The Formula for a Satisfying Breakfast

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Photo by Maria Robledo

To try Sally Schneider's recipe for pasta topped with fried eggs and Parmegiano, click here.

My personal Breakfast of Champions is a fried egg on a handful of raw greens--say, arugula, dandelion, baby spinach, watercress, or even mesclun--lightly dressed with extra-virgin olive oil and a few drops of sherry vinegar, salt and pepper, maybe some snipped chives. It is a play on a classic rustic Italian dish: steamed asparagus with a fried egg and some grated Parmigiano. The operating principle is that when you break the soft-cooked yolk, it spills onto the vegetable like a sauce; vegetable and protein marry, with little fuss, in a single delicious dish.

I love that idea so much that I tried putting a fried egg on all manner of cooked vegetables--roasted sliced onions or peppers, crushed boiled new potatoes, piles of sautéed escarole or wild mushrooms--until it seemed the natural course of things to throw a fried egg on a plate of spaghetti, which, when mixed with Parmigiano, simulated a Carbonara. It is the ultimate lazy person's supper.

For me, it is a perfect breakfast, born of a formula that works for any meal, any time of day.

The idea of a breakfast version came from my belief in the energizing power of raw greens coupled with the need for an easily-made and delectable breakfast for myself when I'm moving fast. "Why not throw the fried egg on raw greens," I wondered "and marry the asparagus-fried-egg gist and with the dandelion-salad-topped-with-a-soft cooked-quail-egg that appears on restaurant menus here and there?"

For me, it is a perfect breakfast, born of a formula that works for any meal, any time of day:

a savory base (cooked vegetables or pasta; if raw greens, dress them with extra virgin olive oil, a few drops of sherry vinegar, salt and pepper)

+ grated or shaved Parmigiano (grated for cooked stuff; on raw greens, use shaved or none at all)

+ a sunny side-up fried egg

Here's a recipe for the most elaborate version of it. You can improvise upon it on endlessly; replace the pasta (and cooking water) with warmed leftover cooked vegetables, or some steamed asparagus or crushed potatoes ...