic, and mix well. Transfer 1½ cups of the fresh salsa to a bowl and set aside.

2. Cook the remaining salsa over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the tomatoes soften and the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. Transfer the ranchero sauce to a bowl and cover to keep warm (you should have about 2 cups).

3. In the same saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium. Add the remaining ¼ teaspoon garlic and stir until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add the beans (and their liquid), cumin, smoked paprika and ½ cup of the reserved fresh salsa, and cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently and mashing with the back of a spoon or potato masher, until the mixture is smooth and thick, about 10 minutes. Season with salt to taste and remove from heat.

4. In a 30cm nonstick frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium. Crack in 4 of the eggs and cook undisturbed until whites are set but yolks are still runny, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a large plate and repeat with the remaining oil and eggs.

5. Meanwhile, stir the coriander into the remaining 1 cup reserved salsa. Divide the tortillas across 4 plates (2 per plate). Spread refried black beans on the tortillas and top each with an egg. Cover the eggs with ranchero sauce. Divide avocado on the plates and garnish with some of the fresh salsa, queso fresco and coriander.

Pasta with mushrooms, fried eggs and herbs

This autumn-inspired, earthy pasta uses a combination of mushrooms for depth of flavour and is topped with a runny egg, which silkens up the sauce. Supermarkets these days generally have a good selection of different varieties such as cremini and shiitake, but if your standard white-button mushroom is all that’s available, this dish will still be a winner. If you’re not feeling pasta, the mushrooms are equally good served on top of creamy polenta or on their own. Red wine not optional.

By: Colu Henry

Serves: 4 to 6

Total time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:

Salt

450g rigatoni or mezzi rigatoni

3 tbsp olive oil, plus more for serving

4 large eggs

Black pepper

4 tbsp unsalted butter

680g mixed mushrooms such as cremini, white button and shiitake, trimmed and roughly torn or chopped

1 large shallot, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 tsp thyme, finely chopped

½ tsp red-pepper flakes

25g grated pecorino or parmesan, plus more for serving

Handful roughly chopped Italian parsley, leaves and tender stems

2 tbsp torn mint, for garnish (optional, but recommended)

Method:

1. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil and cook pasta until it’s al dente, 1 to 2 minutes less than package directions. Drain, reserving 1½ cups pasta water.

2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Crack the eggs into the pan and season with salt and pepper. Fry until the undersides are golden and crispy and the yolk is still runny, 2 to 4 minutes. Using a spatula, transfer eggs to a paper towel-lined plate.

3. Heat 2 tablespoons of butter and the remaining olive oil in a 30cm frying pan over medium heat. Once the butter melts, add the mushrooms and sauté until deeply browned, about 12 to 15 minutes. Add the shallots, garlic, thyme and red-pepper flakes, and cook for 1 minute. Season well with salt.

4. Add the pasta to the pan along with the remaining butter, grated cheese and 1 cup of the pasta water, tossing everything together until the butter melts and the sauce is glossy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the parsley and toss again to combine, adding more of the pasta water as needed to loosen up the sauce.

5. Serve in bowls with a fried egg on top of each portion and scatter with the mint, if using. Pass additional grated cheese at the table and drizzle with a bit more of the olive oil if desired.

Plantains with jammy tomatoes and eggs

Plantains are nutrient-rich starches that can sweeten as they cook, and, in many parts of the world, they find their way into the best stews and porridges. This recipe is based on “tomato eggs”, a dish popular in Lagos, Nigeria, and across west Africa. Tomato eggs can be made with yams or plantains, and here, firm yellow plantains work best because they hold their shape and texture while absorbing the flavours of the surrounding stew. It’s a perfect meal for days when you want something hot but not too heavy or filling. Any herbs you have on hand will work well, and the dish can be made vegan by substituting medium-firm or soft tofu for the eggs.

By: Yewande Komolafe

Serves: 4 servings

Total time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

2 firm yellow plantains (about 450g)

3 tablespoons neutral oil, such as grapeseed or canola

1 small yellow onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, sliced

1 (340g) jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped

1 fresh or dried bay leaf

1 Scotch bonnet pepper or 1 tsp red-pepper flakes

Salt

1 (400g) can whole peeled tomatoes

4 large eggs

Handful fresh herbs, such as dill or flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Method:

1. Cut off the ends of each plantain. Use a sharp knife to slice the peel along the length of each plantain without cutting into the flesh. Remove peels and discard. Cut each plantain into 5-to-7½cm-long pieces, and then cut each piece in half lengthwise.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium until it shimmers. Place the plantains in the skillet with the long cut side down. Sear until the cut sides are deep golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer the plantains to a plate and set aside.

3. Pour in the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, and add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the roasted red peppers and bay leaf, and drop in the Scotch bonnet pepper. Season to taste with salt. Cook, stirring, until the liquid from the roasted peppers evaporates, about 2 minutes.

4. Add the whole peeled tomatoes with their liquid. Use a spatula to carefully break the tomatoes into smaller pieces in the pan. Fill the tin with 1 cup water, swirl to rinse it and pour the liquid into the skillet. Raise the heat to high and bring the sauce to a simmer. Allow the sauce to reduce, stirring occasionally, until thickened and about three-quarters its original volume, about 5 minutes. Season with additional salt if necessary.

5. Reduce the heat to medium and return the plantains to the skillet, nestling each piece in the sauce seared side up until almost submerged. Cook until the plantains are just soft and the tomatoes are jammy, 4 to 6 minutes. When you poke the plantains with a fork, there should be little resistance.

6. Remove and discard the bay leaf and Scotch bonnet pepper. Make four wells in the sauce, spaced out evenly, and gently crack the eggs into the wells one at a time. Cover with a lid or aluminum foil. Cook until the whites of the eggs are set and the yolks runny, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Garnish with the herbs and serve immediately.

Pan-baked eggs and aspargaus

Asparagus and eggs have an affinity for each other (Getty/iStock)

Asparagus and eggs have an affinity for each other. The voluptuous yolk softens and smoothes the grassy sharpness of the vegetable, while the asparagus brightens up the dull richness of the egg. The pair’s most classic expression is asparagus hollandaise, but that is too fussy and time-consuming a preparation for a regular home-cooked breakfast. This dish combines the flavours in a time and cook-friendly way.

By: Melissa Clark

Serves: 4

Total time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

3 tbsp olive oil, more for drizzling

340g asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 scallions, white and light green parts, thinly sliced

8 large eggs

6 tbsp roughly chopped soft herbs like basil, coriander, chives or parsley use at least 2

80g heavy cream

2 tbsp grated parmesan

Salt

Black pepper, to taste

Lemon wedges, for serving

Flaky sea salt for sprinkling

Method:

1. Heat the oven to 150C. In a large frying pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil until shimmering. Add the asparagus and the spring onions and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until asparagus is browned and tender.

2. Whisk together the eggs, 4 tablespoons of the herbs, and cream. Whisk in Parmesan, salt and pepper. Pour the egg mixture over asparagus and place the skillet in the oven.

3. Bake for about 20 minutes, until set, but still slightly jiggly in the center. Cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before serving. It is best warm, not hot.

4. Squeeze one or two lemon wedges over it, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with flaky sea salt and remaining herbs. Cut into wedges.

© The New York Times