I saw a picture of this dish along with a reference that it was on the brunch menu at Foreign Cinema restaurant in San Francisco. The dish looked delicious! I've never eaten brunch there but have had a few very good and (one in particular) very memorable dinners there. Shortly after I saw the picture, I made the egg, sans arugula (delicious!) and declared it a winner preparation but wanted to see what it tasted like with delicate, bitter greens. I really love the taste of the greens combined with the egg yolk and the (very) slight sweetness of the balsamic glaze. You can use arugula, endive, cress or young dandelion greens or something less bitter like butter lettuce or mache torn in small pieces if you're not a fan, as I am, of the aforementioned greens.
This can be served solo, on top of the greens or on a piece of grilled or toasted bread - or on a slice of grilled toasted bread topped with the greens... I've seen variations that include mushrooms as well. How runny I like my eggs depends somewhat on what accompanies them. For this dish I like them just barely over. It works best when the yolk is somewhere between completely runny and somewhat runny - it's up to you.
Like any quick-cooked egg dish, it should be served immediately so it's good to have the greens ready (not too far in advance) and on the plate when the egg is ready. Reducing the balsamic vinegar takes just seconds. Make sure you wipe out the skillet thoroughly to mitigate the splatter - there will likely be some balsamic splatter no matter how careful you are.
If you're using delicate greens here are a couple of tips that apply to this - or any other similar preparation. To clean them, after picking off the thicker stems, submerge the greens in very cold water and VERY gently swish them around. Dry them thoroughly in a salad spinner.
One of the best ways to dress them is a 'broken' (not emulsified) vinaigrette where the greens are tossed with the oil before the vinegar is added. In this case, right before you start cooking the eggs, wash and dry your hands thoroughly and then place the greens in a large enough bowl so that they are not crowded.
Pour 1/2 to a scant 1 teaspoon of olive oil in the palm of one (impeccably clean) hand, rub your hands together and then use them to gently toss the greens and distribute the oil on the leaves. Add a little more at a time if you think you need it. Season with a pinch of salt.
Note - it took me far too long to learn - and remember - the difference between a skillet and a sauté pan, and if you don't know you can find out here.
Recipe: Olive Oil-Fried Egg with a Balsamic Glaze on Arugula
Visually inspired by Foreign Cinema's version
Equipment: 8" skillet, well-seasoned or non-stick
- Arugula Salad
- 2 handfuls of arugula, washed and thoroughly dried with any thicker stem ends pinched off
- 1 generous teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- Olive Oil-Fried Eggs with a Balsamic Glaze
- 2 large, fresh eggs (remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes in advance of cooking)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- Toss the prepared arugula gently (by hand - as described in the head notes) with the olive oil 1/2 teaspoon at a time. The leaves should be very lightly dressed. Season with a pinch of salt and toss to combine. Taste to confirm the seasoning. Divide the arugula between two plates and set aside.
- Heat 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil in a non-stick 8" skillet over medium heat until it shimmers. Crack the eggs into the skillet (or into a small bowl and then into the skillet) and let them cook for about 30 seconds to set the whites swirling the pan very gently once or twice. The white will get bubbly the edges will begin to brown. Season the eggs with salt and pepper. Tilt the pan carefully and baste the yolks with the oil and cook the eggs until you're happy with them. Place one egg on top of each plate of arugula.
- Remove the pan from the heat, pour out the oil and thoroughly wipe out the interior with a crumpled paper towel. Before placing the pan back on the heat, pour in the 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar (remember that it will splatter) and reduce for about 15 seconds. It's likely that you won't have to put the pan back on the heat source and that it will retain enough heat to reduce the balsamic.
- Drizzle each of the eggs and arugula with the reduced balsamic glaze and serve immediately.